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Ann-Mari Fransson

My recent years have been devoted to aspects of sustainable urban vegetation. One of my two main focus areas are improving the conditions for urban vegetation through better growth conditions. Tree growth and vitality are both important parts of the work. Urban biodiversity is my other line of research, also working with the importance of the soil conditions for species richness and different forms of diversity. I work on many of aspects of urban plant ecology from biodiversity of urban meadows to nutrient status in trees. The last years I have worked in projects in close colaboration with municipalities and other practice creating solutions to sustain a triving vegetation in cities. Currently I work with biochar in urban soils and the effect of biochar on the vegetation (


I am an associate professor (Docent) in plant ecology from Lund University with a background in soil-plant interactions and functional divcersity in plant P uptake mechanisms. In my thesis presented in january 2000, I studied the effects of soil P on plant preformance and how plants may alter the soil environment to acheive P from the soil. I continued to work with organic acids in relation to P availabilit at The University of Bangor at the lab of David L. Jones for a year and a half. The following years I spent at the Ecological Institution, Lund Universit in a project looking at biodiversity of grasslands and the gene expression in roots in responce to P addition.

Since 2010 I have worked with urban plant ecolog at SLU in Alnarp and have been involved in a number of Vinnova financed projects that are oriented towards cooperation with municipalities and different kinds of companies


Currently I am head of a masters program on Sustainable urban development teaching the course Challenges in Cities. My former teaching have been in plant ecology and soil chemistry at the basic and advanced levels. I engage in supervision both at the doctoral, master and kandidate levels. I appreciate teachin as the contact with the students is much rewarding.


My research field is urban plant ecology with focus on improving the conditions for the vegetation and create high urban biodiversity. We created biotopes for different vegetation types like forest habitats and dry meadows by designing the soil/substrate in order to match the demands of the vegetation. I also worked with trees status and storm-water supply to the planting beds including adding biochar to the soil and substrates.

The Vinnova funded project “Rest till Best” is aiming to explore the use and manufacturing of biochar in an urban context. The purpose of the project is to identify solutions for treating societal organic residues in a way that environmental and climate impact is minimized, while a useful product (biochar) is created. This will be done by pyrolysis technology - which generates biochar still containing P, but where many environmentally hazardous substances (including cadmium) are removed, fixed or destroyed. The project is expected to generate high quality of urban green spaces, more jobs and make Sweden world leading in pyrolysis-technology, as well as ecological, economical and socially sustainable management of organic by-products. The contribution from us will be to test biochar as a soil remediation agent in different urban applications, to study the availability of nutrients in the biochar and to take part in the management of the project. Applications that will be included are urban grasslands, urban trees, green roofs, living walls, football fields, biofilters for storm-water management, and soil manufacturing.

I started working with urban plant ecology looking at root actions in the urban environment and the problem of root intrusions. Since then I have worked with the suitability of living walls in Sweden both from a technical but also from a plant selection perspective. I also worked with urban forestry and the soil conditions for urban trees trying to combine good growth conditions with hard cover surfaces and storm water treatments. I have also worked to increase the urban biodiversity, mainly the beta-diversity, by creating new biotopes on walls, on the ground and on roofs. Apart from this I have or have had a large numger of smaller project on tree water status, tree inventory, polluted urban soils, the status of urban trees, urban soil quality etc.

I have worked with metal uptake and root intrusions, tree inventories, water uptake in urban trees, tree vitality and primary and secondary stress factors, combining trees, storm-water and hard surface cover, living walls in Scandinavian conditions, replacing sand with crushed rock in constructed soil, creating biodivers urban constructions like living walls, biotope roofs, and urban biotopes, efficient use of urban soils, biochar in urban applications.


My earlier research was on soil-plant interactions with focus on mechanisms for P-uptake in plants.


I have worked in a number of Vinnova project (Sweden's innovation agency)  in close cooperation with practice. Combining science with practical problems and know-how is very productive and is important for creating a sustainable future. Both fields need the input from the other in order to make urban plant ecology and the planning and management of urban green solutions solid and reliable.

I work in close cooperation with municipalities in many of the larger cities in Sweden. I also work in consortiums together with building companies, road construction companies, different kinds of entrepreneurs, landscape arcitect firms, and different kinds of institutes and other Universities.

I spent some of my time at The National board och housing, building and planning (Boverket). My work there was to take part in the development of guidelines for incorporating ecosystem services in cities. We make practical  guidlines for the planning, construction and management of ecosystem services. (


I was educated, did my PhD, and received the title Associate professor (Docent) at Lund University. After 16 years of reasearch in Lund I moved to SLU and Alnarp and have been here at a lecturer since 2010.

Selected publications

Fransson AM. 2019.  May silver and the heavy metal concentrations in leaves be used in order to identify tree root intrusion into sewage systems and storm-water drains? Arboricultural Journal. Accepted

Fransson, AM. 2018 A Single Incident of Soil P Leaching in a Mature Forest Corresponds to 10 Years of Average Leaching. Preprints 2018, 2018100410 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201810.0410.v1).

