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Jan Bengtsson

Jan Bengtsson
My research is focused on biodiversity, ecosystem services and community ecology in production (agricultural and forest) landscapes, and on the linkages between population and ecosystem ecology, both in theory and in applied contexts. 

I am also a member of the steering group of "Future Agriculture".


I have been studying the dynamics and species interactions in Daphnia metapopulations in rockpools since the early 1980-ies. Thanks to my eminent students and collaborators I have also studied diversity and ecosystem services (mainly biological control and pollinators) in agricultural landscapes, spatial variation in soil communities, how fires affect soil organisms, and springtail diversity and ecosystem processes in the hyperdiverse Fynbos biome, South Africa. We have examined the importance of biodiversity for ecosystem functioning, management of landscapes for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services supply, trade-offs between ecosystem services, and scenarios for future agriculture, etc. I am also interested in the long term dynamics of communities. 

I am a member of the steering group for the SLU program on ”Future agriculture”, and have contributed to the Mapping and Assessing Ecosystem Services (MAES) in Europe. I am or have been an advisor for The Swedish Road Authority (regional), the Swedish Board of Agriculture, and several research councils and universities internationally.

I am also interested in making music (or as someone called it, sound sculptures). You can hear some of it here (or you can send me a mail if the links don’t work):

Elephants watching the night train from Port Elizabeth (2014)  

Multifunk (supplementary material to Gamfeldt et al. 2013)  

How the world bank failed Africa (2007) (with Jonas Palm)  

Commando SLU: Kunskap & nytta (2009)  


Selected publications

Selected publications (If you don´t find them, mail me to get a pdf)

Community ecology

Astor, T., M.P. Berg, L. Lenoir, J. Strengbom & J. Bengtsson. 2014. Trait convergence and divergence in terrestrial snail communities on islands. Ecology and Evolution, doi: 10.1002/ece3.1084

Leinaas, H.P., J. Bengtsson, C. Janion & S.L. Chown. 2015. Indirect effects of habitat disturbance on invasion: nutritious litter from a grazing resistant plant favors alien over native Collembola. Ecology and Evolution; doi:10-1002/ece3.1483

Wolters, V., Bengtsson, J. & Zaitsev, A.S. 2006. Relationship among the species richness of different taxa. Ecology 87: 1886-1895

Bengtsson, J. & Ebert, D. 1998. Distributions and impacts of microparasites on Daphnia in rockpool metapopulations. Oecologia 115: 213-221

Bengtsson, J., Baillie, S.A. & Lawton, J. 1997. Community variability increases over time. Oikos 78: 249-256

Zheng, D.W., Bengtsson, J. & Ågren, G. 1997. Soil food webs and ecosystem processes: Decomposition in donor-control and Lotka-Volterra systems. American Naturalist 149: 125-148

Bengtsson, J. 1994. Temporal predictability in forest soil communities. Journal of Animal Ecology 63: 653-665

Bengtsson, J. 1989. Interspecific competition increases local extinction rate in a metapopulation system. Nature 340: 713-715

Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning/services

Bengtsson, J. 2015. Biological control as an ecosystem service: partitioning contributions of nature and human inputs to yield. Ecological Entomology 40 (Suppl. 1): 45–55. Open access:

Gamfeldt, L., T. Snäll, R. Bagchi, M. Jonsson, L. Gustafsson, P. Kjellander, M. C. Ruiz-Jaen, M. Fröberg, J. Stendahl, C. D. Philipson, G. Mikusiński, E. Andersson, B. Westerlund, H. Andrén, F. Moberg, J. Moen & J.Bengtsson. 2013. Higher levels of multiple ecosystem services are found in forests with more tree species. Nature Communications 4:1340 | DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2328. Open access:

Elmqvist, T., Folke, C., Nyström, M., Peterson, G., Norberg, J., Bengtsson, J. & Walker, B. 2003. Response diversity and ecosystem resilience. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 1: 488-494.

Loreau, M., Naeem, S., Inchausti, P., Bengtsson, J., Grime, J.P., Hector, A., Hooper, D.U., Huston, M.A., Raffaelli, D., Schmid, B., Tilman, D. & Wardle, D.A. 2001. Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning: Current Knowledge and Future Challenges. Science 294: 804-808.

Bengtsson, J. 1998. Which species? What kind of diversity? Which ecosystem function? Some problems in studies of relations between biodiversity and ecosystem function. Applied Soil Ecology 10: 191-199.
Agricultural and forest landscapes, biodiversity, ecosystem services

Tuck, S.L., C. Winqvist, F. Mota, J. Ahnström, L.A. Turnbull & J. Bengtsson.. 2014. Land-use intensity and the effects of organic farming on biodiversity: a hierarchical meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Ecology 51: 746-755.

