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Gustaf Egnell

Gustaf Egnell
I do research, teaching, and extension about long-term sustainability issues on biomass for energy from conventional long-rotation forestry with main focus on forest production and carbon balance.


My research, teaching and extension falls within the field of bioenergy from conventional forestry, with main focus on effects of more intensive biomass harvest regimes -  i.e. harvest of small diameter trees, logging residues, and stumps for energy purposes - on long-term site productivity. Part of that story includes the potential need to compensate for nutrient losses (soil buffering capacity loss) following more intense harvest regimes as recommended by the Swedish Forest Agency, that recommends ash recycling after harvest of the nutrient rich branches and tops. My approach is applied and I follow the development of the stand in a number of long-term field experiments where small diameter trees, logging residues, and stumps have been removed and/or where the nutrient loss has been compensated for with wood-ash or NPK-fertilizers. Recently I have focused more on the potential of the young, nitrogen limited soils in boreal and temperate Sweden, to compensate for loss of mineral nutrients and buffering capacity through weathering, and the carbon balance (greenhouse gas benefits), when biomass from long-rotation forestry is used for energy purposes.

Selected publications


Becs, A., Bergstrom, D., Egnell, G., & Pommerening, A. (2024). How do different thinning methods influence spatial tree diversity in mixed forest stands of planted Norway spruce (Picea abies L.) and naturally regenerated birch (Betula spp.) in southern Sweden? Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 

Öquist, M. G., He, H., Bortolazzi, A., Nilsson, M. B., Rodeghiero, M., Tognetti, R., Ventura, M., & Egnell, G. (2024). Nitrogen fertilization increases N2O emission but does not offset the reduced radiative forcing caused by the increased carbon uptake in boreal forests. Forest Ecology and Management, 556, 121739.

Högberg, P., Lucas, R. W., Högberg, M. N., Skyllberg, U., Egnell, G., Larson, J., & Binkley, D. (2024). What happens to trees and soils during five decades of experimental nitrogen loading? Forest Ecology and Management, 553, 121644. 

Ekholm, A., Lundqvist, L., Petter Axelsson, E., Egnell, G., Hjältén, J., Lundmark, T., & Sjögren, J. (2023). Long-term yield and biodiversity in stands managed with the selection system and the rotation forestry system: A qualitative review. Forest Ecology and Management, 537, 120920.

Petersson, H., Ellison, D., Appiah Mensah, A., Berndes, G., Egnell, G., Lundblad, M., Lundmark, T., Lundström, A., Stendahl, J., Wikberg, P-E (2022). On the role of forests and the forest sector for climate change mitigation in Sweden. GCB Bioenergy, 00, 1– 21. 

Cowie, A.L., Berndes, G., Bentsen, N.S., Brandão, M., Cherubini, F., Egnell, G. et al. 2021 Applying a science-based systems perspective to dispel misconceptions about climate effects of forest bioenergy. GCB Bioenergy, n/a (n/a).

Jurevics A, Peichl M & Egnell G. 2018. Stem volume production in the subsequent stand during four decades remains unaffected by slash and stump harvest in Nordic forests. Forests 9(12), 770.

Guedes B S., Olsson B A., Sitoe A A. and Egnell, G. 2018. Net primary production in plantations of Pinus taeda and Eucalyptus cloeziana compared with a mountain miombo woodland in Mozambique. Global Ecology and Conservation 15: e00414.

Guedes B S., Olsson B A., Egnell, G., Sitoe A A. and Karltun, E. 2018. Plantations of Pinus and Eucalyptus replacing degraded mountain miombo forests in Mozambique significantly increase carbon sequestration. Global Ecology and Conservation 14: e00401. 

Persson T. and Egnell G. 2018. Stump harvesting for bioenergy: A review of climatic and environmental impacts in northern Europe and America. WIREs Energy and Environment 7 (6): e307.

Ranius T. Hämäläinen A. Egnell G. Olsson B. Eklöf K. Stendahl J. Rudolphi J. Sténs A. Felton A. 2018. The effects of logging residue extraction for energy on ecosystem services and biodiversity: a synthesis. Journal of Environmental Management 209: 409-425.

