Areas of expertise
- Carbon, Climate and Risk
- Plants and microbes
- Sustainable Land Systems
- Water Science and Engineering
I am a physical geographer (M.Sc) and obtained a PhD degree at the University of Leuven (Belgium). My research focusses on the effects of plant roots on the resistance of soils to erosion and the selection of suitable species for erosion control, on the vulnerability and recovery of soils following disturbances, on the fundamentals of root-soil cohesion and on how plant roots can be used to bio-engineer soil and make agricultural systems more sustainable.
I study interactions between vegetation (with special focus on plant roots!) and related soil quality properties (e.g. soil cohesion, soil fertility) in relation to soil degradation processes and disturbances (e.g. erosion, fire, compaction).
Whereas the effects of the aboveground biomass on soil degradation processes are quite well understood, the effects of plant roots on the vulnerability and recovery of soils to and following disturbances are much less understood. My research tries to contribute to better understanding the fundamentals of root-soil cohesion and its implications for restoration and sustainable land management.
- BBSRC New Investigator grant BB/R003440/1, £532.5k, Feb 2018-Jan 2021: `Using roots to bio-engineer soil` (PI).
- STARS PhD student project ` Resilience of novel grass species and mixtures for erosion control in grassed waterways designs`, Sep 2017- Feb 2021.
- AHDB-Cranfield Industrial Partnership PhD studentship, FV450a: Sustainable soil management for stand longevity and yield optimization in asparagus £48.5, March 2018-Feb 2021.
- NIAB- Felix Cobbold and Chadacre Agricultrual Trust - Cranfield Industrial Partnership PhD student project: `Quantifying and alleviating deep seated compaction in arable soils`, £54.75
AHDB, NIAB, Agrii
Articles In Journals
- Mašková L, Simmons RW, De Baets S, Montero EM, Delmer A & Sakrabani R (2019) Assessment of silt from sand and gravel processing as a suitable sub-soil material in land restoration: a glasshouse study, Chemosphere, 219 (March) 58-65.
- Vannoppen W, De Baets S, Keeble J, Dong Y & Poesen J (2017) How do root and soil characteristics affect the erosion-reducing potential of plant species?, Ecological Engineering, 109 (B) 186-195.
- Vannoppen W, Poesen J, Peeters P, De Baets S & Vandevoorde B (2016) Root properties of vegetation communities and their impact on the erosion resistance of river dikes, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 41 (14) 2038-2046.
- De Baets S, van de Weg MJ, Lewis R, Steinberg N, Meersmans J, Quine TA, Shaver GR & Hartley IP (2016) Investigating the controls on soil organic matter decomposition in tussock tundra soil and permafrost after fire, Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 99 108-116.
- Schädel C, Bader MK, Schuur EA, Biasi C, Bracho R, Čapek P, De Baets S, Diáková K, Ernakovich J, Estop-Aragones C, Graham DE, Hartley IP, Iversen CM, Kane E, Knoblauch C, Lupascu M, Martikainen PJ, Natali SM, Norby RJ, O’Donnell JA, Chowdhury TR, Šantrůčková H, Shaver G, Sloan VL, Treat CC, Turetsky MR, Waldrop MP & Wickland KP (2016) Potential carbon emissions dominated by carbon dioxide from thawed permafrost soils, Nature Climate Change, 6 (10) 950-953.
- Meersmans J, Van Weverberg K, De Baets S, De Ridder F, Palmer S, van Wesemael B & Quine T (2016) Mapping mean total annual precipitation in Belgium, by investigating the scale of topographic control at the regional scale, Journal of Hydrology, 540 (September) 96-105.
- Meersmans J, Arrouays D, Van Rompaey A, Pagé C, De Baets S & Quine T (2016) Future C loss in mid-latitude mineral soils: climate change exceeds land use mitigation potential in France, Scientific Reports, 6 Article No. 35798.
- Vannoppen W, Vanmaercke M, De Baets S & Poesen J (2015) A review of the mechanical effects of plant roots on concentrated flow erosion rates, Earth-Science Reviews, 150 666-678.
- Bellin N, Vanacker V & De Baets S (2013) Anthropogenic and climatic impact on Holocene sediment dynamics in SE Spain: A review, Quaternary International, 308-309 112-129.
- De Baets S, Meersmans J, Vanacker V, Quine TA & Van Oost K (2013) Spatial variability and change in soil organic carbon stocks in response to recovery following land abandonment and erosion in mountainous drylands, Soil Use and Management, 29 (1) 65-76.
- Meersmans J, Martin M, Lacarce E, Orton T, De Baets S, Gourrat M, Saby N, Wetterlind J, Bispo A, Quine T & Arrouays D (2013) Estimation of soil carbon input in France: An inverse modelling approach, Pedosphere, 23 (4) 422-436.
- De Baets S, Van Oost K, Baumann K, Meersmans J, Vanacker V & Rumpel C (2012) Lignin signature as a function of land abandonment and erosion in dry luvisols of SE Spain, CATENA, 93 78-86.
