Laetitia Brechet


I am a forest ecologist with a research focus on plant-soil relationshipsand the biological processes of carbon (C) dynamics controlling ecosystem functioning. I am particularly fascinated by tropical forests and their amazing biodiversity, and especially the complex interactions between living organisms and mineral elements.

I completed my PhD at the Henri Poincare University under supervision of Prof. Daniel Epron. My key contribution during my PhD project was to advance our understanding of spatial variation in soil C components explaining spatial variation in soil C in a tropical forest. This project was based in French Guiana (with INRA, UMR Ecofog) and focused on the below-ground components of the system, such as tree root dynamics and the role of tropical tree species traits on soil properties.

For my first postdoctoral position, I worked in Trinidad at the University of the West Indies, tracking details of how spatial variation in soil physicochemical properties (i.e. salinity, clay content, water content, C) of a native tropical forest and a teak plantation can be determined using sensor technology and geophysics. This was the first time electromagnetic induction had been tested in a tropical forest ecosystem, and shows promise as a useful tool for revealing complex hydro-pedological features of the subsoil. As a result this method may provide a basis for future investigations of soil-tree relationships and soil property niche differentiation at the plot scale.

A second post-doctoral research position in the Versailles region of France (with INRA, UMR “Environment and Arable Crops”) was aimed at parameterising/calibrating a plant-soil-atmosphere model in order to simulate the carbon and nitrogen cycles in agro-ecosystems with different type of soil and agricultural practices.

Current Project At present, as a part of the FORESTPRIME project, I am coordinating exciting research on the tropical stand within the Barro Colorado Nature Monument, in Panama. Within this stand, like within the Wytham Woods one coordinated by Dr Luis Lopez-Sangil, intensive monitoring of forest soil C cycling with numerous tree and soil measurements will assess the impact of enhanced forest productivity on soil C dynamics at large scale which could have important implications / add to our knowledge of forest ecosystems regarding climate change.

Senior Research Associate
Lancaster Environment Centre
Lancaster University

Email: l.brechet(at)

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