Senior Lecturer
Telephone: (01792) 602559
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My research focus is on different aspects of sustainable soil management.

My PhD research at CAU in Kiel/Germany (2002-2006) has highlighted that sustainable soil management can improve soil for farming and forestry, whilst also protecting soil carbon (C) and sequestrating atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). I identified which soil tillage practices are most effective for improved C storage and maintenance of good soil structure, which are both vital for soil quality and crop production.

During my postdoctoral research at Swansea University (2006-2012), whilst working on two EU-funded projects ‘Water Re-Use’ and ‘DESIRE’, I worked on understanding land degradation mitigation strategies following wildfires, especially in relation to soil hydrology, soil erosion, soil organic matter and nutrient losses.

My most recent work funded by the Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship was focused on the effect of soil management and climate change on soil hydrology and greenhouse gas emission form soils.

Areas of Expertise

  • soil carbon
  • soil water repellency
  • soil hydrology


  1. Urbanek, E., Doerr, S. CO2 efflux from soils with seasonal water repellency Biogeosciences 14 20 4781 4794
  2. Papierowska, E., Matysiak, W., Szatyłowicz, J., Debaene, G., Urbanek, E., Kalisz, B., Łachacz, A. Compatibility of methods used for soil water repellency determination for organic and organo-mineral soils Geoderma 314 221 231
  3. Urbanek, E., Doerr, S. CO2 efflux from soils with seasonal water repellency Biogeosciences 14 20 4781 4794
  4. Urbanek, E., Walsh, R., Shakesby, R. Patterns of soil water repellency change with wetting and drying: the influence of cracks, roots and drainage conditions Hydrological Processes 29 12 2799 2813
  5. Brzezinska, M., Urbanek, E., Szarlip, P., Wlodarczyk, T., Bulak, P., Walkiewicz, A., Rafalski, P. Methanogenic potential of archived soils Carpathian journal of earth and environmental sciences 9 2 79 90

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  • GEG132 Dynamic Earth Systems

    This module forms the essential foundation for any more advanced study of physical geography. It introduces the four main Earth systems: the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and geosphere. It provides a sound understanding of the processes within each system, and of the interactions between them. The atmosphere section deals with flows of energy and moisture and their role in controlling climate over both space and time. The hydrosphere section focuses on the concepts of the hydrological cycle and main processes associated with the water fluxes. The biosphere section deals mainly with flows of energy and nutrients between Earth systems. The geosphere section introduces topics like the origin of Earth, the concept of plate tectonics, describes the distribution of different rock types and processes occurring in geosphere. In addition main properties and functions of soil, formation of different soil types across the world and changes of climate in the past, current and the future, proxies of climate change are included.

  • GEG264A Environmental Research Methods A

    The module covers research project design, data collection and some aspects of data analysis. Students are introduced to a range of laboratory and field techniques in physical geography. They gain experience in describing and interpreting results derived from laboratory techniques concerned with reconstructing the depositional history of sediments, chemical analysis of water and sediment from a variety of sources and the simulation of geomorphological processes.

  • GEG266 Approaches to Physical Geography

    This module aims to introduce students to the history and philosophical approaches of Physical Geography and the range of alternative approaches characterizing the discipline. In addition to conveying the main approaches and their evolution, their implication in terms of research practice are given particular emphasis, including recent examples of `good¿ and `poor¿ science and of how research proposals are developed. The assessment will include a literature review and a multiple choice exam.

  • GEG269 Sustainable Land Management

    This module will focus on understanding the environmental values of soil for water quality, flood defence and climate regulation. It will focus on understanding the basic soil functions, main threads, challenges and how the health of the soil can be sustained by appropriate land management. The module will contain a series of lectures, interactive seminars, practical classes and field visit. Students are recommended to sign up to the GEG264A Environmental Research Methods - Soil.


  • Climate change effect on soil C fluxes- production and transport of CO2 in soils prone to water repellency (current)

    Other supervisor: Prof Stefan Doerr