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Joakim Hjältén

Joakim Hjältén
Professor in Animal Ecology. Founder and coordinator of the Restoration Ecology research group at SLU Primary research interest: • Plant-herbivore interactions • Sustainable forest use • Conservation biology • Restoration ecology in policy and practice • Ecological risks and benefits with GM trees • Chemical ecology • Insect ecology


I am an experimental ecologist with a focus on conservation biology, restoration ecology, biodiversity offsets, plant-herbivore interaction, chemical ecology, community and population ecology. More specifically, I focus on evaluating and developing cost-efficient restoration methods for degraded habitats aimed at promoting species biodiversity. I also compare the benefits and risks with traditional and future forestry (e.g. the use of GM trees, ecological consequences of intensified forestry practices and bioenergy harvest). Throughout my career I have also studied various aspects of plant-herbivore interaction in various places on the globe. My research findings are highly relevant for addressing questions related to the balance of multiple goals (e.g., of forest production and species conservation) in forest management.   


Current research projects

2018. The importance of green infrastructure for biodiversity of deadwood-dependent insects and fungi. Lammska stiftelsen (4 year PhD grant 2 200 000SEK)

2018. Translocation of dead wood substrates and associated species to modernize restoration and biodiversity offsets. Boliden and SLU, 8 year grant, for a PhD-student and running costs, total 3200 000SEK (50% from Boliden).

2018. Effekt 20 - utvärdering av naturvårdshänsyn i Ecoparkerna genom att analysera samhällen av skalbaggar och steklar. Sveaskog and WWF, 2 year project, total 1074 135SEK (Facilitator, main applicant A-M Hekkala).

2018. Effekter av blädning, samt gödsling och blädning, på biologisk mångfald, tillgång på död ved och föryngring av trädplantor. Swedish Forest Agency, 2 year project total 700 000SEK (co-applicant, main applicant Tomas Lundmark).

2017. Response of bryophytes and wood fungi to forest restoration by burning and gap cutting of voluntary set-asides. Carl Tryggers Stiftelse (2 year grant total 452 000Sek)

2017. To balance competing use of the forest: timber production, hunting and biodiversity conservation. Formas (3 year grant total 3 000 000Sek). Co-applicant, main applicant A. Hof.

2016. Long-term landscape effects of biofuel extraction on biodiversity. The Swedish Energy Agency (2 year grant 1 500 000Sek).

2016. Afterlife of GM trees: the response of saproxylic organisms to dead wood from GM trees. Formas (3 year grant total 3 000 000Sek)

2016. Uneven-aged forest management and declining bird species: Does one (tree) size fit all? Formas (3 year grant total 2 997 000sek), co-applicant, main applicant Jean-Michel Roberge.

2015. Forest restoration and the risk for pest outbreaks. The Kempe foundation (700 000Sek).

2014. Stubbrytning - en avvägning mellan ekonomi och biodiversitet. Ångpanneföreningen (500 000Sek) co-applicant, main applicant J. Andersson.



Supervision PhD students                                                             Examination year


1. Martijn Versluijs (1). Main supervisor                                       Planned 2019

2. Klara Joelsson. Main supervisor.                                                2017

3. Rory Hägglund. Main supervisor.                                               2016

4. Andreas Tiselius. Deputy supervisor.                                         2016

5. Eliza Hasselquist. Deputy supervisor.                                         2015

6. David Bell. (Licentiate) Main supervisor.                                   2015

7. David Tingström. (Licentiate). Main supervisor.                       2012

8. Jon Andersson. Main supervisor.                                                 2012

9. Petter Axelsson. Main supervisor.                                               2011

10. Fredrik Stenbacka. Main supervisor.                                         2009

11. Patrik Blomberg. Deputy supervisor.                                         2007

12. Therese Johansson. Main supervisor.                                        2006

13. Gert Olsson (1).  Main supervisor.                                              2003

14. Mats Nilson (Licentiate). Main supervisor.                               2002

15. Per Hallgren. Main supervisor.                                                  2002

16. Benedicte Albrectsen (1). Main supervisor.                              2000 

(1) initially assistant supervisor 
Mentorship post-doctoral fellows                                                    Duration


1. Miguel Montoro Girona                                                            2017-2019
2. Andreas Karlsson Tiselius                                                        2017-2018
3. Anne-Maarit Hekkala                                                               2016-2017
4. Simon Kärvemo                                                                         2015-2016
5. Anouchka Hof 24 months                                                         2011-2015
5. Torbjörn Josefsson 24 months                                                 2011-2013
6. Jörgen Olsson, 24 months                                                         2010-2012
7. Mats Dynesius, 24 months                                                        2006-2008
8. Jacek Hilszanzki, 12 months                                                      2004
9. Heloise Gibb, 24 months                                                            2003-2004


Selected publications

SCIENTIFIC PUBLICATIONS in refereed journals (last six years). Total number of citation 2 November 2018: 3806, h-index 36, I10 index 81 according to Google scholar:


105. Versluijs M, Hjältén J, Roberge J-M. 2019. The effect of forest restoration on biodiversity indicators in boreal forests. Ecological Indicators 98:104-111.

