PLEN Agro Ecosystems


Open-air Platform

Parent institution: University of Copenhagen, Dept. of Plant and Environmental Sciences
Active since 2019
Active through 24/7/365

Fields of study

  • Climatology, Climate Change
  • Environmental sciences, Pollution
  • Soil science
  • Mapping, GIS
  • Microbiology
  • Hydrology
  • Terrestrial biology, Ecology

Contact Information

Christensen, Svend

The PLEN Agro-Ecosystems at UCPH consists of a lysimeter (rain-out shelter and 18 underground growth containers) and two long term experiments (Crucial and Nutrient Depletion Trial) in a fixed design with the same crops and treatments being maintained over several decades. The research uses locally measured weather data (since 1961), high resolution spatial and temporal field measurements of greenhouse gases emissions using automatic chambers and advanced greenhouse gas analysers.

The Location

Country: Denmark

Latitude: 55°40’N

Longitude: 12°18’E

Nearest town: Taastrup

Distance from neaerst town: 5 km

Relevant Research Questions

The scientific objective is to assess the effect of agricultural management on emissions of greenhouse gas emissions from fields and to assess the effect of climate change on greenhouse gas emissions. Management options could include fertilizer amounts and types, treatment options for organic waste, cover crops, intercropping, application of nitrification inhibitors etc.


The permanent (longterm) experiments provide a basis for a detailed analysis and time/gradient dependent changes with regards to climate change, pollution and land-use pressures in managed cropping systems.


The major limitations of the permanent experiment sites are in terms of crop choices and applied treatments. There are no limitations with regards to supplemental and non-destructive sensor based measurements.

Experimental Capabilities

Experimental Facilities

- Rhizotron - DeepRoot Lab - Phenolab

Experiments duration: Weeks, Months, Years, Decades;

Experimental Aerea

Total area: 120000 m²

Available area: 2000000 m²

Experimental Unit Size

unit size: 100 m²


Replicates number: 3


Cross-Ecosystem Manipulation

Gradients between natural habitats and agro-ecosystems

Manipulation Techniques

- Specialized field trial equipment - High precision sensors for monitoring of soil and crop parameters + weather station

Temporary storage

  • Drying oven
  • Refrigerator

Available Instruments

  • Automac chamber for gas fluz measurements
  • Manual chambers for gas flux measurements
  • Weather Station
  • leaf level Gas Exchange equipment
  • Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) + camera
  • Groundtruthing . canopy measurements
  • Hydrological sensors

Electricity available on site.

Distance from Laboratory facilities


Years measured: 30 (1961-1990)


Mean Temperature: 7.6 °C

February Mean Temperature: -0.5 °C

July Mean Temperature: 15.8 °C


Mean Annual Speed: 3.85 m/s

Max. Annual Speed: m/s

Dominant Direction:


Precipitation type: Both;

Total annual precipitation: 600 mm

Mean snow cover duration: 0 days

Soil Types

State Variables

Continuously Measured

  • Air humidity
  • Air temperature
  • Atmospheric pressure
  • Canopy temperature
  • Incident PAR
  • Incident shortwave radiation
  • Soil temperature
  • Soil water content

Spot Measured

  • Phenology
  • Population densities
  • Species richness

Environmental Pressures

Variable Ecosystem Status
Hydro Agrosystem Planned
Management - Nutrients (levels or nutrient type) Agrosystem Active
Management - tilling or other physical manipulation Agrosystem Active
Management - pesticides (or other non-nutrient chemicals) Agrosystem Active
Management - rotation practice Agrosystem Active
Management - species and/or ecotype combinations Agrosystem Planned

On site Staff and Accomodation

Peak season staff

Up to 75 people

Off season staff

Up to 75 people

Visiting personnel

Up to 100 visitors

No beds on site

Showers on site

Showers on site

No laundry on site