CV page

Eliza Maher Hasselquist

Eliza Maher Hasselquist
I’m an ecologist who has a background in natural resource management, and uses tools from stream ecology, biogeochemistry, and hydrology to study the effects of ecosystem management on waterways and their riparian zones in order to ensure high water quality and biodiversity while balancing societal needs for forest products.


I use field surveys, stable isotopes, GIS, and hydrological modelling to study how human impacts on waterways and ecological restoration of those impacts affect tree growth, plant communities, and nutrient cycling in order to ensure high water quality and biodiversity while balancing societal needs for forest products. I research the effects of historic forestry activities on waterways and their riparian zones in relatively large but wadeable streams down to man-made forest drainage ditches in wetlands.  In streams formerly channelized to facilitate timber floating in Sweden, I found that increasing hydrogeomorphic complexity increased biodiversity of instream organisms and riparian plants, but that it could take up to 25 years to recover. The Swedish forest industry also changed waterways by creating forest drainage ditches in the 1930s as part of a government work program to increase production of forest in wetlands. I am currently researching GIS and hydrological modelling methods that will provide guidelines on future management of ditches that balances the positive effects on tree productivity against potentially negative environmental impacts.


At SLU, I teach units on forest hydrology, in particular how forest drainage has affected forests and waterways. At Umeå University I taught plant inventory techniques in Ecological Field Methods (Ekologisk Fältmetodik), mushroom keying in Mushroom Identification (Svampkunskap), and plant anatomy and keying in first-year basic courses (Naturens mångfald och Basåret). I also supervised small research projects in Forest Ecology and Management as well as Ecology; which included supervising project development, field work, statistics and report writing. In this capacity, I've worked with students with many different cultural backgrounds from more than 10 different countries.​


Current projects:

Swedish Research Council Formas Mobility Grant, 2019-2021: "Optimizing digital tools for balancing forest productivity and water quality when managing drained boreal forests" - 1 year at the Natural Resources Institute of Finland (Luke, Helsinki, Finland), 2 years at SLU in Umeå

Abstract: "Up to 15 million ha of northern peatlands have been drained for forestry; nearly 50% of these are in Fennoscandia. Ditch network maintenance (DNM) may be required to maintain drainage and timber productivity, but it is a large source of sediment and nutrients to receiving water bodies. There are currently no guidelines for how DNM should be targeted. In this project, I will combine two models, the Swedish Ditch Flow Tracker (DFT) and the Finnish Peatland Simulator SUSI, to create a new support tool for prioritizing DNM. DFT takes advantage of recently generated digital elevation models (DEMs) combined with hydrological modeling to locate ditches and estimate how large of an area is drained by them. SUSI is a stand-level process-based simulator that models stand water use, nutrient uptake, growth and yield, and finally economic performance of DNM. In this proposal, I will (i) merge the DFT and SUSI models to create a new synergized modelling tool, (ii) validate the results with previously collected tree growth and hydrological data from Sweden and Finland, and (iii) apply the merged model at the watershed-scale in both Sweden and Finland to be able to locate DNM operations to better balance tree production with water quality. By working on the development of a common, research-based tool for prioritizing DNM activities, I will contribute towards the economic and environmental sustainability of forestry by avoiding unprofitable DNMs and decreasing nutrient and sediment exports."

Water Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) 2018 JOINT CALL, 2019-2021:“REFORM WATER: Reducing the Effects of FORest Management to inland WATERs” 

Abstract: "Many of the largest lakes in the Nordic countries, which are also among the most important raw water supplies for the major cities, are showing brownification e.g. increase in dissolved organic matter and humic substances. This phenomena, common across much of the northern latitudes, has primarily been suggested to result from processes related to the recovery from acid deposition and increase in winter precipitation. However, in the Nordic countries, land use primarily related to forest management on drained peatlands have also been shown to play an important role in the large scale brownification. As the demand for timber, pulpwood, renewable energy sources and biodegradable materials is increasing, there is an ongoing pressure to use the large timber stock on drained peatlands and to carry out ditch network maintenance (DNM) to maintain tree growth. Since up to 25% of the forest area in the Nordic countries is on drained peatlands, related increases in dissolved organic matter (DOM) and accompanying nutrient fluxes is one major threat to water quality. Warming climate, increasing growing stock and large scale DNM in forested peatlands are likely to enhance organic matter decomposition and subsequent brownification and eutrophication of water bodies, thus significantly affecting the water quality. There is significant timber stock in the large drained peatland forests that are soon coming to harvesting age. The aim of this study is therefore to quantify the effects of current management practices of peatland forests, such as harvesting and DNM, on the quality and the transport of DOM to aquatic systems. In addition, we will develop a novel tool based on biochar application to decrease the DOM and nutrient load to aquatic systems. Finally, we aim to develop state-of-the art process-modelling techniques for assessing the effects of forest management practices on water quality in peatland-dominated catchments, and for optimizing the production in such a way that enables wood production while keeping the adverse environmental impacts to a minimum."