Levinsson A, Fransson AM, Emilsson T 2017.  Investigating the relationship between various measuring methods for determination of establishment of urban trees. (Urban forestry urban greening 28; 21-27.)

Mårtensson LM, Fransson AM and Emilsson T 2016. Exploring the use of edible and evergreen perennials in living wall systems in the Scandinavian climate (Urban forestry and urban greening, 15: 84-88).

Levinsson A, Konijnendijk van den Bosch C, Öxell C, Fransson AM 2015. Visual assessment and morphological characteristics of urban Prunus avium (L.) and Quercus rubra (L.) during the establishment phase in relation to water status. (Urban forestry urban greening 14: 2, 218-224)

Mårtensson LM, Wuolo A, Fransson AM and Emilsson T. 2014. Plant performance in living wall systems in the Scandinavian climate (Accepted Ecological Engineering).

Levinsson A, Saebö A, Fransson AM 2014. Production method affects water uptake and stress response of newly planted urban trees. (Accepted Scientia Horticulturae).

Lankinen Å, Fransson AM, Larsson M. 2013 Allocation to pollen competitive ability vs. seed production in Viola tricolor as an effect of plant size, soil nutrients and presence of a root competitor (Oikos 122:779-789)

Östberg J, Ståhl Ö, Martinsson M and Fransson AM 2012. Risk of root intrusion by trees and shrub species into sewer pipes in Swedish urban areas. (Urban forestry & urban greening 11 (1) 65-71)

George, T.S., Fransson, A-M, Hammond, J. and White, P 2011.  P nutrition: Rhizosphere processes, plant response and adaptations in Phosphorus in action – biological processes in soil phosphorus cycling Edited by Buenemann, E.,  Oberson, A., and Frossard, E.

Blanck Y-L, Gowda J, Sandberg J, and Fransson AM 2011. Phosphorus and moisture affect species richness more than nitrogen in Matoral forests, Argentina. (Plant and Soil 345, 11-21)

Pedersen J, Fransson A-M, and Olsson PA. Performance of Bromus tectorum and Rumex acetosella in sandy calcareous soils Flora 206:276-281

Sandberg J, Jones D, and Fransson A-M. 2009. Extensive utilisation of soil P by plants adapted to acidic conditions. Nordic Journal of Botany 27:444-448

Akselsson C, Fransson A-M, Thelin G, and Westling O. 2008. Will N or P be limiting for growth in Swedish forests in the future? (Science of the Total Environment 404:284-289)

Göransson H, Fransson A-M, Jönsson U. 2007 Do oaks have different strategies for uptake of N, K and P depending on soil depth? (Plant and Soil 297: 119-125)

Rousk J, Bååth E, Göransson H, and Fransson A-M. 2007 Competition between plants and microorganisms for 33P using uptake into phospholipids to estimate soil microbial P.  (Applied Soil Ecology36(2-3):233-237)

Fransson A-M and Jones D. 2007 Phosphatase activity does not limit the microbial use of low molecular weight organic-P substrates in soil (Soil Biology and Biochemistry 39:1213-1217)

 Göransson H, Rosengren U, Wallander H, Fransson A-M, Thelin G. 2006. Nutrient acquisition from different soil depths in a mixed stand of Norway spruce and Pedunculate oak (Trees 20:292-298 )

Fransson A-M, Valeur I., and Wallander H. 2004 Wood-decaying fungi increases P availability in acid forest humus soil and N addition hampers this effect. (Soil Biology and Biogeochemistry 36:1699-1705).

Fransson A-M, Vinogradoff S, Goodbold D, Jones DL and van Heese P. 2004 Aluminium complexation of citrate suppresses organic acid degradation by acid forest soil microorganisms. (Soil Biology and Biogeochemistry 36:353-357)

Fransson A-M., van Aarle I.M., Olsson P.A., and Tyler G. 2003 Differences between Plantago lanceolata L. and Rumex acetosella in utilisation of soil phosphorus. Plant & Soil, Vol. 248, 1-2, 285-295.

Mahmood S, Finlay RD, Fransson A-M, Wallander H. 2002. Effects of hardened wood ash on microbial activity plant growth and nutrient uptake by ectomycorrhizal spruce seedlings. FEMS Microbiology Ecology1430:1-11.

Fransson A-M. 2001. Evaluation of Oxalate/Oxalic acid for extracting plant available phosphorus in unfertilised acid soils. Comm. Soil Sci. Plant Anal. 32: 2469-2484

Fransson, A-M. and Bergkvist, B. 2000. Phosphorus fertilisation causes durable enhancement of soluble phosphorus concentrations in forest soil. For. Ecol. Manage. 130 (1-3):69-76.

Fransson, A-M., Bergkvist, B. and Tyler, G. 1999. Phosphorus solubility in an acid forest soil as influenced by form of applied phosphorus and liming. Scand. J. For. Res. 14:538-544