104. Hof A, Löfroth T, Rudolphi J, Work T, Hjältén J. 2018. Simulating long-term effects off bioenergy extraction on dead wood availability at a landscape scale. Forest 9, 457; doi:10.3390/f9080457

103. Hägglund R and Hjältén J. 2018. Substrate specific restoration promotes saproxylic beetle diversity in boreal forest set-asides Forest Ecology and Management 425: 45-58.

102. Joelsson K, Hjältén J, Gibb H. 2018. Forest management strategy history affects saproxylic beetle assemblages: a comparison of even and uneven-aged silviculture using direct and indirect sampling. Plos ONE. 13(4): e0194905.https://doi. org/10.1371/journal.pone.0194905

101. Hof A. and Hjältén J. 2017. Are we restoring enough? Simulating the impacts of climate change, management and restoration practices on a boreal forest ecosystem to assess the future habitat suitability for a locally threatened species (Early view Restoration Ecology).

100. Joelsson K, Hjältén J, Work T, 2018, Uneven-aged forest management can enhance within stand heterogeneity - harvest trails harbor different beetle assemblages than retention strips. Journal of Environmental Management 205: 1-8.

99. Hjältén J, Joelsson K, Gibb H, Work T, Johansson T, Roberge J-M. 2017. Biodiversity benefits for saproxylic beetles with uneven-aged silviculture. Forest Ecology and Management 402: 32-50.

98. Versluis M, Eggers S, Hjältén J, Löfroth T and Roberge J-M 2017. Ecological restoration in boreal forest modifies the structure of bird assemblages. Forest Ecology and Management 401-75-88

97. Joelsson K, Hjältén J, Work T, Gibb H, Roberge J-M, Johansson T. 2017. Uneven-aged silviculture can reduce negative effects of forest management on beetles. Forest Ecology and Management 391: 436-445

96.Hjältén J, Hägglund R, Johansson T, Roberge J-M, Dynesius M and Olsson J. 2017. Forest restoration by burning and gap cutting yield distinct immediate effects on saproxylic beetles. Biological Conservation 26:1623-1640. DOI 10.1007/s10531-017-1321-0

95. Kärvemo S, Björkman C, Johansson T, Weslien J, Hjältén J. 2017. Forest restoration as a double-edged sword: the conflict between biodiversity conservation and pest control. Journal of Applied Ecology 54: 1658-1668

94. Johansson T, Gibb H, Dynesius M, Hjältén J. 2017. Soil humidity, potential solar radiation and altitude affect boreal beetle assemblages in dead wood. Biological Conservation 209C: 107-118

93. Andersson J, Dynesius M, Hjältén J. 2016. Short-term response to stump harvesting by the ground flora in boreal clear-cuts. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research (in press).

92. Hjältén J, Nilsson C, Jörgensen D, Bell D. 2016. Forest‒Stream Linkages, Anthropogenic Stressors and Climate Change: Implications for Restoration Planning. Bioscience 66: 646–654

91. Work T, Andersson J, Ranius T, Hjältén J. 2016. Defining stump harvesting retention targets required to maintain saproxylic beetle biodiversity. Forest Ecology and Management 371: 90–102

90. Johansson T, Hjältén J, Olsson J, Dynesius M, Roberge JM. 2016. Long-term effects of clear-cutting on epigaeic beetle assemblages in boreal forests. Forest Ecology and Management 359: 65-73

89. Felton, A., Gustafsson, L., Roberge, J-M., Ranius, T., Hjältén, J., Rudolphi, J., Lindbladh, M., Weslien, J., Rist, L., Brunet, J., Felton, A.M. 2016. How climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies can threaten or enhance the biodiversity of production forests: Insights from Sweden. Biological Conservation 194: 11-20.

