Annika Felton

Annika Felton
My research into forest ecology has involved a diverse array of forest systems around the world, at a large range of spatial scales; from the inner complexities of animal digestive physiology and plant chemistry, to landscape scale ecological dynamics and their resultant implications for forest and game management. While my projects often specifically regards animal-plant interactions and herbivore nutritional ecology, the outcomes are applicable to the maintenance of biodiversity in managed forest systems, and the ecosystem services we derive from these forests.


My current research involves both ungulates and primates.

Ungulate ecology

Research into animal-plant interactions often provides insights of direct relevance to society. This is certainly the case in Sweden where large herbivores heavily influence the management and function of our forest ecosystems.  I am currently (2014-2017) running a project entitled “Understanding the nutritional drivers of moose health and impacts in the landscape”. This is a large interdisciplinary project funded by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Södra Skogsägarnas Stiftelse, and carried out in collaboration with the Swedish Veterinary Institute and the Swedish Forest Agency. Also part of the core team of this project are Dr. Emma Holmström (forestry) and Dr. Jonas Malmsten (veterinary science). This project aims to fill a gap in our understanding of how the availability of natural browse and supplementary food directly and indirectly influences moose browsing behaviour, health and reproduction. This project is dependent on the voluntary involvement of hundreds of hunters in southern Sweden who deliver samples from shot moose (e.g. rumen content, organs) that we analyse using Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS), various chemical assays, veterinary assessments of organs, and macrohistology of rumen contents. The Geometric Framework for Nutrition is a central analytical tool in this and earlier projects, as well as using spatial analysis of landscape scale factors (GIS).

Apart from the above described project, my work in herbivore and ungulate ecology include:

  • I am part of the core team of a large research project called Beyond Moose, funded by the Swedish EPA, in collaboration with the Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental studies, SLU Umeå. This is a study of the interactions among coexisting ungulate species in Swedish landscapes modified by human land use, and how these interactions affect the performance of these species and their impacts on the landscape. We also aim to use this understanding to develop and test sustainable management practices of multi-species ungulate communities. The study involves moose, red deer, roe deer, fallow deer and wild boar, and concerns study locations from the North to the South of Sweden. I am co-supervising PhD student Robert Spitzer in this project. We use eDNA methodology, remote sensing and forest inventories to answer the research questions.
  • I am also part of the team running a research project about the interactive effects of agriculture and forestry on red deer damage in the landscape, funded by the Swedish EPA and in collaboration with the Dept. Ecology, SLU. In this project we aim to assist in the development of countermeasures to crop damages and bark stripping on Norway spruce by red deer in Southern Sweden. We do this by identifying various landscape factors that affect the deer’s use of different crops and how their intake of crops affect their bark stripping behaviour. Specifically, we combine controlled feeding experiments with captive red deer, with field inventories and spatial analysis of deer movements in the agricultural matrix.
  • Together with silviculture scientists at our department I am involved in several projects relating to browsing damage caused by ungulates in timber production stands. In one project, we study the effect of different types of spruce stand cleaning measures (Sw=röjning) on the creation of ungulate browse – predominantly birch but also other broadleaved tree species. We also identify how the animals utilize the browse produced and whether their browse utilization differs between re-sprouting birch stumps and standing birches. In another project, we study different disturbance factors that affect the natural regeneration of oak in forests valued for conservation in Southern Sweden. Browsing of young oak trees by ungulates is one of these disturbances. I am the co-supervisor of PhD student Linda Pettersson in this project. In a project that is now finished I was part of a team that experimentally assessed the browsing propensity of various species, clones and hybrids of poplar trees commonly used for biomass production.
  • I am also part of a project about fallow and roe deer nutritional intake and dietary overlap, in collaboration with the Dept. of Ecology, SLU, using a combination of wet chemistry and NIRS. Other examples of my work in ungulate ecology includes feeding experiments with captive moose to identify their nutritional goal and priorities; field experiments that assess how different types of supplementary feeds influence the movements and subsequent browsing behaviour by wild ungulates; laboratory analyses of the nutritional contents of moose’ natural food items, as well as agricultural crops used in fodder fields and supplementary feeding of wild game; digestion trials using moose rumen liquid to better understand the nutritional value of different foods to moose.

