Kira Borden

Postdoctoral Fellow


Project 1: Organic vegetable nutrient management

I’m leading a project at UBC Farm and a working research farm on Vancouver Island to develop improved organic nutrient management practices that address the major production trade-offs related to adding nutrients to an environment: crop yield vs. nutrient losses/loading in soil. I am also investigating how vegetable crops perform and acquire nutrients in synchrony with organic amendment mineralization. This project will contribute to improved understanding of how organic amendments can be better matched to environment and cropping system.

Project 2: Agricultural greenhouse gasses in high-value cropping systems

I am quantifying greenhouse gas emissions (CO2, N2O, CH4) from UBC Farm using in-field FTIR (Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy) technology. The effects of different soil amendments and cropping systems on emission rates are being compared. Data from this research support the project’s collaborative interdisciplinary team’s efforts in collecting emission data across multiple farms in lower mainland BC. We aim to parameterize process-based carbon and nitrogen models for farms in the region. This project will provide much needed field-based measurements of actual emission rates for BC and contribute to improved understanding of how management and environmental change can alter emissions.

Project 3: Soil water management

We are assessing farm management practices that can regulate the effects of high winter precipitation on cultivation and soil conditions in the spring. I am carrying out a field study of cover cropping vs. plastic tarping replicated on farms with different climatic and edaphic conditions, and monitoring the impacts on soil properties and nutrient dynamics in the growing season. This work aims to provide needed data on soil management strategies for small-scale farmers to improve the soil conditions for crop establishment in the spring when excess soil moisture is a major concern.



Research Classification

Research Interests

Plant-soil interactions
climate change adaptation
Climate change mitigation
Nutrient management
Plant and tree root ecology
Cocoa (Theobroma cacao)
Diversified agroecosystems

Research Methodology

Functional ecology - tree, forest, crop root and leaf traits with paired soil properties
Subsurface imaging of root systems - ground penetrating radar
Greenhouse gas emissions and soil and plant carbon data from agroecosystems

Research Options

I am available and interested in collaborations (e.g. clusters, grants).
I am interested in and conduct interdisciplinary research.
I am interested in working with undergraduate students on research projects.



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