88. Hägglund R. Hekkala A-M, Hjältén J. et al. 2015. Positives effects of ecological restoration on rare and threatened flat bugs (Heteroptera: Aradidae). Journal of Insect Conservation 19:1089–1099, DOI 10.1007/s10841-015-9824-z

87. Bell D, Hjältén J, Jørgensen D, Nilsson C and Johansson T. 2015. Saproxylic beetles benefit from forest restoration the white-backed woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucotos) Ecosphere 6(12):278. 1890/ES14-00551.1

86. Hjältén J and Axelsson EP 2015. GM trees with increased resistance to herbivores: trait efficiency and their potential to promote tree growth. Frontiers in Plant Science 6-279.

85. Lindberg E. Roberge J-M, Johansson T, Hjältén J, 2015. Can airborne laser scanning (ALS) and satellite images be used to predict abundance and species richness of birds and beetles in boreal forest? Remote Sensing 7: 4233-4252.

84. Andersson J, Hjältén J, Dynesius M. 2015. Wood-Inhabiting Beetles in Low Stumps, High Stumps and Logs on Boreal Clear-Cuts: Implications for Dead Wood Management. PLoS ONE 10(3): e0118896. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0118896.

83. Scogings P, Hattas D, Skarpe C, Hjältén J, Dziba L, Zobolo A, Rooke T, 2015. Seasonal variations in nutrients and secondary metabolites in semi-arid savannas depend on year and species. Journal of Arid Environments 114:54-61.  

82. Eliza Maher Hasselquist, Christer Nilsson, Joakim Hjältén, Dolly Jørgensen, Lovisa Lind and Lina E. Polvi 2015. Time for recovery of riparian plants in restored northern Swedish streams: a chronosequence study. Ecological Applications 25: 1373-1389

81. Gustafsson L, Felton A, Felton A, Brunet J, Caruso J. Hjältén J, Lindbladh M, Ranius T, Roberge J-M, and Weslien J. 2015. Natural versus national boundaries: The importance of considering biogeographical patterns in forest conservation policy. Conservation Letters 8(1), 50–57

80. Geijer, E., Andersson J., Bostedt, G., Brännlund, R., Hjältén J. 2014. Safeguarding species richness vs. increasing the use of renewable energy—The effect of stump harvesting on two environmental goals. Journal of Forest Economics 20: 111-125

79. Scogings PF, Hjältén J, Skarpe C, Hattas D, Zobolo, A, Dziba L, and Rooke T. 2014. Nutrient and secondary metabolite concentrations in a savanna are independently affected by large herbivores and shoot growth rate. Plant Ecology 215:73-82.

78. Dolly Jørgensen, Christer Nilsson, Anouschka R. Hof, Eliza M. Hasselquist, Susan Baker, F. Stuart Chapin III, Katarina Eckerberg, Joakim Hjältén, Lina Polvi, and Laura A. Meyerson 2014. Policy language in restoration ecology. Restoration Ecology 22: 1–4.

77. Gibb, H, Johansson, T, Stenbacka, F, Hjältén, J. 2013. Functional roles affect diversity-succession relationships for boreal beetles. PLoS ONE 8(8): e72764. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072764.

76. Hjältén J, Axelsson EP, Julkunen-Tiitto R, Wennström A, Pilate G. 2013. Innate and introduced resistance traits in genetically modified aspen trees and their effect on leaf beetle feeding. PLoS ONE 8(9): e73819. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0073819.

75. Johansson T, Hjältén J, de Jong J, och von Stedingk H, 2013. Environmental considerations in managed stands: a review of their importance for biodiversity. Forest Ecology and Management 303: 98–112.

74. Angelstam P, Roberge J-M, Axelsson R, Elbakidze M, Bergman K-O, Dahlberg A, Degerman E, Eggers S, Esseen P-A, Hjältén J, Johansson J, Müller J, Paltto H, Soloviy I, Snäll T, Törnblom J. 2013. Evidence-based versus negotiated knowledge for assessment of ecological sustainability: the Swedish Forest Stewardship Council standard as a case study. AMBIO 42:229–240

73. Scogings, P.F., Hjältén, J. & Skarpe, C. 2013. Does large herbivore removal affect secondary metabolites, nutrients and growth in woody species in semi-arid savannas? Journal of Arid Environments 88: 4-8.

72. Olsson, J., Johansson, T., Jonsson, BG and Hjältén, J., Edman, M. and Ericson, L. 2012. Landscape and substrate properties affect species richness and community composition of saproxylic beetles. Forest Ecology and Management 286: 108–120.

71. Hjältén, J., Stenbacka, F., Pettersson, R., Gibb, H., Johansson, T., Danell, K., Ball, J. P. and Hilszczański, J. 2012 Micro and macro-habitat associations in saproxylic beetles: implications for biodiversity management. PLoS ONE 7(7): e41100. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0041100.

