Our mission is to advance the understanding of forest ecosystem processes and to progress the principles of forest ecosystem management through seven core research areas
We explore nature and the control of ecosystem processes in the forest landscape, including those of different forest types, wetlands, streams and lakes as well as the links between these systems. This fundamental understanding will enable us to design, monitor and evaluate the outcome of new ecosystem management approaches.
Exploring the influence of silvicultural systems and forest management operations on the output of ecosystem services is an essential part of our mission and our studies, therefore, encompass both managed and unmanaged systems.
We aim to deliver scientifically founded decision support and knowledge to the surrounding society. In addition to scientific communication; teaching undergraduate and graduate students and taking part in the public discourse are indispensable activities to maintain our role as knowledge providers.
Our work involves an extensive collaborative network both locally and internationally. This enables us to integrate studies of biospheric interactions as well as the interactions between the biosphere, the pedosphere, the hydrosphere and the atmosphere.
Core Research Areas
Forest ecophysiology includes nitrogen nutrition of plants in general and of forest plants in particular and its key role in boreal forest ecosystems.
We have a strong focus on method development and have access to a unique toolbox ranging from molecular methods for studying the expression of key genes for nitrogen uptake to field-applied microdialysis techniques for studying soil nitrogen fluxes.
Research group leaders:
Torgny Näsholm, professor
Forest Landscape Biogeochemistry
Forest landscape biogeochemistry includes the hydrology and biogeochemistry of forested watersheds and the speciation, mobility and bioavailability of trace metals.
Our major research objectives are to understand the biogeochemical transformation and cycling of energy, water, carbon, nitrogen and other elements in the boreal landscape. Much of our research is focused on the exchange processes between ecosystems and the atmosphere and hydrosphere respectively. A critical tool in our research is close access to a number of intensively instrumented research field sites. We work across spatial scales from the molecular level to the landscape level.
Hjalmar Laudon, professor.
This subject area includes studies on the effects of natural disturbances, climate change and forest management on ecological processes underlying forest regeneration in boreal forests. The key factors of interest are the responses of understory vegetation (ericaceous dwarf shrubs and mosses) and soils controlling early seedling establishment and growth.
We also study the interactive effects of management, wildfire and climate warming on the early development of conifer and broadleaved forest stands, and how these interactions impact the biotic and abiotic environment in the vicinity of the tree seedling.
Marie-Charlotte Nilsson Hegethorn, professor
Forest soils encompasses several subdisciplines; in our case especially plant-soil relations, geochemistry and pedology. A major focal area is interactions among soils, microbes and plants, and their implications for forest nutrition management, long-term productivity and the carbon balance.
Another major focal area is the biogeochemistry of mercury in soils, especially the effects of forest activities and restoration of wetlands. Our studies are based on detailed analysis in the laboratory, e.g. involving X-ray absorption spectroscopy to reveal the chemical speciation and linkage between mercury, sulfur and iron geochemistry, and very intensive pulse-chase isotope labelling experiments to study the cycles of nitrogen and carbon directly in the field.
Peter Högberg, professor
Ulf Skyllberg, professor
Forest Vegetation Ecology
Our research aims to integrate these themes as much as possible, to provide an understanding of how forest community structure interacts with ecosystem processes. We aim for our research to contribute to solving issues important to society, including preservation of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, forest resilience in response to climate change, and sustainable use of forest resources.
Silviculture includes silvicultural systems and forest management operations, with focus on the boreal and tropical region.
The aim of silvicultural research is to evaluate the effects of forestry practices, like regeneration, pre-commercial thinning, thinning, fertilization, and felling, on the future development of forests. The research is based on long-term field experiments, survey-studies, laboratory experiments, and simulations. The department is responsible for the development of knowledge for forming silvicultural practices and systems, which enable a sustainable use of the forest resource. The topic is central to the department's education, at both undergraduate and graduate level.