The experiments

FORESTPRIME represents the first comparative field study of soil carbon dynamics under global change across multiple scales. The project will provide a comprehensive dataset on soil carbon dynamics in response to enhanced forest productivity and determine the patterns, controls and consequences of priming effects in tropical and temperate forests. 

Changes in soil C dynamics will be measured in response to experimental amendments of plant C inputs in different forests. The experiments are nested across three scales:

1) The largest scale involves experimental plots (c. 400 m2) at one temperate and one tropical forest site

2) The intermediate scale uses in situ ‘mesocosms’ (c. 0.3 m2) at three sites along an age-gradient within each forest type.

3) Small-scale (c. 0.1 m2) laboratory ‘microcosms’ involve at least 20 forest soils collected worldwide.

The nested design makes it possible to compare results across scales and to test the validity of the extrapolation at each scale-step.


In addition, the long-term impacts of increased plant inputs will be assessed by conducting a detailed analysis of changes in soil C pools in two existing litter manipulation experiments, where priming effects have been observed for a number of years.

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