Why study the linkage between land cover changes and soil organic carbon sequestration in mountain ecosystems? Follow this post to uncover what is soil organic matter and to meet our next team.

A long time ago…  

Before appearing humans, the mountains in Europe were covered by forest, and tree-line was determined only by natural conditions as climate and landform. Together with the development of settlements, humans started changing the environment and using natural resources like forest wood and space.

The vast scope of human activities, from a setup grassland and deforestation due to establishing arable fields to creating advanced forest management, impact the environment. One of the most sensitive land-use changes factors in the environment is soil, especially soil organic carbon.

Nowadays, we can “read” the history of changes noted in soils because of mentioned actions, but we also have to remember that we still write our own history in them. Today changes are still ongoing, and across Europe area of forest is increasing.

In the Central European mountain (Central Upland, Alps, Carpathians), the main driver of forestation is an abandonment of agricultural land use. Also, global warming and forest management practices affect the forest areas and, as a result on the soil.

What is Soil Organic Matter?  

Soil organic matter (SOM) is a heterogeneous mixture of compounds that range in different stages of decomposition from fresh plant residues to highly decomposed material known as humus. The amount of SOM in the soil results from the interaction of several ecosystem processes like rate of decompositions, delivery of fresh supply, photosynthesis and respiration. Thanks to plants, atmospheric carbon dioxide can be caught and stored in the soil.

Why it is important?  

Total C in terrestrial ecosystems is approximately 3200 gigatons! It can be our opportunity to constrain global warming or ticking dangerous bombs. 

How much and for how long this carbon can be captured in soil depends on including land-use changes, forest management practices, soil-formin process, soil properties, climate conditions, and vegetation changes.

What is the linkage between these factors? This is the question our Team tries to answer. The crucial issue is also the question of how land cover changes can affect soil organic carbon sequestration in mountain ecosystems.

Meet our team!


Łukasz Musielok – geographer, soil scientist.

He focuses on pedology and soil geography (especially soil genesis) in temperate mountain ecosystems and in High Arctic.

Moreover he is lover of mountains and nature.


Anna Bartos – PhD student (JU), geographer, enthusiast of Arctic, lover of soil science.

In the research, she focuses on the quantity and molecular composition of soil organic matter and carbon sequestration.

Privately, a cats and travel lover.


Magdalena Gus-Stolarczyk – PhD student (JU), geographer, soil scientist, nature nerd.

Interested in mountain soils, paleopedology, genesis and evolution of sandy soils in temperate ecosystems and in High Arctic.

Besides science she loves her dog Lusia, Harry Potter books, coffee and traveling.


Agata Gołąb – PhD student (JU), geographer, GIS ninja, crazy about geomorphology.

Her research interests concern fluvial geomorphology, especially the diversity of the river structure.