Primate ecology

My PhD work on spider monkeys in Bolivia (see Background) has led to continued involvement in the field of primate ecology and conservation. I am involved in a book project as a co-author. The book is called "Primate Diet and Nutrition: Needing, Finding and Using Food", edited by Joanna Lambert and Jessica Rothman. I have written review articles about primate nutritional ecology and associated scientific approaches. I am frequently reviewing articles and grant applications about primate ecology and nutrition, as well as tropical forest ecology at large.


I regularly provide lectures in three master-level courses given at the Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre.


I finalized my PhD research in July 2008. That project was highly field intensive and involved reduced-impact logging in Bolivia, in relation to spider monkey (Ateles chamek) nutritional ecology and conservation. The candidacy was based at the Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, Canberra. The project, for which the field work took place in a certified forestry concession, assessed the importance of timber tree species to spider monkeys in terms of diet and ecology, and the capacity of RIL to maintain a suitable habitat for seed dispersers such as spider monkeys. During this period I developed a special interest in the analysis of complex multidimensional nutritional data, which I have great use of in my current work on moose in Sweden. After the thesis was finalized, I worked as a post-doc at the Fenner School for three months until the birth of my second child. This post-doc involved writing publications about sustainable resource use in managed forests.

I conducted my BSc in Ecology and Conservation Biology through Uppsala University, Sweden (1994-2000). My MSc project assessed orangutan population density, forest structure and fruit availability in hand-logged and unlogged peat swamp forests in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. I have also gained research experience participating in projects in different parts of the world, e.g: population biology of sea-turtles, Great Barrier Reef, Australia; behavioral ecology of barnacle geese on Gotland, Sweden; river otter population survey, Sweden; botanical research in Brunei Darussalaam; landscape ecology research on peccaries and jaguars in Madidi National Park, Bolivia. The latter project was organized by Wildlife Conservation Society, and during this time I co-discovered a species of titi-monkey previously unknown to science. I was also part of the WCS team that raised US$650 000 for Madidi National Park by auctioning the naming rights of this new species (Callicebus aureipalatii).


I co-supervise two PhD students (see Presentation) and supervise multiple MSc students at the Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre.

Publikationer i urval

Felton A.M., Felton A, Raubenheimer D, Simpson SJ, Krizsan SJ, Hedwall P-O, et al. 2016. The Nutritional Balancing Act of a Large Herbivore: An Experiment with Captive Moose (Alces alces L). PLoS ONE 11(3): e0150870. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0150870

Felton, A., L. Gustafsson, J. M. Roberge, T. Ranius, J. Hjältén, J. Rudolphi, M. Lindbladh, J. Weslien, L. Rist, J. Brunet, and A. M. Felton. 2016. How climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies can threaten or enhance the biodiversity of production forests: Insights from Sweden. Biological Conservation 194:11-20. DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2015.11.030

Felton, A., P. O. Hedwall, M. Lindbladh, T. Nyberg, A. M. Felton, E. Holmström, I. Wallin, M. Löf, and J. Brunet. 2016. The biodiversity contribution of wood plantations: Contrasting the bird communities of Sweden’s protected and production oak forests. Forest Ecology and Management 365:51-60. DOI 10.1016/j.foreco.2016.01.030

Felton A, Nilsson U, Sonesson J, Felton AM, Roberge J-M, Ranius T, et al. 2016. Replacing monocultures with mixed-species stands: Ecosystem service implications of two production forest alternatives in Sweden. Ambio;45(2):124-39. DOI 10.1007/s13280-015-0749-2

Lindbladh, M., Hedwall, P-O., Wallin, I., Felton, A.M, Böhlenius, H. & Felton, A. 2014. Short-rotation bioenergy stands as an alternative to spruce monocultures: Implications for bird biodiversity. Silva Fennica 48 (5), DOI 10.14214/sf.1135.

Hudson, L.N. et al. (multiple co-authors in alphabetical order). 2014. The PREDICTS database: a global database of how local terrestrial bioviersity responds to human impacts. Ecology and Evolution 4(24):4701-35. doi: 10.1002/ece3.1303.