Virginia H. Dale, Keith L Kline, Esther S. Parish, Annette L. Cowie, Robert Emory, Robert W. Malmsheimer, Raphael Slade, C.T. (Tat) Smith, T. Bentley Wigley, Niclas Scott Bentsen, Göran Berndes, Pierre Bernier, Miguel Brandão, Helena Chum, Rocio Diaz-Chavez, Gustaf Egnell, Leif Gustavsson, Jörg Schweinle, Inge Stupak, Paul Trianosky, Arnaldo Walter, Carly Whittaker, Mark Brown, George Chescheir, Ioannis Dimitriou, Caspar Donnison, Alison Goss Eng, Kevin P. Hoyt, Jennifer C. Jenkins, Kristen Johnson, Charles A. Levesque, Victoria Lockhart, M. Cristina Negri, Jami E. Nettles, and Maria Wellisch, 2017. Status and prospects for renewable energy using wood pellets from the southeastern United States. GCB Bioenergy 9: 1296-1305. 

Ghaffariyan M R, Brown M, Acuna M, Sessions J, Gallagher T, Kühmaier M, Spinelli R, Visser R, Devlin G, Eliasson L, Laitila J, Laina R, Iwarsson Wide M, Egnell G, 2017. An international review of most productive and cost effective biomass recovery technologies and supply chains in forest operations. Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews 74: 145-158.

Cintas O, Berndes G, Cowie A L, Egnell G, Holmström H, Marland G, Ågren G I. 2017. Carbon balances of bioenergy systems using biomass from forests managed with long rotations: Bridging the gap between stand and landscape assessments. GCB Bioenergy 9: 1238-1251. 

Elfving B, Ahnlund Ulvcrona K, Egnell G. 2017. Biomass equations for lodgepole pine in northern Sweden. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 47 (1): 89-96

de Jong J, Akselsson C, Egnell G, Löfgren, S, Olsson B A. 2017. Sustanability of increased forest biomass harvest from a Swedish perspective – Preface. Forest Ecology and Management, Special issue 383: 3-16

Egnell G. 2017. A review of Nordic trials studying effects of biomass harvest intensity on subsequent forest production. Forest Ecology and Management, Special issue 383: 27-36

Cintas O, Berndes G, Hansson J, Poudel B C, Bergh J, Börjesson P, Egnell G, Lundmark T, Nordin A. 2017. The potential role of forest management in Swedish scenarios towards climate neutrality by mid century. Forest Ecology and Management, Special issue 383: 73-84

de Jong J, Akselsson C, Egnell G, Löfgren, S, Olsson B A. 2017. Realizing the energy potential of forest biomass in Sweden - how much is environmentally sustainable?
Forest Ecology and Management, Special issue 383: 3-16

Egnell G. 2016. Effects of slash and stump harvesting after final felling on stand and site productivity in Scots pine and Norway spruce. Forest Ecology and Management, Special issue 371: 42-49

Jurevics A, Peichl M, Olsson B A, Strömgren M, & Egnell G. 2016. Slash and stump harvest have no general impact on soil and tree biomass C pools after 32–39 years. Forest Ecology and Management, Special issue 371: 33-41

Laudon H, Kuglerova´ L, Sponseller R A, Futter M, Nordin A, Bishop K, Lundmark T, Egnell G, Ågren A M. 2016. The role of biogeochemical hotspots, landscape heterogeneity, and hydrological connectivity for minimizing forestry effects on water quality. AMBIO 45(2): 152-162

Cintas O, Berndes G, Cowie A, Egnell G, ‎Holmström, H & Ågren G I. 2016. The climate effect of increased forest bioenergy use in Sweden: evaluation at different spatial and temporal scales. WIREs Energy Environ 5 (3): 351-369.

