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Fredrik Widemo

Fredrik Widemo
Fredrik Widemo is an Associate professor in animal ecology and senior lecturer with extension responsibilities in Wildlife-Forest interactions. Furthermore, Fredrik Widemo is a wildlife analyst at the Forest Damage Centre and deputy coordinator for the Wildlife programme within SLU's Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. Fredrik Widemo's research mainly focuses on co-management of the ungulates-forestry-agriculture system, both in terms of ecological processes and from a human dimensions perspective. Furthermore, Fredrik Widemo studies the delivery of ecosystem services from various forms of forest management.


My work integrates research, environmental monitoring and teaching on co-management of ungulates in relation to agriculture and forestry in Swedish production landscapes. Communicating new results to the management, while simultaneously identifying important gaps in knowledge and understanding, is an important part of my work.

My research includes both natural and social science questions and methods, where I both analyse ecological processes and study stakeholder attitudes to wildlife and the effects of wildlife on the landscape and opportunities for land use. I investigate what ecosystem services we get from wildlife, including appropriate management actions for increasing ecosystem services, for reducing disservices and for finding good balances between different interests in management. I have also been conducting detailed studies of how hunting is conducted to create values, regulate game populations and reduce damage for a long time.


I have many years of experience in teaching ecology and zoology, as well as being responsible for basic and advanced courses. Since 2019, I am the course coordinator and head teacher for the distance course Wildlife Management BI 1417. The course focuses on adaptive management of wildlife in relation to other natural resources, especially ecosystem services from agriculture and forestry. I am also responsible for the ungulate module within the master's program Fish & Wildlife Management BI1299.


Currently, my main research interests include: 

Multi-species management of ungulates 
Today, red deer, fallow deer and wild boar are spreading in Sweden, and inhabit landscapes previously dominated by moose and roe deer. Mouflon sheep are also established locally. Such novel ungulate communities display different grazing and browsing pressures, changed competition for forage and new limiting effects on human land use, as compared to before. Climate change is expected to accelerate the changing impacts.

Our ungulate species all affect each other; so far, however, wildlife management has largely had a "single-species focus". Within the completed research program Beyond Moose (2016-22), we analyzed how intra- and interspecies competition affects different ungulate communities in Swedish production landscapes, and evaluated and developed methods for monitoring ungulate populations and their impact on the landscape. Now, I continue to study how different ungulate communities utilize forage resources and affect the landscape, partly by using data from the environmental analysis program Balanced Ungulate Populations that I lead. The project is funded through the Forest Damage Centre at SLU.

In parallel, I lead the project Moose Quality in the North, where we study how forage availability, climate and wildlife management affect the moose's condition. The project is run in collaboration with the county administrative boards, the Swedish Association for Hunting and Wildlife Management and forest companies.

Co-management of ecosystem services from ungulates, forestry and agriculture
Ungulates offer various forms of ecosystem services, such as game meat and recreational values from hunting or game watching. At the same time, ungulates limit ecosystem services from agriculture and forestry through grazing and browsing. This, in turn, can lead to the adoption of mitigating measures, for example in the form of a change in the choice of crop in agriculture or choice of tree species when regenerating forests. Consequently, ungulates affect the landscape and its management, while land use affects the ungulates. As different ecosystem services limit each other, it is necessary to find trade-offs between them. My research focuses on how ungulates limit the opportunities to engage in agriculture and forestry, while studying stakeholder attitudes towards wildlife, damage from wildlife and wildlife management systems.

I lead the project Future Yields - Impacts of Browsing on Stand Structure, Forest Growth and Revenue in Forestry where we study the effects of ungulates on opportunities to conduct forestry. The project is funded by SLU Forest Damage Centre.

Effects of ungulate grazing and browsing on biodiversity 
There is a broad consensus in conservation biology that grazing of domestic animals has positive effects on biodiversity, both in the open landscape and in forests. Often, intermediate grazing pressures appear to produce the greatest variation in habitats and largest positive effects, in accordance with "the intermediate disturbance hypothesis". However, our understanding is not as good regarding the extent to which wild ungulates compensate for the decreasing grazing pressure of domestic animals, and what effect the composition of the ungulate communities has. My research strives to answer these questions through observations and experimental studies of the effects of ungulates on plants and invertebrates. 

I lead the project The Effects of Ungulates on Biodiversity in Swedish Production Forests, which is funded by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.

Delivery of ecosystem services from different forms of forest management 
Individual forest owners own about half of the Swedish forest land, and often have different goals from owning forests. Despite this, Swedish forestry is largely uniform with management of monocultures of conifers through rotation forestry being the norm. Why is that? Can we achieve a more varied landscape if the individual forest owners gain better knowledge of how they can achieve their own goals, while at the same time creating general knowledge about the different values generated through different forms of management? 

