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David Wardle

David Wardle
Professor of Forest Ecology


David Wardle is a Professor of Ecology at Umeå University, and an affiliate professor at SLU in Umeå.  His research explores the links between aboveground and belowground communities and how these in turn drive the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems, as well as how these linkages are impacted by global change factors. A large proportion of this research is field based and in natural ecosystems, and is mostly focused on forests and subarctic and subalpine tundra. Much of this work is done in the ecosystems of northern Sweden, though with significant past and present work also in several other parts of the world, notably Southeast and East Asia, Oceania, the Americas, and elsewhere in Europe. Current projects focus on:

-  The community and ecosystem effects of invasive and overabundant plants and animals.

-  The ecological consequences of wildfire in forests

-  Ecosystem changes across natural gradients of elevation (and temperature), ecosystem development and degradation, and retrogression

-  The ecology, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning of island ecosystems

-  Ecological consequences of biodiversity loss in real world contexts



PhD in Ecology, University of Calgary, Canada, 1989
BSc (Hons) in Botany, University of Canterbury, 1985 


2024, 2016 and 2010: Recipient of Wallenberg Scholar awards and funding (2024 award accompanied by 20M SEK research funding from 2024 to 2029)

2001-2023: Identified by ISI/Clarivate as a ‘Highly Cited’ scientist (Ecology/Environment) in every ‘highly cited’ list released since this form of recognition was instituted.

2021. Nanyang Research Award. 

2021. Honorary Professorship with East China Normal University, Shanghai, China.

2020. R. H. Whittaker ‘Distinguished Ecologist’ award from the Ecological Society of America. 

2020. Elected as a Member of Academia Europaea.

2018. Journal of Ecology Eminent Ecologist award. 

2016. Rosén´s Linneus Prize in Botany from the Royal Physiographic Society, Lund, Sweden.

2014. Distinguished Alumnus, School of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury.

2006. Swedish Univ of Agric Sciences (SLU) ‘Excellence Award’ 

2003 Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand 

2001 New Zealand Ecological Society (Te Tohu Taiao) award for Ecological Excellence.

1999 New Zealand Association of Scientists (Hill Tinsley) Research Medal.



Present: Series Editor, Book Series ‘Ecological Studies’, Springer (2018-present)

Previous: Science (Board of Reviewing Editors, 2009-2016), Ecology Letters, Journal of Ecology, Ecology, Ecological Monographs, Soil Biology and Biochemistry, NZ J Ecology, Biology and Fertility of Soils, Pedobiologia.



A key part of David Wardle’s work has been to mentor the next generation of excellent ecologists. As  such he has supervised a very diverse assortment of around 60 postdoctoral researchers and PhD  students, most of which have actively published in major journals under his supervision (in e.g., Nature, Science, Ecology Letters, Nature Ecology and Evolution, New Phytologist, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, etc), and nearly all of which hold university faculty positions, or environmental research, policy and management positions, in 19 separate countries, and representing all continents except Antarctica. Several are now themselves full professors at major universities, ERC grantees, recipients of major awards, and Clarivate Highly Cited researchers. 



David Wardle has published around 400 peer-reviewed publications of which around 30 have appeared in Science and Nature, as well as two books on aboveground-belowground linkages (published as a Monograph in Population Biology by Princeton University Press in 2002 and by Oxford University Press in 2010).
A full publication list can be found at




Non employee at the Department of Forest Ecology and Management; Department of Forest Ecology and Management, joint staff
Telephone: +46907868471, +46706589281
Postal address:
Skogens ekologi och skötsel
901 83 Umeå
Visiting address: Skogsmarksgränd 17, Umeå