Sustainable management of forest soils

Last changed: 08 November 2021
A forest machine with timber, photo.

We are conducting research on impact of forestry operations on biogeochemical processes, tree nutrient availability by fertilization and mineral weathering. In addition, we assess nitrogen leaching from Swedish forest soils in response to human impact.

Harvesting and regeneration phase

Forest soil can get disturbed by forestry operations common during harvest and forest regeneration. Soil scarification (i.e. mechanical site preparation) is an example of a frequent operation performed to improve the survival and growth rates of tree seedlings. We study how soil scarification affects the soil climate and its consequences for biogeochemical processes such as CO2 emissions and nitrogen leaching.

Forest can be harvested with different intensity; stems-only, stems and branches and stems, branches and stumps. We study effects of forest harvesting intensity on carbon dynamics and nutrient availability. Off-road driving with heavy machines occurs in connection with transport of harvest products. We study the resilience of soils to soil compaction and eventual consequences of soil compaction for biogeochemical processes.

Nitrogen fertilization

Yearly ca 50.000 hectare of Swedish managed forests are fertilized with nitrogen. We study the overall impact of nitrogen fertilization, nitrogen deposition, soil scarification, climate and soil type on nitrogen leaching, in collaboration with Skogforsk and the Cleo program.

Together with colleagues in the strong research environment QWARTS we study the soil’s capacity to provide nutrients to the forest by mineral weathering.


Associate Professor Johan Stendahl

Department of Soil and Environment, 018-673801