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About us

An intriguing mix of interdisciplinary research and researchers focused on providing scientifically founded decision, support and knowledge to the surrounding society

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

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:

Ett porträtt på Torgny Näsholm

Torgny Näsholm, professor

Forest History

In the Forest history research group, we focus on understanding how forest ecosystems have developed in Northern Scandinavia by exploring people and forests historically from a long-term perspective. 

Research group leader:

Lars Östlund, 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. 

Research leader:

Hjalmar Laudon, professor.

Forest Regeneration

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.

Research leader:

Marie-Charlotte Nilsson Hegethorn

Marie-Charlotte Nilsson Hegethorn, professor



Forest Soils

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. 

Research leaders:

Peter Högberg

Peter Högberg, professor

Porträtt på Ulf Skyllberg

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.   

Research leader:

Field work

Michael Gundale, professor


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.

Research group leaders:

Porträtt på Gustaf Egnell

Gustaf Egnell, professor

Porträtt på Ulrik Ilstedt

Ulrik Ilstedt, professor

Published: 16 May 2024 - Page editor: tejshree.tiwari@slu.se

Department of Forest Ecology and Management 

Head of department Hjalmar Laudon, +46-70-560 6625 
Deputy Head of department, premises & security Mats Öquist, +46-90-786 8525
Deputy Head of department, undergraduate studies Gustaf Egnell +46-90-786 8455
Deputy Head of department, post graduate studies Maja Sundqvist, +46-90-786 8273
Deputy Head of department, equal opportunities Kelley Gundale, +46-90-786 8444
Deputy Head of department, young researchers Lars Östlund, +46-90-786 8442 
Postal address: SLU, Skogens ekologi och skötsel, 901 83 Umeå, Sweden.
Visiting address: Skogsmarksgränd 17, Umeå

Internal workspace for the department