Research infrastructure

Last changed: 24 January 2023

Both analytical platforms and large scale field research infrastructures plays a central role for research at the department. In addition to a well-equipped standard laboratory for analysis of plant, soil and water samples the laboratory flagship is an extensive capacity for analysis of isotopes. The close and easily accessible Vindeln Experimental Forests within one-hour drive from the university campus, hosts the national and European research infrastructures ICOS and SITES, harbouring both large scale field manipulation experiments and long-term ecological monitoring. These research infrastructures represent an invaluable resource for research, education and extension work.

The SLU Stable Isotope Laboratory (SSIL) is a core facility at SLU for developing and maintaining state-of-the-art stable isotope (13C, N15, D and 18O) analyses of water, gases, soils, plants and animal tissues. SSIL builds on more than 20 years of experience from isotope analysis at the department. SSIL currently houses 4 isotope-ratio mass spectrometers and two cavity ring-down spectrometers, as well as a wide range of supporting analytical and sample preparation equipment.  

The SLU field research station Vindeln Experimental Forests (VEF), constitutes an invaluable resource for field-based research at our department. The VEF has contributed to more than 140 PhD-thesis´ and 1400 peer-reviewed papers. VEF is part of the Swedish Infrastructure for Ecosystem Science (SITES), a national coordinated infrastructure for terrestrial and limnological field research. SLU is the coordinator.  

Our department also has the scientific responsibility for a third of the Swedish contribution to the pan-European Integrated Carbon Observatory System Research Infrastructure (ICOS-RI). The ICOS RI provides harmonized and high precision scientific data on the carbon cycle and greenhouse gas budges and perturbations. ICOS data is openly available at the Carbon Portal, a one-stop shop for all ICOS data products. The SLU ICOS contribution is located within the Vindeln Experimental Forests and includes one ecosystem measurement station at the Degerö Stormyr mire and one combined ecosystem and atmospheric station over the boreal forest landscape at Svartberget

Our department has developed a number of large-scale and long-term research platforms at VEF. These platforms include long-term measurements programs as well as advanced large-scale and long-term field manipulations. The Krycklan Catchment Study is a unique research site for studying the relationships between hydrological, biogeochemical, and ecological processes in the same ecosystem. It is one of the most instrumented and monitored watersheds in the world. The Degerö Stormyr boreal mire is one of the most intensively studied mire ecosystems in the northern hemisphere. One of longest time series analysis of carbon and greenhouse gas balance in a mire is being conducted here. The Rosinedal experimental area represents a large-scale field manipulation to investigate how the input of nitrogen affects tree growth. Tree growth is closely linked with forest carbon sequestration and therefore the studies also refer to the question if nitrogen deposition leads to increased carbon storage in the forest. The Rosinedal nitrogen manipulation experiment builds on earlier research at the Flakaliden spruce nitrogen fertilization experiment. We are currently also establishing a new SLU initiated “Whole mire nitrogen addition research infrastructure” at VEF with the aim to understand the long-term ecosystem scale responses of boreal mire carbon and GHG balances to increased nitrogen loadings. 

A natural field experimental setting are the 30 lake islands in lake Hemavan with their varying fire history as a basis for research. Studies have focused on the consequences for the functional composition of vegetation, carbon sequestration, and aboveground and belowground communities and ecosystem functioning. This forest age and forest fire chronosequence has contributed to a large number of high profile papers over the past 20 years. 



Professor Mats Nilsson
Phone +46 (0)90-786 8375
Cellular +46 (0)70 688 44 09