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Mats Dynesius

Mats Dynesius
I have a PhD in Ecological Botany and is Associate Professor (Docent) in Ecology. My scientific interests include: • Biodiversity patterns • Conservation biology • Land-use effects • Ecological resilience • Boreal forest restoration • Dispersal ecology • Deadwood ecology • Climate oscillations and evolution • Lineage persistence and speciation


I mainly study species diversity patterns, the mechanisms behind these patterns, and the biodiversity effects of disturbance (mostly human land use). I have a longstanding interest in how to mitigate negative impacts of land use and a more recent interest in restoration of forest biodiversity in degraded areas and in the role of variation in colonization capacity among forest species. I study global to local spatial scales and both evolutionary and ecological time scales.

On the broadest scales I study the evolutionary consequences of climatic fluctuations caused by variations in Earth’s orbit. I also develop ideas about the importance of persistence of intraspecific lineages for speciation. On the regional to local scale I study boreal biodiversity. Fundamental questions concern the wide range of species richness attained in different parts of boreal landscapes as well as the occurrence of spatial correlations in species richness among organism groups.

My work on biodiversity effects of land use are also concentrated to boreal areas and include effects of river regulation, conventional forestry, slash removal from clear-cuts for energy production, and wood ash recycling into forests. I have also studied the efficiency of buffer strips of riparian forest for biodiversity conservation.

I work with a broad range of boreal organisms, mainly plants (liverworts, mosses, vascular plants) and insects, but also land snails, lichens and wood-inhabiting fungi.

In addition to these major themes, I have studied the long-term dynamics of natural disturbance (tree uprooting) and deadwood (tree mortality after fragmentation as well as factors affecting how fast a downed tree trunk is covered by ground vegetation). I have also conducted assessments of human impacts on the World’s large river systems.


My two main current research projects are on ecological restoration of really low-productive boreal pine forests and on the contribution of Mountain birch forests to the conservation of boreal biodiversity associated with broadleaf dead wood. The projects are mainly funded by Formas – a Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development. 


In my current projects, fieldwork is conducted in forests owned by the National Property Board (SFV) and the major Swedish forestry companies SCA and Holmen. In the fungal parts of these projects i also cooperate with my colleagues Anders Dahlberg, Department of Forest Mycology and Plant Pathology, SLU, Uppsala and Mattias Edman, Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall.


I earned a PhD in Ecological Botany from Umeå University in 2001. I did a PostDoc in deadwood ecology at SLU and served as Assistant Professor and later Associate Professor (Docent) at Umeå University. In 2014-2018 I worked with biodiversity conservation for the major Swedish forest company SCA and starting February 2019 I have a permanent position at SLU.


I have supervised 6 students in their PhD studies:

Andreas Karlsson Tiselius, Umeå University. Main supervisor. Graduated 2016.

Ruaridh Hägglund, SLU. Assistant supervisor. Graduated 2016.

Jon Andersson, SLU. Assistant supervisor. Graduated 2012.

Fredrik Stenbacka, SLU. Assistant supervisor. Graduated 2009.

Marcus Åström, Umeå University.  Assistant supervisor. Graduated 2006.

Ursula Zinko, Umeå University.  Assistant supervisor. Graduated 2004.

Selected publications

My publications have been cited >11,100 times according to Google Scholar. During 2023 they were cited 587 times.

Examples of publications:

Dynesius, M., J. Olsson, J. Hjältén , T. Löfroth, and J.-M. Roberge. 2021. Bryophyte species composition at the stand scale (1 ha) – Differences between secondary stands half a century after clear-cutting and older semi-natural boreal forests. Forest Ecology and Management 482

Tiselius, A.K., S. Lundbäck, N. Lönnell, R. Jansson, and M. Dynesius. 2019. Bryophyte community assembly on young land uplift islands - Dispersal and habitat filtering assessed using species traits. Journal of Biogeography 46: 2188–2202

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

Dynesius, M. 2015. Slow recovery of bryophyte assemblages in middle-aged boreal forests regrown after clear-cutting. Biological Conservation 191: 101-109.

Dynesius, M. and R. Jansson. 2014. Persistence of within-species lineages: a neglected control of speciation rates. Evolution 68: 923–934.

Dynesius, M., H. Gibb, and J. Hjältén. 2010. Surface covering of downed logs: Drivers of a neglected process in dead wood ecology. PLoS ONE 5(10): e13237.

Stenbacka, F, J. Hjältén, J. Hilszczański, and M. Dynesius. 2010. Saproxylic and non-saproxylic beetle assemblages in boreal spruce forests of different age and forestry intensity. Ecological Applications 20: 2310–2321.

Dynesius, M., K. Hylander, and C. Nilsson. 2009. High resilience of bryophyte assemblages in stream-side compared to upland forests. Ecology 90: 1042-1054.

Åström, M., M. Dynesius, K. Hylander, and C. Nilsson. 2007. Slope aspect modifies community responses to clear-cutting in boreal forests. Ecology 88: 749-758.

Dynesius, M. and U. Zinko. 2006. Species richness correlations among primary producers in boreal forests. Diversity and Distributions 12: 703-713.

Dynesius, M., R. Jansson, M. E. Johansson, and C. Nilsson. 2004. Intercontinental similarities in riparian-plant diversity and sensitivity to river regulation. Ecological Applications 14: 173-191.

Dynesius, M. and R. Jansson. 2000. Evolutionary consequences of changes in species geographical distributions driven by Milankovitch climate oscillations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (PNAS) 97: 9115-9120.

Dynesius, M. and C. Nilsson. 1994. Fragmentation and flow regulation of river systems in the northern third of the world. Science 266: 753-762.