Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Department of Forest Mycology and Plant Pathology

Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences


The forest is one of our most important natural resources supplying us with timber, paper and energy as well as being important for biodiversity and recreation purposes. Fungal pathogens may significantly reduce productivity of our forests. Root rot caused by Heterobasidion species is estimated to cost 70 million Euros annually for Swedish forest owners and the last epidemic of the fungus Gremmeniella abietina in 2001 damaged about 400 000 ha of Swedish Scots pine forest.

Spruce forest (photo by Jan Stenlid).

Predictions suggest a future change in climate together with more intensified forestry in order to meet the increasing demand of forest products. Both forest management practices and climate can affect the susceptibility of trees to infection and the capacity of pathogenic fungi to cause damage. Root rot caused by Heterobasidion species, is one example of fungal pathogens that have increased due to modern management practices. The growth and activity of most fungal pathogens are very sensitive to factors such as temperature and humidity. Gremmeniella abietina is one pathogen whose damages are dependent on climate conditions. A changing climate may also allow the introduction of new fungal diseases, such as Dothistroma needle blight, Pitch canker (Fusarium circinatum) and Diplodia shoot and needle blight. The expected climate change, with increasing temperatures, increasing precipitation and higher frequency of extreme events will most likely affect disease frequencies in our future forests.

We use different methods ranging from molecular tools such as high-throughput pyrosequencing to large scale geographical distribution models to explore the dynamics of fungal pathogens in relation to management practices and climate. Many of our project are done in conjunction with large scale projects such as Future Forest, BACCARA, ISEFOR and FUNDIV.

People involved:

Jan Stenlid (Professor)
Rimvydas Vasaitis (Researcher)
Elna Stenström (Researcher)
Johanna Boberg (Post doc)
Anna Hopkins (Post doc)
Jonàs Oliva (Post doc)
Stina Bengtson (PhD student)
Hanna Millberg (PhD student)
Diem Nguyen (PhD student)

Ongoing projects:

Chalara fraxinea and ash dieback- the project involve studies of disease development, production of secondary metabolites and population dynamics of Chalara fraxinea.
Contact: Stina Bengtson & Pia Barklund

Effect of climate change on the geographical distribution of fungal pathogens -The project is funded by Future Forest and done in collaboration with SMHI/SWECLIM.
Contact: Johanna Boberg and Jan Stenlid

Epidemiology of Dothistroma septosporum in Sweden
Contact: Anna Hopkins & Hanna Millberg

Field monitoring of fungi infecting Scots pine needles - 454-sequencing is used to analyse the pathogenic and endophytic fungal community in Scots pine needles in a gradient covering pine stands from the whole of Sweden. The project is funded by Future Forest and BACCARA.
Contact: Hanna Millberg and  Jan Stenlid

Model on the infection biology of Gremmeniella abietina - We have initiated work on a Markov Chain Model on the infection biology of G. abietina, which is stochastic and sensitive to climate parameters.
Contact: Hanna Millberg and Jan Stenlid

Preventive and restorative measures to reduce damage on forests – Phythoptora diseases in focus (2013-2015). The project is funded by SNS. Read more on the SNS webpage.
Contact: Jan Stenlid

Setting the strategy to detect and react against invasive forest pathogens in Sweden – The project is funded by FORMAS.
Contact: Jonàs Oliva & Johanna Boberg

Completed projects:

Risk assessment and establishment of a system to address potential pathogens in Nordic forestry as a result of climate change (2012). The project was funded by SNS.

Contact: Johanna Boberg & Anna Hopkins

The Rotstand model-a model developed to calculate the extent of damage caused by Heterobasidion annosum. Contact: Jonàs Oliva and Jan Stenlid



Biogeographical patterns and determinants of invasion by forest pathogens in Europe. A. Santini…J. Stenlid. 2012. New Phytologist.




DIAROD (Determining Invasiveness And Risk Of Dothistroma)


Future Forest


PERMIT (Pathway Evaluation and pest Risk Management In Transport)


The SNS report


Ecology and Management of Pests and Diseases in Forest Trees 
















































Page updated: 2013-03-11. Page editor:

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