Winqvist, C., J. Bengtsson, T. Aavik, F. Berendse, L.W. Clement, S. Eggers, C. Fischer, A. Flohre, F. Geiger, S. Hänke, J. Liira, T. Pärt, C. Thies, T. Tscharntke, W.Weisser & R. Bommarco. 2011. Mixed effects of organic farming and landscape complexity on farmland biodiversity and biological control potential across Europe. Journal of Applied Ecology 48: 570–579

Jonason, D., G.K.S. Andersson, E. Öckinger, H.G. Smith, M. Rundlöf & J. Bengtsson. 2011. Assessing the effect of the time since transition to organic farming on plants and butterflies. Journal of Applied Ecology 48: 543–550

Geiger F., J. Bengtsson, F. Berendse, W.W. Weisser, M. Emmerson, M.B. Morales, P. Ceryngier, J. Liira, T. Tscharntke, C. Winqvist, S. Eggers, R. Bommarco, T. Pärt, V. Bretagnolle, M. Plantegenest, L. W. Clement, C. Dennis, C. Palmer, J. J. Oñate, I. Guerrero, V. Hawro, J. Rajchard, T. Aavik, C. Thies, A. Flohre, S. Hänke, C. Fischer, P.W. Goedhart & P. Inchausti. 2010. Persistent negative effects of pesticides on biodiversity and biological control potential on European farmland. Basic and Applied Ecology 11: 97-105.

Ahrné, K., J. Bengtsson & T. Elmqvist. 2009. Bumble Bees (Bombus spp) along a gradient of increasing urbanization. PloS one 4(5): e5574.

Rundlöf, M., Bengtsson, J. & Smith, H.G. 2008 Local and landscape effects of organic farming on butterfly species richness and abundance. Journal of Applied Ecology 45: 813-820.

Bengtsson, J., Ahnström, J. & Weibull, A-C. 2005. The effects of organic farming on biodiversity and abundance: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Ecology 42: 261-269

Bengtsson, J., Angelstam, P., Elmqvist, T., Emanuelsson, U., Folke, C., Ihse, M., Moberg, F. & Nyström, M. 2003. Reserves, resilience and dynamic landscapes. Ambio 32: 389-396.

Östman. Ö., Ekbom, B. & Bengtsson, J. 2003. Yield increase attributable to aphid predation by ground-living polyphagous natural enemies in spring barley in Sweden. Ecological Economics 45, 149-158.

Östman, Ö., Ekbom, B. & Bengtsson, J. 2001b. Landscape heterogeneity and farming practice influence biological control. Basic and Applied Ecology 2: 365-371

Bengtsson, J., Nilsson, S-G., Franc, A. & Menozzi, P. 2000. Biodiversity, disturbances, ecosystem processes and sustainability of European forests. Forest Ecology and Management 132: 39-50

Soil ecology

Zaitsev, A.S., K.B. Gongalsky, A. Malmström, T. Persson & J. Bengtsson. 2016. Why are forest fires generally neglected in soil fauna research? A mini-review. Applied Soil Ecology (in press) Available from:

Leinaas, H.P., J. Bengtsson, C. Janion & S.L. Chown. 2015. Indirect effects of habitat disturbance on invasion: nutritious litter from a grazing resistant plant favors alien over native Collembola. Ecology and Evolution; doi:10-1002/ece3.1483

Widenfalk, L.A., J. Bengtsson, Å. Berggren, K. Zwiggelaar, E. Spijkman, F. Huyer-Brugman & M.P. Berg. 2015. Spatially structured environmental filtering of collembolan traits in late successional salt marsh vegetation. Oecologia 179: 537–549

Astor, T., M.P. Berg, L. Lenoir, J. Strengbom & J. Bengtsson. 2014. Trait convergence and divergence in terrestrial snail communities on islands. Ecology and Evolution, doi: 10.1002/ece3.1084

Zaitsev, A.S., K.B. Gongalsky, T. Persson & J. Bengtsson. 2014. Connectivity of litter islands remaining after a fire and unburnt forest determines the recovery of soil fauna. Applied Soil Ecology 83: 101-108

Malmström, A., T. Persson, K. Ahlström, K.B. Gongalsky & J. Bengtsson. 2009. Dynamics of soil meso- and macrofauna during a 5-year period after clear-cut burning in a boreal forest. Applied Soil Ecology 43: 61-74.

Viketoft M., J. Bengtsson, B. Sohlenius, M.P. Berg, O. Petchey, C. Palmborg, and K. Huss-Danell. 2009. Long-term effects of plant diversity and composition on soil nematode communities in grasslands. Ecology 90: 90-99.