Raubenheimer, D., Machovsky-Capuska. G., Felton, A. M., and Simpson, S. J. 2014. Nutritional geometry: from insects to ruminants. Proc. Austr. Soc. Anim. Prod. 30:32-36.

Gustafsson, L., Felton, A., Felton, A. M., Brunet, J., Caruso, A., Hjältén, J., Lindbladh, M., Ranius, T., Roberge, J-M., Weslien, J-O.  2015. Natural versus national boundaries: The importance of considering biogeographical patterns in forest conservation policy. Conservation Letters. DOI:10.1111/conl.12087.

DeGabriel, J.L., Moore B.D., Felton, A.M., Ganzhorn, J.U., Stolter, C., Wallis, I.R., Johnson, C.N. & Foley, W.J. 2014. Translating nutritional ecology from the laboratory to the field: milestones in linking plant chemistry to population regulation in mammalian browsers. Oikos. 123: 298–308. DOI 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2013.00727.x

Felton, A., Lindbladh, M., Elmberg, J., Felton, A.M., Andersson, E., Sekercioglu, C.H., Collingham, Y. & Huntley, B. 2014. Projecting impacts from anthropogenic climatic change on the bird communities of southern Sweden’s spruce monocultures: Will the species-poor get poorer? Ornis Fennica. 90:1-13.

Felton, A.M, Felton, A., Rumiz, D.I., Villaroel, N., Chapman, C.A., Lindenmayer, D.B. 2013. Commercial harvesting of Ficus timber – an emerging threat to frugivorous wildlife and sustainable forestry. Biological Conservation 159:96-100. DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2012.10.025

Wallis, I.R., Edwards, M.J., Windley, H., Krockenberger, A.K., Felton, A.M., et al. 2012. Food for folivores – nutritional explanations linking diets to population density. Oecologia, 169:281-291. DOI 10.1007/s00442-011-2212-9

Driscoll, D.A., Felton, A., Gibbons, P., Munro, N.T., Felton, A.M, Lindenmayer, D.B. 2011. Priorities in policy and management when existing biodiversity stressors interact with climate-change. Climatic Change, 111(3-4):533-557. DOI 10.1007/s10584-011-0170-1

Felton, A.M, Felton, A., Foley, W.J., Lindenmayer, D.B. 2010. The role timber tree species play in the nutritional ecology of spider monkeys (Ateles chamek). Forest Ecology and Management 259(8):1642-1649. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2010.01.042

Felton, A., Fischer, J., Lindenmayer, D.B., Montague-Drake, R., Lowe, W.R., Saunders, D., Felton, A.M. et al. 2009. Climate change, conservation and management: An assessment of the peer-reviewed scientific journal literature. Biodiversity Conservation 18:2243-2253. DOI 10.1007/s10531-009-9652-0

Felton, A.M., Felton, A., Wood, J.T., Foley, W.J., Raubenheimer, D., Wallis, I.R, Lindenmayer, D.B. 2009. Nutritional ecology of spider monkeys (Ateles chamek) in lowland Bolivia: How macro-nutrient balancing influences food choices. International Journal of Primatology 30: 675-696. DOI 10.1007/s10764-009-9367-9

Felton, A.M., Felton, A., Raubenheimer, D., Simpson, S.J., Foley, W.J., Wood, J.T., Wallis, I.R., Lindenmayer, D.B. 2009. Protein content of diets dictates the daily energy intake of a free-ranging primate. Behavioural Ecology 20: 685-690. DOI 10.1093/beheco/arp021

Felton, A.M. Felton, A., Lindenmayer, D.B., Foley, W.J. 2009. Nutritional goals of wild primates. Functional Ecology 23:70-78. DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2008.01526.x

Felton, A.M., Felton, A., Wood, J.T., Lindenmayer, D.B. 2008. Diet and feeding ecology of the Peruvian spider monkey (Ateles chamek) in a Bolivian forest: The importance of Ficus as a staple food resource. International Journal of Primatology 29:379-403. DOI 10.1007/s10764-008-9241-1