I lead the project Multiple Choice of Goals in Forestry- Voluntary Transition of Swedish Forest Ecosystems to Increase Multifunctionality & Sustainability where we investigate this. The project is funded by Formas.

Reproductive Biology of Small Mammals in Relation to Hunting Seasons

The time period during which game species can be hunted is partly determined by ethical considerations, which largely are influenced by the reproductive biology of the species. Within a newly initiated research program, we are investigating the timing of reproduction for red fox (Vulpes vulpes), badger (Meles meles), pine marten (Martes martes), polecat (Mustela putorius), mountain hare (Lepus timidus), brown hare (Lepus europaeus), and beaver (Castor fiber), as well as when and how these species are currently hunted. I am leading the program, which is funded by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency in preparation for the upcoming review of hunting seasons.

Environmental analysis

Successful multi-species management will require increased monitoring efforts using new technology, and methods adapted for more species than today. There is a clear need for close contacts between research, environmental monitoring and management. As deputy coordinator of the environmental assessment programme Wildlife at SLU, I strive for supporting management with cutting-edge knowledge on appropriate monitoring methods of wildlife populations and their effects on the landscape. The work largely consists of coordinating activities within SLU and between SLU and public authorities while acting as a catalyst; there are good synergies with my role as a collaboration lecturer in the subject Wildlife-Forests.  I see the development towards increased focus on citizen science as important for the development of the programme, and as an important part of democratization processes in wildlife management. 

I lead the environmental monitoring and assessment program Balanced Ungulate Populations, where we monitor ungulate populations and communities, forage availability and ungulate forage utilisation in twelve reference areas across a latitudinal gradient in Sweden. The project is funded by Forest Damage Centre at SLU.


In my role as senior lecturer with a special extension responsibilities, I try to increase the knowledge of relevant research results in management of wildlife and natural resources. In parallel, I communicate the expressed needs from the management to the research community. Success requires a large network of contacts and continuing communication both with researchers at SLU and with stakeholders in the form of public authorities, NGO:s and companies in relevant sectors. Furthermore, the public is, of course, an important target group. My area of responsibility is Wildlife-Forests, but the wildlife often inhabit multiple ecosystems. Parts of my work thus include both agricultural landscapes and aquatic environments. My main focus is on game, especially ungulates.


I have a background in evolutionary ecology and basic research, and received my PhD in 1995 in the subject of Animal Ecology at Uppsala University. My dissertation work was focused on understanding how lekking, where females visit aggregated, displaying males only for mating, could have arisen as a mating system. I did this using and developing different spatial distribution models, testing them with data from Ruffs, Philomachus pugnax.

After my dissertation, I was lecturing full-time in ecology and zoology at UU for a year, and then spent 1996-1998 at the Zoological Institute, NTNU, in Trondheim with a personal Marie Curie scholarship. I continued to work on reproductive strategies in Ruffs, and still followed the same populations on Gotland and in Norrbotten. After my post-doc, I got a four year assistant professorship from VR, with additional funds to form my own research group in my old department at UU. During 1999-2003, I continued to work on reproductive strategies in Ruffs, but I also started my own lab with lekking ‘picture-winged’ Drosophila grimshawi to be able to study similar research questions experimentally.

During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Ruff was the breeding bird species with the strongest negative development in Sweden. This was especially true on grazed shore meadows in southern Sweden, where I worked. This made me focus more and more on conservation biology in my research. At the same time, we acquired our own farm, which we farmed in Norduppland. This made me take a further interest in how land use in practice affects biodiversity in time and space.  Since the turn of the millennium, I have thus worked increasingly with applied issues in the borderland between research and management of biodiversity and natural resources.

I spent a couple of years as a research leader at the Swedish Biodiversity Centre at SLU, and evaluated, among other things, the Swedish research on biodiversity. Then I worked as a consultant to public authorities and NGO:s for a year, followed by 11 years at the Swedish Association for Hunting and  Wildlife Management (SAHWM) as wildlife manager, nature conservation strategist and finally Director of Science. Throughout my time at SAHWM, I was still affiliated with academia, first to UU until 2011 and then to SLU. During the period 2016-18, I had research as part of my position at SAHWM, mainly by conducting and leading research within the project Beyond moose. This project ran 2016-2022 and had a focus on multi-species and co-management of ungulates, agricultural land and forests.

Since 2019, I am back in academia full-time, and today mainly study how wildlife affects the landscape, and how our land use affects wildlife. I still do some research on Ruffs, but the bulk of my research today is on mammals. 

I find that my broad background with experience from both research and management gives me excellent opportunities to simultaneously do research, develop environmental monitoring and collaborate in co-creation and co-management of ecosystem services from wildlife and managed landscapes.