70. Axelsson PE, Hjältén J. 2012. Tolerance and growth responses of populus hybrids and their genetically modified varieties to simulated leaf damage and harvest. Forest Ecology and Management 276: 217–223.

69. Joakim Hjältén, E. Petter Axelsson, Thomas Whitham, Carri J. LeRoy, Riitta Julkunen-Tiitto, Anders Wennström, Gilles Pilate. 2012. Increased resistance of Bt aspens to Phratora vitelinae leads to increased plant growth under experimental conditions. PLoS ONE 7(1): e30640. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0030640.

68. Andersson J., Hjältén J. and Dynesius M. 2012. Long-term effects of stump harvesting and landscape composition on beetle assemblages in the hemiboreal forest of Sweden. Forest Ecol. Manage. 271: 75-80, doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2012.01.030

67. E. Petter Axelsson, Joakim Hjältén, Carri J. LeRoy, Riitta Julkunen-Tiitto, Anders Wennström, Gilles Pilate and Thomas Whitham 2012. Performance of insect-resistant Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)-expressing aspens under semi-natural field conditions including natural herbivory in Sweden. Forest Ecology and Managements 264: 167–171.

66. Scogings, P.F., Johansson, T., Hjältén, J. & Kruger, J. 2012. Responses of woody vegetation to exclusion of large herbivores in semi-arid savannas. Austral Ecology 37, 56–66. doi:10.1111/j.1442-9993.2011.02249.x
Book chapters

5. Hjältén J, Dynesius M, Hekkala A-M, Karlsson-Tiselius A, Löfroth T and Mugerwa-Pettersson R. 2018. Saproxylic insects and fire. In: Ulyshen M (ed) Saproxylic insects. Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg..

4. Löf M, Erson BT, Hjältén J, Nordfjell T, Oliet J, and Willoughby I, 2015. Site Preparation Techniques for Forest Restoration. In: John A. Stanturf (ed) Restoration of Boreal and Temperate Forests, Second Edition. CRC Press  pp 85-103.

Popular publications and reports

24. Joelsson K, and Hjältén J, 2017. Bläda för mångfalden - är gamla skogsbruksmetoder framtiden för skalbaggarna. Fakta skog Nr 6.

23. Persson T, Dahlberg A, Hjältén J, Jonsell M, Lenoir L, Malmström A, Rudolphi J, Svensson M, and Taylor A. 2017. High species richness in spruce stumps. In: Persson, T., Egnell, G., Lithell, C. (eds). Stump harvesting - impact on climate and environment. IEA Bioenergy Task43 TR2017:02

22. Jonsell M, Dahlberg A, Johansson V, Hjältén J and Victorsson J. 2017. Stubbskörd och biologisk mångfald. In: Persson T, Palmér CH, Lithell C. 2017. Stump extraction and biodiversity. In: Persson, T., Egnell, G., Lithell, C. (eds). Stump harvesting - impact on climate and environment. IEA Bioenergy Task43 TR2017:02

21 Persson T, Dahlberg A, Hjältén J, Jonsell M, Lenoir L, Malmström A, Rudolphi J, Svensson M, and Taylor A. 2017. Hög artmångfald i stubbar. In: Persson T, Palmér CH, Lithell C. 2017. Stubbskörd- hur påverkas klimat och miljö? Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet (SLU), Uppsala

20.  Jonsell M, Dahlberg A, Johansson V, Hjältén J and Victorsson J. 2017. Stubbskörd och biologisk mångfald. In: Persson T, Palmér CH, Lithell C. 2017. Stubbskörd- hur påverkas klimat och miljö? Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet (SLU), Uppsala

19. Götmark F, Hjältén et al. 2015. Utnyttja naturreservaten för vetenskaplig forskning. Miljöaktuellt 2015-04-09.

18. Gustafsson et al. 2014. Mycket att vinna på att inrätta ett reservat. DN debatt 2014-09-15

17. Gustafsson et al. 2014. Gör brandområdet till ett jättelikt skyddat reservat, DN debatt 2014-09-08.

16. Axelsson PE. and Hjältén J. Genetiskt modifierade träd – hur uppfattas de av andra organismer. Fakta skog 2:2014 (in Swedish)

15. Hjältén J. 2014. Risker med en ökad produktion. In: Branteström K (ed). Som man ropar i skogen – vägval som berör oss alla. Formas Fokuserar 22, Stockholm (in Swedish)   

14. Geijer, E., Bostedt, G., Hjältén J., Brännlund, R., Andersson J. 2012. Biofuels or biodiversity: an analysis of the goal conflict between reduced climate impact and biological diversity. CERE Report 2012




Research gate:

Restoration Ecology research group at SLU: