Dunes represent a mosaic of ecosystems at distinct successional stages: sand dunes, grasslands, and ultimately forest. This mosaic of landscapes allows high biodiversity to sustain and makes dunes attractive for visitors.
Dune ecosystems are however vulnerable and restoration of nature in degraded areas is difficult. Dune managers have difficulties in steering nature development in damaged dunes and manipulating plant communties is often not enough for such aims.
In our research we examine how soil chemical and mechanical properties and soil microbial community impact structure and composition of the aboveground plant and animal communities.
Plant species differ greatly in how they interact with soil organisms. But can we influence plant communities and the associated animal communities by changing the soil microbial profile?
We introduce different soil communities in the same, previously degraded, dune area and expect that the directions of ecosystem development in these degraded soils will be dependent on the type of soil microorganism additions.
While our research has a fundamental scientific character, outcomes will provide important practical solutions for the use of soil in ecosystem restoration and will support dune managers to efficiently protect biodiversity of organisms and landscapes.