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Andreas has over 20 years' experience in the field of terrestrial carbon cycling focusing on impacts of management and climate change on soils in forests, agriculture and peatlands, and the related functioning of terrestrial ecosystems and ecosystem services provisioning. He developed the MILLENNIA peatland model and uses other carbon models such as RothC, Century and DNDC. Andreas combines expertise across modelling to measurements of carbon stocks and fluxes, including greenhouse gas emissions.
He joined SEI York in 2002 as a postdoctoral researcher within the Centre for Terrestrial Carbon Dynamics (CTCD). In 2008 he joined the National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO), a follow-up of the CTCD. Andreas became Research Group Leader in October 2014 and has been leading a long-term peatland project (initially DEFRA-funded, BD5104) on peatland vegetation management and ecosystem services in the UK.
At the international level, he was involved in organising soil science/methodological courses and advising the UNFCCC in relation to defining peatlands as carbon stores within UN agreements. At the national level, he was involved in many groups related to peatland functioning and management, for example, the Upland Hydrology group and the Upland Management group. In his current work he frequently interacts with all major upland land management groups, government agencies (e.g. Natural England) and departments (e.g. DEFRA)
Andreas holds a PhD in Biology on carbon dynamics in the mycorrhizal symbioses from the University of York and worked as a part-time lecturer at the Centre for Life Long Learning at the University of York. He is a frequent speaker at conferences and outreach events and contributes to films on UK upland management aspects. Andreas now leads the Peatland Research Group (PeatTeam).
Since joining SEI Andreas has developed research in the UK, Europe and Africa with collaborations stretching to the USA. He uses chamber based and Eddie Covariance (EC) tower (analytical) and plant-soil modelling (predictive) methods to estimate carbon dynamics from plot to landscape scales and investigate the effects of climate and management on carbon stocks and associated ecosystem services. He also monitors peatland hydrology and water quality from plot to catchments in relation to climate and management. This work has extended into research on litter decomposition to understand the mechanisms by which peatlands and other soils lock away carbon. He is particularly interested in improving methods and models to assess atmosphere-biosphere exchange of carbon and responses to environmental factors (with a particular focus on soil respiration component fluxes in view to reduce uncertainties in Earth System Modelling of potential carbon-climate feedbacks). To unravel soil fluxes he uses stable isotope labelling techniques (13C) and also radiocarbon (14C) dating.
IDEAL UK FIRE: “Toward Informed Decisions on Ecologically Adaptive Land management for mitigating UK FIRE” (Funder NERC UK; £363K to SEI-Y; Dec 2022 – Dec 2026)
This project is led by the University of Birmingham and will assess the role of vegetation management, including cutting and burning, as a tool to prevent and mitigate against wildfire risk and damage. Fire regimes are changing with a changing climate and land management options are a potentially vital response to this threat as managing fuel loads can protect and mitigate against the risks and impacts of wildfire. Measurements of fuel load and management impacts on carbon cycling and budgets will be assessed in field studies, comparing managed and wildfire sites, and will be used to inform predictions by models (JULES) to enable policy relevant outputs. The field sites will include the Peatland-ES-UK (see below Defra-initiated) blanket bog sites and additional heathland and other scrub/shrub dominated sites across the UK. This project includes collaborations with many other UK Universities and the Met Office. The main aspects considered are biodiversity and carbon.
SEI York staff: Andreas Heinemeyer (PI); Tom Holmes, Anthony Jones.
Partners (Advisory Group): Defra, Natural England, United Utilities, Yorkshire Water, National Trust, Forestry England, Forestry Commission, Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, Moorland Association.
Defra BD5104: “Restoration of blanket bog vegetation for biodiversity, carbon sequestration and water regulation” http://peatland-es-uk.york.ac.uk/ (Funder Defra UK; £850k; Nov 2011 – March 2017)
This project will acquire experimental data to underpin the development and refinement of possible management techniques, for example, applicable through Environmental Stewardship schemes, to address the dominance of heather (Calluna vulgaris) and facilitate the support of ‘active’ blanket bog vegetation (with peat-forming species, particularly Sphagnum spp.). This requires screening for the most suitable management techniques and then including those as part of a long-term manipulative experiment to provide scientifically sound and meaningful data upon which to base policy advice and subsequently inform management decisions, considering both, environmental and socio-economic implications.
This project has now been extended until 2022 with funding (£840K) from Yorkshire Water, United Utilities, The Moorland Association, BASC and the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust (YPP).
SEI York staff: Andreas Heinemeyer (PI); Chris West, Harry Vallack
Partners: Yorkshire Peat Partnership, Natural England
Defra BD5104 contract variation: “to include assessment of management impacts on cranefly emergence and abundance to be related to bird populations” (Defra; £110k; March 2014 – March 2017)
This project is an extension of the BD5104 project investigating how burning and mowing potentially affect insect numbers, particularly craneflies, which are an important food source for several key upland bird species like Golden Plover and Dunlin but also Red Grouse. We collect trap data on cranefly emergence and also transect data on population sizes and relate those to bird numbers by modelling impacts on chick survival and growth. We will use the MILLENNIA peatland model to upscale in space and time as well as specific bird models making use of the collected cranefly and environmental data. This project has now been extended until 2026 (not 2022) with funding (£840K) from Yorkshire Water, United Utilities, The Moorland Association, BASC and the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust (YPP) and a further £120K by the Moorland Association and £362K by NERC.
SEI York staff: Andreas Heinemeyer (PI); Rachel Pateman, Tom Holmes, Anthony Jones, Rachel Pateman.
Partners: Moorland Association, Natural England, RSPB, BTO
MycoRhizaSoil “Combining wheat genotypes with cultivation methods to facilitate mycorrhizosphere organisms improving soil quality and crop resilience” (BBSRC/NERC; UK Research Councils; £110k Feb 2015 – Jan 2020)
Soil erosion as a result of arable cultivation is a major global constraint on crop yields and efficient use of fertilizer. Symbiotic fungi called mycorrhizas that receive sugars from plant roots in return for providing nutrients and water to the plants can help stabilise soil and contribute to soil organic matter storage. This work will determine the roles mycorrhiza and co-associated soil microorganisms play in maintaining soil structure and organic matter content. In a series of field trials using selected wheat lines the team will determine the extent to which artificial inoculation with mycorrhizal fungi and adoption of no-tillage leads to improvements in soil quality and crop resilience to drought, excess water and native diseases compared to wheat grown conventionally with annual tillage.
SEI York Staff: Andreas Heinemeyer (PI);
Partners: University of Leeds, University of Sheffield (lead P), University of York (Biology Dep.).
Andreas also holds two NERC iCASE studentships on assessing management and climate impacts on soil microbial communities: