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Professor Martin Lukac

  • Teaching Countryside and The Environment, Forestry and Woodlands, Environmental Management, Carbon Management
  • Module convenor for Teaching Countryside and The Environment, Forestry and Woodlands
  • PhD student supervision and undergraduate tutor

Areas of interest

My research focuses on effects of changing environment on plants and soils. I am interested in studying the responses of managed and natural ecosystems to stress factors. Specifically, I am looking at ecosystem carbon cycle, ecosystem functioning and stability with the broad aim of climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Diversity and climate change

Greater diversity is likely to contribute to greater resilience of ecosystems to climate change, this is valid both for agricultural and for natural ecosystems. Existing long range forecasts highlight the need for increasing system diversity in order to secure food and ecosystem service supply in an increasingly unpredictable climate. Future climate change is likely to induce changes in temperature regimes, atmospheric humidity, water availability, light levels (e.g. changes in cloud cover) and increases carbon dioxide concentration. We are studying the effects of environmental stressors and their interaction with diversity in order to predict ecosystem response and stability when faced with changing environmental conditions.

Forest ecology

I work on determining above- and belowground productivity in forest ecosystems and their optimisation for preserving forest cover and forest carbon stocks. We are developing allometric relations for the estimation of above- and belowground biomass of common European tree species. Such equations and biomass expansion factors can also be used to adjust forest management strategies to maintain forest cover in areas severely affected by climatic change or to maximise carbon stocks held in tree biomass and forest soils. This work directly contributes to the IPCC conversion factors database.


This is a traditional land management system which combines agriculture with permanent tree cover to provide multiple ecosystem services. Due to its inherent combination of species and product diversity, we are starting to consider agroforestry as one of the answers to climatic change. By growing several crops in the same space, this system might offer higher resource utilisation capacity, complementarity of resource use, as well as greater overall stability of crop yields and soil biodiversity conservation. We are studying the trade-off between increased system stability, ecosystem service delivery on the one hand, and the increase in management complexity and lower main crop productivity on the other hand.


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