- Meersmans J, Martin M, De Ridder F, Lacarce E, Wetterlind J, De Baets S, Bas C, Louis B, Orton T, Bispo A & Arrouays D (2012) A novel soil organic C model using climate, soil type and management data at the national scale in France, Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 32 (4) 873-888.
- Meersmans J, Martin M, Lacarce E, De Baets S, Jolivet C, Boulonne L, Lehmann S, Saby N, Bispo A & Arrouays D (2012) A high resolution map of French soil organic carbon, Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 32 (4) 841-851.
- De Baets S, Poesen J, Meersmans J & Serlet L (2011) Cover crops and their erosion-reducing effects during concentrated flow erosion, CATENA, 85 (3) 237-244.
- De Baets S & Poesen J (2010) Empirical models for predicting the erosion-reducing effects of plant roots during concentrated flow erosion, Geomorphology, 118 (3-4) 425-432.
- Nyssen J, Clymans W, Poesen J, Vandecasteele I, De Baets S, Haregeweyn N, Naudt J, Hadera A, Moeyersons, J, Haile M & Deckers J (2009) How soil conservation affects the catchment sediment budget - A comprehensive study in the north Ethiopian highlands, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 34 (9) 1216-1233.
- Reubens B, Pannemans B, Danjon F, de Proft M, de Baets S, de Baerdemaeker J, Poesen J & Muys B (2009) The effect of mechanical stimulation on root and shoot development of young containerised Quercus robur and Robinia pseudoacacia trees, Trees - Structure and Function, 23 (6) 1213-1228.
- De Baets S, Poesen J, Reubens B, Muys B, De Baerdemaeker J & Meersmans J (2009) Methodological framework to select plant species for controlling rill and gully erosion: Application to a Mediterranean ecosystem, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 34 (10) 1374-1392.
- Meersmans J, Van Wesemael B, De Ridder F, Dotti M, De Baets S & Van Molle M (2009) Changes in organic carbon distribution with depth in agricultural soils in northern Belgium, 1960-2006, Global Change Biology, 15 (11) 2739-2750.
- Knapen A, Poesen J & De Baets S (2008) Rainfall-induced consolidation and sealing effects on soil erodibility during concentrated runoff for loess-derived topsoils, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 33 (3) 444-458.
- De Baets S, Poesen J, Reubens B, Wemans K, De Baerdemaeker J & Muys B (2008) Root tensile strength and root distribution of typical Mediterranean plant species and their contribution to soil shear strength, Plant and Soil, 305 (1) 207-226.
- De Baets S, Torri D, Poesen J, Salvador MP & Meersmans J (2008) Modelling increased soil cohesion due to roots with EUROSEM, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 33 (13) 1948-1963.
- Knapen A, Poesen J, Govers G & De Baets S (2008) The effect of conservation tillage on runoff erosivity and soil erodibility during concentrated flow, Hydrological Processes, 22 (10) 1497-1508.
- Meersmans J, De Ridder F, Canters F, De Baets S & Van Molle M (2008) A multiple regression approach to assess the spatial distribution of Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) at the regional scale (Flanders, Belgium), Geoderma, 143 (1-2) 1-13.
- De Baets S, Poesen J, Knapen A, Barberá GG & Navarro JA (2007) Root characteristics of representative Mediterranean plant species and their erosion-reducing potential during concentrated runoff, Plant and Soil, 294 (1) 169-183.
- De Baets S, Poesen J, Knapen A & Galindo P (2007) Impact of root architecture on the erosion-reducing potential of roots during concentrated flow, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 32 (9) 1323-1345.
- Knapen A, Poesen J & De Baets S (2007) Seasonal variations in soil erosion resistance during concentrated flow for a loess-derived soil under two contrasting tillage practices, Soil and Tillage Research, 94 (2) 425-440.
- Knapen A, Poesen J, Galindo-Morales P, De Baets S & Pals A (2007) Effects of microbiotic crusts under cropland in temperate environments on soil erodibility during concentrated flow, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 32 (12) 1884-1901.
- Gyssels G, Poesen J, Liu G, Van Dessel W, Knapen A & De Baets S (2006) Effects of cereal roots on detachment rates of single- and double-drilled topsoils during concentrated flow, European Journal of Soil Science, 57 (3) 381-391.
- De Baets S, Poesen J, Gyssels G & Knapen A (2006) Effects of grass roots on the erodibility of topsoils during concentrated flow, Geomorphology, 76 (1-2) 54-67.
- Sandercock P, Hooke J, De Baets S, Poesen J, Meerkerk, A, van Wesemael B & Cammeraat LH (2017) Effectiveness of plants and vegetation in erosion control and restoration. In: Combatting Desertification and Land Degradation: Spatial Strategies using Vegetation, Springer, p. 79-104.
- De Baets S, Quine TA & Poesen J (2014) Root strategies for rill and gully erosion control. In: Root Engineering: Basic and applied concepts. Morte A, Varma A (ed.), Springer-Verlag, p. 297-323.