Past projects:

Skogssällskapet (the Swedish Forest Society Foundation), 2017-2018: "When do we ditch the ditch? – A field test of the “DitchFlowTracker” to prioritize forest drainage ditch maintenance for sustainable forest management" link to the project at Skogssällskapet's website


I'm actively participating in the GRIP on LIFE Integrated project in collaboration with The Swedish Forest Agency (Skogsstyrelsen) and the County Administrative Board (Länsstyrelsen) of Västerbotten County

I am a former representative for the Forest Faculty (S-fak) on the Steering Committee for the SLU Future Faculty, an organisation with the aim to promote the career of early career researchers at SLU. I also managed their social media account.


Postdoc, Forest Biogeochemistry, 2015-2020                                       SLU, Umeå, Sweden

Funded by the Swedish Research Council Formas granted to Katarina Eckerberg (Department of Political Science, Umeå University) & Hjalmar Laudon: "Healthy Waters: The role of collaborative governance to minimize negative forestry impact on water quality"

Main advisor: Hjalmar Laudon

Ph.D., Ecology, 2010 - 2015 (25 Sept 2015)                 Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden

Thesis title: “Gradients of time and complexity: understanding how riparian and instream ecosystems recover after stream restoration”                                             

Main Advisor: Christer Nilsson

M.S., Biology, 2002 - 2004                            Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID, USA

Thesis title: “Effects of surrounding vegetation on establishment of conifer seedlings in alpine-treeline ecotones of the Rocky Mountains”           

Main Advisor:  Matthew J. Germino

B.S., Biology, 1999                                                 Keene State College, Keene, NH, USA


Supervision of students (PhD level)

Virginia (Vicky) Mosquera, Co-supervisor, Preliminary PhD Thesis title, “Side by side comparison of the impact of old forest harvest and drainage ditches on water quality,” Forest Ecology & Management, SLU, Sweden, Expected defense Fall 2023, Co-supervised with Hjalmar Laudon (main) & Ryan Sponseller

Shirin Karimi, Co-supervisor, Preliminary PhD Thesis title, “Using wetland restoration as a tool to mitigate runoff extremes,” Forest Ecology & Management, SLU, Sweden, Expected defense Fall 2023, Co-supervised with Hjalmar Laudon (main), Jan Seibert, and Kevin Bishop

Supervision of students (Masters level)

Jessica Åström, M.S., Thesis. “Evaluating abundance of deciduous trees in production forests along small streams: can Sweden meet current policy goals without intensive management?” Forest Ecology & Management, SLU, Sweden, March 2020

Hanna Glöd, M.S., Thesis: “Forest drainage effects on tree growth in northern Sweden - developing guidelines for Ditch Network Maintenance” Forest Ecology & Management, SLU, Sweden, Feb 2018

Lisa Sandberg, M.S., Thesis: “Effects of restoration on instream bryophyte communities: monitoring of two different restoration techniques in the Vindel River system,” Ecology and Environmental Science, Umeå University, Sweden, January 2015

Supervision of students (Bachelors level)

Fanny Everheim, B.S., Thesis: “Effects of stream restoration on riparian bryophytes” Ecology and Environmental Science, Umeå University, Sweden, June 2016

Julia Nygårdh & Linnea Larsson, B.S. Thesis: “Riparian buffers and their management through time: Has the composition in riparian zones been affected by previous management since 1963?” Forest Ecology & Management, SLU, Sweden, May 2020

Selected publications

Publications from SLUPub

Kozii, N., K. Haahti, P. Tor-ngern, J. Chi, E. M. Hasselquist, H. Laudon, S. Launiainen, R. Oren, M. Peichl, J. Wallerman, and N. J. Hasselquist. 2020. Partitioning growing season water balance within a forested boreal catchment using sap flux, eddy covariance, and a process-based model. Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. 24: 2999-3014. 

