Human activity has caused extensive changes in the rates of inputs of various nutrient and toxic elements to many natural ecosystems, often with dramatic effects on the functioning of those ecosystems. Lajtha's lab studies the changes in biogeochemical cycling, and the effects on the vegetative community, that has arisen from human activities. Most of her current research is focused in the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, which is OSU’s LTER site. They have established DIRT (Detrital Input and Removal Treatment) plots to examine the effects of changing detrital quality and quantity on soil organic matter stabilization, C balance, and nutrient cycling and availability, and they are working with other emerging DIRT sites in the U.S. and in Europe on cross-site comparisons.
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