Berg M.P. & Bengtsson J. 2007. Temporal and spatial variability in soil food web structure. Oikos 116: 1789-1804

Lindberg, N. & Bengtsson, J. 2006. Recovery of forest soil fauna diversity and composition after repeated summer droughts. Oikos 114: 496-506

Bengtsson, J., Lundkvist, H., Saetre, P., Sohlenius, B. & Solbreck, B. 1998. Effects of organic matter removal on the soil food web: Forestry practices meet ecological theory. Applied Soil Ecology 9: 137-143

South Africa

Leinaas, H.P., J. Bengtsson, C. Janion & S.L. Chown. 2015. Indirect effects of habitat disturbance on invasion: nutritious litter from a grazing resistant plant favors alien over native Collembola. Ecology and Evolution; doi:10-1002/ece3.1483

Bengtsson, J., C. Janion , S.L. Chown & H.P. Leinaas. 2012. Litter decomposition in fynbos vegetation, South Africa. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 47: 100-105

Janion C., A. Bedos, J. Bengtsson, L. Deharveng, B. Jansen van Vuuren, H. P. Leinaas, A. Liu, A. Malmström, D. Porco & S.L. Chown. 2011. Springtail diversity in South Africa: Benefits from bilaterals. South African Journal of Science 107, #582, pp. 75-81

Bengtsson, J., C. Janion , S.L. Chown & H.P. Leinaas. 2011. Variation in decomposition rates in the fynbos biome, South Africa: the role of plant species and plant stoichiometry. Oecologia 165: 225–235

Future agriculture, sustainability

Rist, L., A. Felton, M. Nyström, M. Troell, R. Sponseller, J. Bengtsson, H. Österblom, R. Lindborg, P. Tidåker, D.G. Angeler, R. Milestad & J. Moen. 2014. Applying resilience thinking to production ecosystems. Ecosphere 5(6): 73

Öborn, I., J. Bengtsson, F. Hedenus, L. Rydhmer, M. Stenström, K. Vrede, C. Westin & U. Magnusson. 2013. Scenario development as a basis for formulating a research program on future agriculture: A methodological approach. Ambio 42: 822-39

Chongtham, R., G. Bergkvist, C. Watson, E. Sandström, J. Bengtsson & I. Öborn.  Factors influencing crop rotation strategies on organic farms with different time since conversion to organic production. Biological Agriculture and Horticulture (in press)

Bengtsson, J. 2013. In which ways could modern biotechnology be part of sustainable agriculture? Svensk Utsädesförenings Tidskrift 1-2013: 14-26

Magnusson, U., Andersson Djurfeldt, A., Håkansson, T., Hårsmar, M, MacDermott, J., Nyberg, G., Stenström, M., Vrede, K., Wredle E. & Bengtsson, J. 2012. A contribution to the discussion on Critical research issues for future sub-Saharan African agriculture. SLU, Uppsala

Öborn, I., U. Magnusson, J. Bengtsson, K. Vrede, E. Fahlbeck, E. Steen Jensen, C. Westin, T. Jansson, F. Hedenus, H. Lindholm Schulz, M. Stenström, B. Jansson & L. Rydhmer. 2011. Five Scenarios for 2050 – Conditions for Agriculture and Land Use. SLU, Uppsala.

Bengtsson, J., U. Magnusson, L. Rydhmer, E. Steen Jensen, K. Vrede & I. Öborn. 2010. Future Agriculture – Livestock, Crops and Land Use. A Strategic Programme for Research. SLU, Uppsala.

Book chapters

Egoh, B.N., J. Bengtsson, R. Lindborg, J.M. Bullock, A.P. Dixon & M. Rouget. 2016. The importance of grasslands in providing ecosystem services: Opportunities for poverty alleviation. Ch. 34 in Potschin, M., R. Haines-Young, R. Fish & R.K. Turner (editors) Routledge Handbook of Ecosystem Services. Routledge, UK. (in press)

Bengtsson, J. 2010. Applied (meta)community ecology: diversity and ecosystem services at the intersection of local and regional processes. Chapter 9 in Verhoef, H.A. & Morin, P.J. (eds) Community Ecology. pp. 115-130. Oxford University Press.

Brose, U., Pavao-Zuckerman, M., Eklöf, A., Bengtsson, J., Berg, M.P., Cousins, S.H., Mulder, C., Verhoef, H.A. & Wolters, V. 2005. Spatial aspects of food webs.  Ch 8.4. in deRuiter P., et el. (eds): Dynamic food webs. pp. 463-470. Academic Press.

Bengtsson, J., Engelhardt, K., Giller, P., Hobbie, S., Lawrence, D., Levine, J., Vilà, M. & Wolters, V. 2002. Slippin' and slidin' between the scales: the scaling components of biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relations. Pp. 209-220 in Loreau, M., Naeem, S. & Inchausti, P. (eds.), Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning: Synthesis and Perspectives. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Professor at the Department of Ecology; Soil Ecology Unit
Telephone: +4618671516
Postal address:
Inst för Ekologi, Box 7044
750 07 UPPSALA
Visiting address: Ulls väg 16, Uppsala