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Ishi Buffam

Ishi Buffam
Researcher and teacher in ecosystem ecology.


I am an Ecosystem Ecologist, with a PhD in Forest Ecology from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).  My training is in aquatic chemistry and biogeochemistry, with a primary focus on carbon and nitrogen transformations and hydrological transport within watersheds and stream networks.


I have designed and taught courses in Ecosystem Ecology, Aquatic Ecology, Stream Ecosystems, Water Resources, and Global Change. Currently, at SLU I teach courses on Climate Change and Challenges of the City.


My group’s current research projects involve:  climate change and freshwater ecosystem carbon cycling, biogeochemistry of urban aquatic ecosystems, and ecosystem services provided by urban green spaces. Many of our current projects are centered around quantifying ecosystem services and potential disservices associated with green (vegetated) roofs. Green roofs are known to intercept and reduce runoff during rain events, to reduce the urban heat island effect, and to function as good insulators thus saving heating/cooling energy. But, little is known about the direct biogeochemical functions of green roofs, for example: What capacity do green roofs have for carbon sequestration, nutrient retention, or greenhouse gas exchange? Or, do they function as a source of nutrients and greenhouse gases, and if so – how can they be designed to minimize these dis-services? And, what are the key climate, geophysical, and biological factors that control nutrient cycling in these novel urban ecosystems?

Selected publications

For a full list see: Ishi Buffam on ResearchGate

Hintz C.L., Booth M.T., Newcomer-Johnson T.A., Fritz K.M., and I. Buffam. 2022. Urban buried streams: Abrupt transitions in habitat and biodiversity. Sci Total Environ. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.153050

Buffam, I., K. Bishop and H. Laudon. 2021. Influence of the landscape template on chemical and physical habitat for brown trout within a boreal stream network. Frontiers in Water. doi: 10.3389/frwa.2021.683070

Mitchell, M.E., T. Emilsson, and I. Buffam. 2021. Carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus variation along a green roof chronosequence: implications for green roof ecosystem development. Ecological Engineering 164: 106211. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2021.106211

Buffam, I. and O. Starry. 2020. Overview: The role of spatial heterogeneity in shaping green roof ecosystems. Journal of Living Architecture, 7(2): 1-4. doi: 10.46534/jliv.2020.07.02.001.

Li, M.P., S. Steele and I. Buffam. 2020. Effects of heterogeneity in solar exposure and soil moisture on the distribution of green roof plant functional groups. Journal of Living Architecture, 7(2): 40-61. doi: 10.46534/jliv.2020.07.02.040.

Bousselot, J., V. Russell, L. Tolderlund, S. Celik, B. Retzlaff, S. Morgan, I. Buffam, R. Coffman, J. Williams, M.E. Mitchell, J. Backer, J. DeSpain. 2020. Green Roof Research in North America: A Recent History and Future Strategies. Journal of Living Architecture 7(1): 27-64. doi: 10.46534/jliv.2020.07.01.027.

Berberich, M., J.J. Beaulieu, T.L. Hamilton, S. Waldo and I. Buffam. 2019. Spatial variability of sediment methane production and methanogen communities within a eutrophic reservoir: importance of organic matter source and quantity. Limnology and Oceanography. doi: 10.1002/lno.11392.

Mitchell, M.E., T. Hamilton, C. Uebel, K. Hopfensperger, and I. Buffam. 2018. Nitrogen cycling players and processes in green roof ecosystems. Applied Soil Ecology. doi: 10.​1016/​j.​apsoil.​2018.​08.​007.

Alberts, J.M., K.M. Fritz, and I. Buffam. 2018. Response to basal resources by stream macroinvertebrates is shaped by watershed urbanization, riparian canopy cover, and season. Freshwater Science 37(3). doi: 10.1086/699385.

Tiwari, T., I. Buffam, R.A. Sponseller, and H. Laudon. 2017. Inferring scale-dependent processes influencing stream water chemistry from headwater to Sea. Limnology and Oceanography. doi: 10.1002/lno.10738.