Egnell G & Ahnlund Ulvcrona K. 2015. Stand productivity following whole-tree harvesting in early thinning of Scots pine stands in Sweden. Forest Ecology and Management 340: 40-45

Egnell G, Jurevics A & Peichl M, 2015. Negative effects of stem and stump harvest and deep soil cultivation on the soil carbon and nitrogen pools are mitigated by enhanced tree growth. Forest Ecology and Management 338: 57-67

Högberg M N, Blaško R, Holm Bach L, Hasselquist N J, Egnell G, Näsholm T & Högberg P, 2014. The return of an experimentally N-saturated boreal forest to an N-limited state: observations on the soil microbial community structure, biotic N retention capacity and gross N mineralisation. Plant and Soil 381, 45-60.

Strömgren M, Egnell G & Olsson B, 2013. Carbon stocks in four forest stands in Sweden 25 years after harvesting of slash and stumps. Forest Ecology and Management 290: 59-66.

Lattimore B, Smíth CT, Titus BD, Stupak I & Egnell G, 2013. Woodfuel Harvesting: a Review of Environmental Risks, Criteria and Indicators and Certification Standards for Environmental Sustainability. Journal of Sustainable Forestry 32: 58-88.

Egnell G & Björheden R, 2013. Options for increasing biomass output from long-rotation forestry. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment 2: 465-472.

Egnell G, 2011. Is the productivity decline in Norway spruce following whole-tree harvesting in the final felling in boreal Sweden permanent or temporary? Forest Ecology and Management 261: 148-153.

Egnell G, Laudon H & Rosvall O, 2011. Perspectives on the Potential Contribution of Swedish Forests to Renewable Energy Targets in Europe. Forests 2: 578-589.

Klaminder J, Lucas RW, Futter MN, Bishop KH, Kohler SJ, Egnell G & Laudon H, 2011. Silicate mineral weathering rate estimates: are they precise enough to be useful when predicting the recovery of nutrient pools after harvesting? Forest Ecology and Management 261: 1-9.

Laudon H, Sponseller RA, Lucas RW, Futter MN, Egnell G, Bishop K, Ågren A, Ring E & Högberg P, 2011. Consequences of more intensive forestry for the sustainable management of forest soils and waters. Forests 2: 243-260.

Lucas RW, Klaminder J, Futter MN, Bishop KH, Egnell G, Laudon H & Högberg P, 2011. A meta-analysis of the effects of nitrogen additions on base cations: implications for plants, soils, and streams. Forest Ecology and Management 262: 95-104.

Melin Y, Petersson H & Egnell G, 2010. Assessing carbon balance trade-offs between bioenergy and carbon sequestration of stumps at varying time scales and harvest intensities. Forest Ecology and Management 260: 536-542.

Lattimore B, Smith CT, Titus BD, Stupak I & Egnell G, 2009. Environmental factors in woodfuel production: Opportunities, risks, and criteria and indicators for sustainable practices. Biomass & Bioenergy 33: 1321-1342.

Högberg, P., Arnesson Ceder, L., Astrup, R., Binkley, D., Bright R., Dalsgaard L., Egnell, G., Filipchuk, A., Genet, H., Ilintsev, A., Kurz, W. A., Laganière, J., Lemprière, T., Lundblad, M., Lundmark, T., Mäkipää, R., Malysheva, N., Mohr, C. W., Nordin, A., Petersson, H., Repo, A., Schepaschenko, D., Shvidenko, A., Soegaard, G., Kraxner, F. 2021. Sustainable boreal forest management – challenges and opportunities for climate change mitigation. Report from an Insight Process conducted by a team appointed by the International Boreal Forest Research Association (IBFRA). Swedish Forest Agency Report No. 11 (2021). ISBN 978-91-986297-3-6.

Anerud, E., Krigstin, S., Routa, J., Brännström, H., Arshadi, M., Helmeste, C., Bergström, D., Egnell, G. 2019. Dry matter losses during biomass storage - Measures to minimize feedstock degradation. IEA Bioenergy, Task 43 Technical report 2019:xx.

Berndes, G., Bergh, J., Cowie, A., Egnell, G., Hetemäki, L., Kauppi, P., Khanna, M., Kurz, W., Lindner, M., Lundmark, T., Nabuurs, G.-J., Sims, R., Solberg, B. (2018). Forests, bioenergy and climate change mitigation: are the worries justified? Open Letter available at European Forest Institute.

Egnell, G., Ahlgren, S. & Berndes, G. 2018. Bioenergy Systems in Sweden – Climate impacts, market implications, and overall sustainability. ER 2018:23. The Swedish Energy Agency, Eskilstuna, Sweden.

Persson, T., Egnell, G., Lithell, C. (editors) 2017. Stump harvesting -
impact on climate and environment. IEA Bioenergy Task43 TR2017:02

Göran Berndes, Bob Abt, Antti Asikainen, Annette Cowie, Virginia Dale, Gustaf Egnell, Marcus Lindner, Luisa Marelli, David Paré, Kim Pingoud and Sonia Yeh. 2016. Forest biomass, carbon neutrality and climate change mitigation. Think Forest briefs. European Forest Institute.

Göran Berndes, Bob Abt, Antti Asikainen, Annette Cowie, Virginia Dale, Gustaf Egnell, Marcus Lindner, Luisa Marelli, David Paré, Kim Pingoud and Sonia Yeh. 2016. Forest biomass, carbon neutrality and climate change mitigation. From Science to Policy 3. European Forest Institute.

Gustaf Egnell, David Paré, Evelyne Thiffault, Patrick Lamers 2016. Environmental Sustainability Aspects of Forest Biomass Mobilisation. In: Thiffault, Berndes, Junginger, Saddler, Smith (Eds). Mobilisation of Forest Bioenergy in the Boreal and Temperate Biomes, Challenges, Opportunities and Case Studies.  Academic Press, eBook ISBN: 9780128096895. pp 51-67

Smith C T., 2015. Mobilizing Sustainable Bioenergy Supply Chains - Inter-Task Project Synthesis Report. IEA Bioenergy ExCo Report 2015:4

Pelkonen P, Mustonen M, Asikainen A, Egnell G, Kant P, Leduc S & Petenella D (Eds) 2014. Forest Bioenergy for Europe. What Science Can Tell Us 4. European Forest Institute. ISBN: 978-952-5980-11-0 (pdf); 978-952-5980-10-3 (printed).

Diana Tuomasjukka, Joanne Fitzgerald, Michael den Herder, Marcus Lindner (EFI), Sirpa Piirainen, Johanna Routa (Metla), Gustaf Egnell, Torgny Lind, Ola Lindroos (SLU), 2014. Impact Assessment on Carbon dynamics, forest growth and productivity, water quality, and biodiversity – D5.2. Report from the EU-project INFRES (Innovative and effective technology and logistics for forest residual biomass supply in the EU (311881)).

de Jong J, Akselsson C, Berglund H, Egnell G, Gerhardt K, Lönnberg L, Olsson B & von Stedingk H. 2014. Consequenses of an increased extraction of forest biofuel in Sweden - A synthesis from the biofuel research program 2007-2011. Summary of synthesis report. IEA Task 43 Technical Report 2014:01 or ER 2014:09. Swedish Energy Agency, Eskilstuna. ISSN 1403-1892.

Egnell G, 2013. Forest biomass for energy and sustainable management of forest soils – what do we need to know? In Helmisaari, H-S. & Vanguelova, E. (eds.). 2013. Proceedings of the Workshop W6.1 Forest bioenergy and soil sustainability at EUROSOIL Congress 2nd July to 6th July 2012, Bari, Italy. 72 p.   

Egnell G & Börjesson P, 2012. Theoretical versus market available supply of biomass for energy from long-rotation forestry and agriculture – Swedish experiences. IEA Bioenergy, Task 43 Technical Report 2012:02.

The European Forest Sector Outlook Study II 2010-2030, 2011 . United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, Geneva. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome. 

Jonsson R, Egnell G & Baudin A, 2011. Swedish Forest Sector Outlook Study. Geneva Timber and Forest Discussion Paper 58 . United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, Geneva. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome.

FAO Forestry Paper 160 2010. Criteria and indicators for sustainable woodfuels. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome 2010


Researcher at the Department of Forest Ecology and Management; Department of Forest Ecology and Management, joint staff
Telephone: +46907868455, +46703427586
Postal address:
Skogens ekologi och skötsel
901 83 Umeå
Visiting address: Skogsmarksgränd 17, Umeå