Felton, A, Wood, J, Felton, A.M et al.  2008. Bird community responses to reduced-impact logging in a certified forestry concession in lowland Bolivia, Biological Conservation 141:545-555. DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2007.11.009

Felton, A, Wood, J, Felton, A.M et al. 2008. A comparison of bird communities in the anthropogenic and natural-tree fall gaps of a reduced-impact logged forest in Bolivia, Bird Conservation International 18:129-143.  DOI 10.1017/S0959270908000117

Felton, A, Felton, A.M et al. 2008. The display of a reddish hermit (Phaethornis ruber) in a lowland rainforest, Bolivia. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 120(1):201-204. doi:

Lindenmayer, D.B, Fischer, J, Felton, A, Montague, R, Manning, AD, Simberloff, D, Youngentob, K, Saunders, D, Wilson, D, Felton, A.M, et al. 2007. The complementarity of single-species and ecosystem-oriented research in conservation research, Oikos, 116(7):1220-1226. DOI 10.1111/j.2007.0030-1299.15683.x

Felton, A, Felton, AM, Hennessey, B.A. & Lindenmayer, D.B. 2007. Birds surveyed in the harvested and unharvested areas of a reduced-impact logged forestry concession, located in the lowland forests of Bolivia, Check List 3(1):43-50. DOI:

Felton, A, Felton, A.M, Woods, J. & Lindenmayer, D.B. 2006. Vegetation structure, phenology, and regeneration in the natural and anthropogenic tree-fall gaps of a reduced-impact logged Bolivian forest. Forest Ecology Management, 235: 186-193.  

Felton, A, Felton, A.M, Wallace, R.B. & Gomez, H. 2006. Identification, behavioral observations, and notes on the distribution of the Titi monkeys Callicebus modestus and C. olallae. Prim. Cons., 20: 41-46. doi:

Wallace, R.B, Gomez, H, Felton, A.M & Felton, A. 2006. On a new species of Titi monkey from Bolivia. Primate Conservation 20: 29-39.  doi:

Felton, A, Alford, R.A, Felton, A.M & Schwarzkopf, L. 2006. Multiple mate choice criteria and the importance of age for male mating success in the microhylid frog, Cophixalus ornatus. Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology 59(6): 786-795. DOI 10.1007/s00265-005-0124-6

Felton, A.M, Engström, L.M., Felton, A. & Knott, C.D. 2003. Orangutan Pongo p. pygmaeus population density, forest structure and fruit availability in hand-logged and unlogged peat swamp forests in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Biological Conservation 114(1): 91-101. doi:10.1016/S0006-3207(03)00013-2

Original contributions to refereed scientific conferences
Krizsan, S. J., Felton, A.M., Ramin, M., Anttila, A., Vaga, M., Gidlund, H. and Huhtanen, P. 2013. A comparison of herbivore digestion efficiency in vitro using moose spring and summer foods. Proceedings of the 4th Nordic Feed Science Conference, Uppsala, Sweden, 12-13 June 2013. Eds Uden, P., Eriksson, T. Rustas, B. O. et al. pp 118-122.


Book chapters
Felton, A.M., Lambert, J. In process. The role of different nutrients in the food choice of primates. In: Primate diet and nutrition: needing, finding and using food. Eds. Lambert, J.E. and Rothman, J. University of Chicago Press.

Shimooka, Y., Campbell, C.J., Di Fiore, A., Felton, A.M, et al., 2008. Demography and group composition of Ateles. In: Spider monkeys: behavior, ecology and evolution of the genus Ateles. Ed. Campbell, C.J. Cambridge University Press. Pp: 329-348.

Master theses I have supervised
Blomqvist, J. 2016 Supplementary feeding of ungulates in southern Sweden – relationships between supplementary feeding, browsing damages and land use. Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre, SLU Alnarp.

Westerström, S. 2015. Ungulate browsing pressure on Populus and feeding patterns in southern Sweden. Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre, SLU Alnarp.

Jönsson, A. 2015. Stand size effects on the proportion of damage by ungulates in poplar stands. Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre, SLU Alnarp.

Otto, P. 2013. Winter feeding site choice of ungulates in relation to food quality. Dept. Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies, SLU Umeå.