Lukas Frank Seifert
I did my BSc in Biology at the University of Bayreuth, followed by a temporary student assistant position at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research. Here I was concerned with plant determination and environmental monitoring as part of a larger restoration of the local floodplain system near Leipzig. After that, I moved to Copenhagen to pursue an MSc in Nature Management.
During my studies, I was lucky to get a lot of hands-on experience working with plant ecological methods in various ecosystems. I was in the South African Savannah trying to comprehend local fire regimes and adaptations of plants to wildfires, walked through the subarctic tundra, and spent more than a month in diverse forests in Denmark to research the effect of forest structure on the biodiversity of birds. Now I am in Trondheim, looking forward to more fieldwork experience and fun times out in nature.
My main research interest is to untangle the effects of anthropogenic and climatic stressors on natural and semi-natural ecosystems and use that information to safeguard biodiversity globally while meeting human needs. For my Ph.D. project, I will work with the ecological restoration of wind energy facilities which can help to streamline biodiversity protection, climate mitigation, and the production of renewable energy.
My Ph.D. project focuses on the ecological restoration of wind energy facilities and the mitigation of their negative impacts on the environment. Wind energy is a fairly new energy source, especially compared to non-renewable options like coal and oil. Like other renewables, it is considered "green" and "environmentally friendly", but some research shows that the development in the wind energy sector also has negative impacts on the environment. Rotor blades for example kill bats and birds through collision, the turbines can change the air circulation and thereby affect the local microclimate, and the removal of trees and soil for building foundations and access roads releases carbon and can change local plant communities.
After the operational phase of a wind energy facility, turbines and other infrastructure are removed (decommissioned) or the facility is repowered by repairing wind turbines or replacing them with newer models. In the case of decommissioning, it is generally accepted that the footprint of a wind energy facility should be restored to pre-construction conditions. However, since the wind energy sector is so new, research on the long-term ecological effects on wind energy development is in its infancy, and there is a lack of decommissioning frameworks with a focus on ecological restoration. My research, therefore, aims to collect knowledge on the restoration of wind energy facilities (and potentially other industrial sites) to work on such a framework.
This is especially important in a Norwegian context, as Norway started the wind energy development relatively late (after 2000) compared to other industrial countries and therefore even the oldest wind turbines have not been decommissioned yet. Further, as Norway is home to a lot of wilderness and pristine areas, there is little public awareness of the need for ecological restoration in general. But the pressure towards using more renewable energy sources and the increased need for energy will potentially lead to the opening of new wind energy facilities and ultimately to the conversion of natural ecosystems to industrial sites. Without knowing how to restore these industrial sites to viable habitats, we will lose endangered species and important ecosystem services provided by nature.
Giesemann, P., Eichenberg, D., Stöckel, M., Seifert, L. F., Gomes, S. I., Merckx, V. S., & Gebauer, G. (2020). Dark septate endophytes and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (Paris‐morphotype) affect the stable isotope composition of ‘classically’non‐mycorrhizal plants. Functional Ecology, 34(12), 2453-2466.
PosterSeifert, Lukas; Graae, Bente Jessen; May, Roelof Frans; Hagen, Dagmar. (2023) Ecosystem Restoration in Onshore Wind Energy. OIKON, super natural 7th Conference on Wind energy and Wildlife impacts (CWW 2023) , Šibenik 2023-09-18 - 2023-09-22