I am currently the main supervisor of two PhD students and co-supervisor of one PhD student. We are currently recruiting another PhD student, where I will be co-supervisor. I am also the main mentor for two postdocs. Previously, I have successfully supervised two PhD students as main supervisor and three as co-supervisor, as well as been main mentor for one postdoc in my research group and co-mentor for another postdoc.

Selected publications

Petersen, T.K, Kolstad, A. L., Kouki, J., Leroux, S.J., Potvin, L.R. , Tremblay, J.P., Wallgren, M., Widemo, F., Cromsigt, J.P.G.M, Courtois, C., Austrheim, G., Gosse, J., den Herder, M. Hermanutz, L. & J. D. M. Speed. 2023. Airborne laser scanning reveals uniform responses of forest structure to moose (Alces alces) across the boreal forest biome. Journal of Ecology 00: 1-15.

Widén, A., Cromsigt, J., Dressel, S., Felton, A., Singh, N. & F. Widemo. 2023. Direct and indirect effects of food, fear and management on crop damage by ungulates. Ecological Solutions and Evidence 2023: 4:e12266.

Spitzer, R., Coissac, E., Cromsigt, J.P.G.M., Felton, A.M., Fohringer, C., Landman, M., Neumann, W. Raubenheimer, D., Singh, N.J., Taberlet, P. & F. Widemo. 2023. Macro-nutritional balancing in a circumpolar boreal ruminant under winter conditions. Functional Ecology 00: 1-13. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.14296 .

Holmes, S.M., Dressel, S., Morel, J., Spitzer, R., Ball, J.P., Ericsson, G., Singh, N. J., Widemo, F., Cromsigt, J.P.G.M., & K. Danell. 2022. Increased summer temperature is associated with reduced calf mass of a circumpolar large mammal through direct thermoregulatory and indirect, food quality, pathways. Oecologia 201: 1123–1136. doi: 10.1007/s00442-023-05367-0

Neumann, W., Levers, C., Kuemmerle, T., Widemo, F., Singh, N.J. & J.P.G.M. Cromsigt. 2022. Mapping archetypical land-use associations between hunting, agriculture and forestry in Sweden. Ecology & Society, 27(1): 2.

Widén, A., Clinchy, M., Felton, A.M., Hofmeester, T.R., Kuijper, D.P.J., Singh, N.J., Widemo, F., Zanette, L.Y. & J.P.G.M. Cromsigt. 2022. Playbacks of predator vocalizations reduce crop damage by ungulates. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment, 328:107853.

Felton, A.M., Hedwall, P.O, Felton, A., Widemo, F., Wallgren, M., Holmström, E., Löfmarck, E. Malmsten, J. & H.K. Wam. 2022. Forage availability, supplementary food and ungulate density: Associations with ungulate damage in pine production forests. Forest Ecology & Management, 513-120187,

Spitzer, R., Coissac, E., Felton, A.M., Fohringer, C., Landman, M., Singh, N.J., Taberlet, P., Widemo, F. & J.P.G.M. Cromsigt. 2021. Small shrubs with large importance? Smaller deer may increase the moose-forestry conflict through feeding competition over Vaccinium shrubs in the field layer. Forest Ecology and Management 480 118768. R

Widemo, F. 2021. Shooting habits and habitats- effects of education and legislation on the phasing out of lead shot. Environmental Science & Policy 118: 56–62.

Holmes, S. Cromsigt, J.P.G.M., Danell, K., Ericsson G., Singh, N.J. & F. Widemo. 2021. Declining recruitment and mass of Swedish moose calves linked to extreme weather events. Global Ecology and Conservation, online 16 April 2021, e01594,

Pfeffer, S.E., Singh, N.J., Cromsigt, J.P.G.M., &  F. Widemo. 2021. Summer and winter browsing affect conifer growth differently: an experimental study in a multi-species ungulate community. Forest Ecology and Management 494: 119314.

Fabri, N.D., Sprong, H., Hofmeester, T. R., Heesterbeek, H., Donnars, B.F., Widemo, F., Ecke, F. & J.P.G.M. Cromsigt. Wild ungulate species differ in their contribution to tick-borne pathogen transmission. Parasites and Vectors 14:360.

Edenius, L., Månsson, J., Jansson, G., Dahl, F. & F. Widemo. 2019. Referensområden som verktyg för viltförvaltningsunderlag. Revidering av FAKTA SKOG  Nr 18, 2011.

Widemo, F., Elmhagen, B. & N. Liljebäck. 2019. Viltets ekosystemtjänster- en kunskapssammanställning till stöd för värdering och förvaltning. 163 sidor. Naturvårdsverkets rapportserie.

Widemo, F. 2021. Urban viltförvaltning- kommunala behov och åtgärder för att begränsa viltrelaterade problem. Rapport 2021: 7, Institutionen för vilt, fisk & miljö, SLU.

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