Alberts, J.M., J.J. Beaulieu and I. Buffam. 2017. Watershed Land-use and Seasonal Variation Constrain the Influence of Riparian Canopy Cover on Stream Ecosystem Metabolism. Ecosystems 20(3): 553-567, doi: 10.1007/s10021-016-0040-9.

Buffam, I., M.E. Mitchell, and R.D. Durtsche. 2016. Environmental drivers of seasonal variation in green roof runoff water quality. Ecological Engineering 91: 506-514, doi: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2016.02.044.

Johnson, C.A., S. Schweinhart and I. Buffam. 2016. Plant species richness enhances nitrogen retention in green roof plots. Ecological Applications, doi: 10.1890/15-1850.1.

Buffam, I. and M.E. Mitchell. 2015. Nutrient cycling in green roof ecosystems. Chapter 5 in R. Sutton, ed. Green Roof Ecosystems, p. 107-137, Springer, New York, doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-14983-7_5.

Wallin, M.B., T. Grabs, I. Buffam, H. Laudon, A. Ågren, M.G. Öquist, and K.H. Bishop. 2013. Evasion of CO2 from headwater streams – The dominant component of the carbon export through the aquatic conduit in a boreal landscape. Global Change Biology 19: 785-797. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12083.

Mooney-Bullock, R., I. Buffam, and M. Bolan. 2012. Urban learning laboratory features four educational, monitored green roofs. Cities Alive Conference Proceedings, 10 pp.

Buffam, I., M.G. Turner, A.R. Desai, P.C. Hanson, J.A. Rusak, N.R. Lottig, E.H. Stanley and S.R. Carpenter. 2011. Integrating aquatic and terrestrial components to construct a complete carbon budget for a north temperate lake district. Global Change Biology 17: 1193-1211. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2010.02313.x.

Laudon, H., M. Berggren, A. Ågren, I. Buffam, K. Bishop, T. Grabs, M. Jansson, and S. Köhler. 2011. Patterns and dynamics of Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC) in boreal streams: The role of processes, connectivity and scaling. Ecosystems 14: 880-893, doi:10.1007/s10021-011-9452-8.

Buffam, I., S. R. Carpenter, W. Yeck, P. C. Hanson, and M. G. Turner. 2010. Filling holes in regional carbon budgets: predicting peat depth in a north-temperate lake district. Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences 115: G01005, doi:10.1029/2009JG001034.

Bishop, K., I. Buffam, M. Erlandsson, J. Fölster, H. Laudon, and J. Temnerud. 2008. Aqua Incognita: The Unknown Headwaters. Hydrological Processes 22: 1239-1242.

Buffam, I., H. Laudon, J. Seibert, C.-M. Mörth and K. Bishop. 2008. Spatial heterogeneity of the spring flood acid pulse in a boreal stream network. Science Of The Total Environment: doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2008.10.006.

Köhler, S., I. Buffam, H. Laudon and K. Bishop. 2008. Climate's control of intra-annual and interannual variability of total organic carbon concentration and flux in two contrasting boreal landscape elements. Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences 113: G03012, doi:10.1029/2007JG000629.

Nilsson, M., J. Sagerfors, I. Buffam, H. Laudon, T. Eriksson, A. Grelle, L. Klemedtsson, P. Weslien, and A. Lindroth. 2008. Contemporary carbon accumulation in a boreal oligotrophic minerogenic mire - a significant sink after accounting for all C-fluxes. Global Change Biology 14: 2317-2332.

Buffam I., H. Laudon, J. Temnerud, C.-M. Mörth, and K. Bishop. 2007. Landscape-scale variability of acidity and dissolved organic carbon during spring flood in a boreal stream network. Journal of Geophysical Research 112: G01022, doi:10.1029/2006JG000218.


Senior Lecturer at the Department of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management
Postal address:
Box 190
234 22 Lomma
Visiting address: Slottsvägen 5, Alnarp, Alnarp