Lectures by senior environmental assessment specialists at SLU

Last changed: 06 December 2023
Symbolic image for lectures by senior environmental assessment specialists. Illustration

On this page you find information about the popular science lectures by senior environmental assessment specialists at SLU, open for all. The latest event was held the 6th of December when Mattias Lundblad shared his knowledge about the work behind the climate reporting for land use and forests.

In the autumn of 2020, SLU´s vice-chancellor appointed our first senior environmental assessment specialists.

Since then a new academic tradition started, where SLU's newly appointed specialists share their expert knowledge towards a better environment, in open lectures. 

Below you can learn more about the latest lecturers individual special areas in lecture summaries.

The planned lecture with Mattias Sköld on marine protected areas was postponed and will be given at another date.

Mattias Lundblad 2023: Environmental monitoring of forests and soil for international commitments related to climate change

Environmental monitoring of forests and soil for international commitments related to climate change

Lecturer: Mattias Lundblad, researcher at the Department of Soil and Environment, SLU.


SLU's inventory of greenhouse gases plays an important role when following up climate strategies and agreements. Long-term environmental monitoring is essential to meet national environmental goals and international reporting requirements. Continuous development of methods through research is needed to capture society's constantly changing needs and demands. In his lecture, Mattias Lundblad talks about the work behind the climate reporting for land use and forests and the future development of the reporting.

SLU compiles Sweden's reporting of emissions and removals of greenhouse gases from land use and forestry (LULUCF sector) to the UN Climate Convention (UNFCCC) and the EU.

The reporting is used to follow up the development of emissions and removals from land use and forestry against the commitments to reduce emissions that the countries have undertaken under the UN's global Paris Agreement. The distribution of the EU's commitment within the Paris Agreement and the reporting requirements for EU member states are regulated in a number of EU regulations.

The reporting of the LULUCF sector includes changes in soil and forest carbon stocks and emissions of other greenhouse gases from all cultivated land in Sweden, corresponding to 74 percent of the Swedish land and freshwater area. The most important data for calculating emissions and removals comes from SLU's environmental monitoring of forests and soil (The National Forest Inventory, the Swedish Forest Soil Inventory and the Soil and crop inventory).

Forests and soil naturally absorb and emit greenhouse gases, such as when carbon dioxide is absorbed in connection with photosynthesis and is released during natural decomposition or when forests are felled. In general, Swedish forests and soil absorb more carbon from the atmosphere than is released. This means that the carbon stock increases in forests and land, a net uptake or a net removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The latest report shows that the largest net uptake of carbon occurs in living tree biomass and mineral soil on forest land, but also through the storage of carbon in long-lived wood products. The largest net release of carbon into the atmosphere comes from drained peatland on forest land or agricultural land. Emissions also occur when forest and agricultural land are exploited and the carbon bound in biomass and soil is released.

The documents from the National Forest Inventory and the Swedish Forest Soil Inventory have been used together with various datasets with a spatial resolution to produce maps of carbon stocks and changes in carbon stocks. Such data can be useful for calculating the effect on the carbon balance of exploitation or when wanting to identify areas for measures to preserve or increase carbon stocks.

Mattias Sköld 2023: Marine protected areas – advice, research, and effects of measures (lecture postponed and will be given at another date)

Marine protected areas – advice, research, and effects of measures

Lecturer: Mattias Sköld, researcher at the Department of Aquatic Resources, SLU.


The work with marine area protection has intensified in recent years. A background is strengthened policy both nationally, at EU level and globally with new targets for the protection of 30 percent of our marine areas, of which 10 percent shall be strictly protected. In his lecture, Mattias Sköld will talk about how marine area protection has developed regarding prerequisites, environmental analysis, research, and implementation with examples from his own experiences. 

Sweden's first marine protected area was the Gullmarn nature reserve, which was established in 1983. It is late compared to the conservation work on land, where several nature reserves and national parks in Sweden were established in the beginning of the 20th century. One of the reasons why marine protected areas have been established so late is a lack of knowledge. Until the end of the 1990s, only a few areas were adequately surveyed for biodiversity and habitats, and these areas coincided with where the Swedish marine research stations were established: around Gullmarsfjorden with Kristineberg, Klubban, Bornö and the Institute of marine Research, and at Kosterfjorden with the Tjärnö marine laboratory.

Soundings using leadline have been carried out for thousands of years, certainly an amazing collection of information but still sparse and provided only incomplete descriptions of the marine environment. Depth and descriptions of substrates such as sand, clay and rock were only available point by point. This meant that the conditions for inventorying and identifying areas worthy of protection were severely limited.

The first systematic sea survey carried out with modern technology and 100 percent coverage of a marine protected area in Sweden was of the Kosterfjorden in the late 1990s. The mapping was done with a so-called multibeam echo sounder, which radically improved the conditions for description, inventory, and conservation of the marine environment.

Conservation work also needs research into the causal relationships between human activities and the conservation targets to implement for example fishing regulations and other measures linked to area protection. There has been a lack of knowledge about how fishing affects both habitats, for example the physical impact of bottom trawling on substrates and bottom-dwelling organisms, as well as how fishing affects fish species, birds and mammals that are not landed and reported. Here, too, the technological development with satellite positioning of fishing vessels, onboard observations and consultation with fishermen has meant that conservation work has been given better basis for decisions on measures and trade-off between interests.

Mattias Sköld will also report on the latest state of knowledge with environmental analysis and follow-up of current fishing regulations in marine protected areas, as well as discuss the possibilities of how marine protected areas to contribute to a better management of our fish stocks.