Hasselquist, E.M., I. Mancheva, K. Eckerberg, and H. Laudon. 2020. Policy change implications for forest water protection in Sweden over the last 50 years. Ambio. 49: 1341–1351.

Kritzberg, E.S., E.M. Hasselquist, M. Škerlep, S. Löfgren, O. Olsson, J. Stadmark, S. Valinia, L.-A. Hansson, and H. Laudon. 2020. Browning of freshwaters: Consequences to ecosystem services, underlying drivers, and potential mitigation measures. Ambio. 49: 75–390.

Lind, L., E.M. Hasselquist, H. Laudon. 2019. Towards ecologically functional riparian zones: A meta-analysis to develop guidelines for protecting ecosystem functions and biodiversity in agricultural landscapes. Journal of Environmental Management,  249.  

Hasselquist, E.M., LE. Polvi, M. Kahlert, C. Nilsson, L. Sandberg, and B.G. McKie. 2018. Contrasting responses among aquatic organism groups to changes in geomorphic complexity along a gradient of stream habitat restoration: implications for restoration planning and assessment. Water  10, 1465

Hasselquist, E.M., W. Lidberg, R.A. Sponseller, A. Ågren, & H. Laudon. 2018. Identifying and assessing the potential hydrological function of past artificial forest drainage. Ambio 47: 546

Kuglerová, L.*, E.M. Hasselquist*, J.S. Richardson, R. Sponseller, D. Kreutzweiser, & H. Laudon. 2017. Management perspectives on Aqua incognita: connectivity and cumulative effects of small natural and artificial streams in boreal forests. Hydrological Processes. 2017; 1-7.   *shared first-authorship

Hasselquist, E.M., N.J. Hasselquist, J.P. Sparks, & C. Nilsson.  2017. Recovery of nitrogen cycling in riparian zones after stream restoration using δ15N along a 25-year chronosequence in northern Sweden. Plant and Soil. 410: 423–436

Hasselquist, E. M., C. Nilsson, J. Hjältén, D. Jørgensen, L. Lind, & L.E. Polvi. 2015. Time for recovery of riparian plants in restored northern Swedish streams: a chronosequence study. Ecological Applications. 25: 1373–1389

Nilsson, C., L.E. Polvi, J. Gardeström, E.M. Hasselquist, L. Lind & J.M. Sarneel. 2015. Riparian and in-stream restoration of boreal streams and rivers: success or failure? Ecohydrology. 8: 753–764

Jørgensen, D., C. Nilsson, A.R. Hof, E.M. Hasselquist, S. Baker, F.S. Chapin, K. Eckerberg, J. Hjältén, L.E. Polvi, & L.A. Meyerson. 2014. Policy Language in Restoration Ecology. Restoration Ecology. 22: 1–4.

Polvi, L.E., C. Nilsson, & E.M. Hasselquist. 2014. Potential and actual geomorphic complexity of restored headwater streams in northern Sweden. Geomorphology. 210: 99–118

Hasselquist, E.M., N.J. Hasselquist, & D.L. Rogers. 2013. Management of non-native annual plants to support recovery of an endangered perennial forb, Ambrosia pumila. Restoration Ecology. 21: 224–231

Maher, E.L., & M.J. Germino. 2006. Microsite differentiation among conifer species during seedling establishment at alpine treeline. Ecoscience. 13: 334–341

Maher, E.L., M.J. Germino, & N.J. Hasselquist. 2005. Interactive effects of tree and herb cover on survivorship, physiology, and microclimate of conifer seedlings in an alpine-treeline ecotone. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 35: 567–574


Restoration, Riparian Buffer, Ditch cleaning, water quality, wetlands, stream

Restaurering, återställande, dikesrensning, skyddzoner, vattenkvalitet, våtmark, bäck



Researcher at the Department of Forest Ecology and Management; Department of Forest Ecology and Management, joint staff
Telephone: +46907868603
Postal address:
Skogens ekologi och skötsel
901 83 Umeå
Visiting address: Skogsmarksgränd 17, Umeå