Ecology and environmental research/Soil ecology

Last changed: 11 January 2021
 Two pairs of hands going through a soil sample.

We study how land use and fragmentation of habitats affect plants and animals as well as ecosystem processes. In Sweden, we have unique expertise in soil fauna in both agricultural and forest landscapes.

Many of the organisms that we study carry out important ecosystem services in agriculture or forestry.

For instance, bees are important for pollination of many crops, and earthworms are important for soil structure and nutrient cycling. Spiders and predatory beetles can control pest insects, and plants produce the basic resources for above-ground and soil food webs.

We examine the landscape characteristics and management practices needed for plants and animals to survive, reproduce and persist in dynamic landscapes.

Research topics

In our unit we adress questions related to:

  • Food webs
  • Ecosystem functioning
  • Diversity and distribution of species
  • Spatial population dynamics and dispersal
  • Metacommunities

More information

Read more about our projects and publications on the researchers CV pages

A lot of earthworms.
Can inoculations of earthworms and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) enhance soil ecosystem services and crop production? And does these new management work for farmers? We study this in one of our projects. Photo: Astrid Taylor
Woman working with cement mixer.
Maria Viketoft is mixing soil with different levels of PAHs and copper in a cement mixer. How do the pollutants affect the life in the soil? Photo: Anna Lundmark
Blue berries.
Stand age and climate influence forest ecosystem service delivery and multifunctionality, according to a study that we did together with Umeå University. Production of berries and game, and services related to biodiversity, were typically highest in old stands (120–185 years). Photo: Jenny Svennås-Gillner.
Soil sample.
One gram of soil can contain thousands of species of bacteria and a large variety of different types of fungi. We study how soil life in forest ecosystems is affected by different types of forest management. Photo: Tord Ranheim Sveen
Page editor: anna.lundmark@slu.se