Brian D. Strahm

Forest Soils and Biogeochemistry Laboratory

Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation

College of Natural Resources and Environment

Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, VA 24061

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Welcome to the Forest Soils and Biogeochemistry Lab at Virginia Tech!


What we do...


Nutrient cycling, biogeochemistry, ecosystem ecology...we study how carbon, nutrients, and other elements move through forest ecosystems with a specific focus on the soil properties and processes that regulate productivity and environmental quality.


Why we do it...


Forests cover approximately one-third of the Earth’s land surface and are important focal points for the supply of ecosystem goods and services.  In the context of a global human population in excess of 7 billion, a value that has doubled over the past 45 years, there is an increasing strain placed on our natural resources that extends from our ability to ensure the sustainable production of food, fiber, and fuel to many of the additional ecosystem services valued by society.


In forest ecosystems, as with nearly all terrestrial environments, soils are the hub of biological and chemical activity.  Specifically, soils are largely responsible for the sustained productivity of forest ecosystems and regulate key processes that influence larger-scale environmental conditions (e.g., water quality, atmospheric chemistry).


How we do it...


Ultimately, we want to understand how

forest ecosystems function in response

to external forces (e.g., forest

management, land use or global

change).  We do this by trying to

provide a mechanistic understanding of

the relationships between soil properties

(physical, chemical, and biological) and

processes (biotic and abiotic) so that we

can predict how these changes affect

soil/ecosystem function (e.g., carbon

sequestration, nitrogen leaching).