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Peter Högberg

Peter Högberg
Peter Högberg, professor of Soil Science


I am a professor in Soil Science and have been both Vice-Chancellor of SLU and Dean of its Faculty of Forest Sciences. Before that I was the Head of the Department of Forest Ecology and Mangement 2007-2012 and of the Department of Forest Ecology 2002-2006..

My research concerns the cycles of nitrogen and carbon through forests, especially interactions among trees, mycorrhizal fungi and soils. My teaching covers the same subject areas.

Honours, awards

  • Grand Knight of the Icelandic Orden of the Falcon 2018.
  • Distinguished Ecologist, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, 2011.
  • Rosén´s Linneus Prize in Botany 2010 (500 000 SEK) awarded by the Royal Physiographic Society in Lund.
  • Recipient of a 12 million SEK "Excellence award" from SLU (2007-2013).
  • Fellow (no. 1629) of the Royal Swedish Academy for Agriculture and Forestry, 2005, and member of the board of the Academy (Akademikollegiet) 2006-2008.
  • Distinguished Ecologist, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, 2002.


Academic exams

Docent (Soil Science), SLU, 1989, Doctor of Forestry (Soil Science), SLU, Umeå, 1986, MSc (Forestry), SLU, Garpenberg, Stockholm and Umeå, 1979.


  • Vice-Chancellor of SLU, 2015-07-01 - 2018-12-31.
  • Dean Faculty of Forest Sciences, SLU, 2013 - 2015-06-30.
  • Head of Department of Forest Ecology and Management, SLU, Umeå 2007-2012
  • Head of Department of Forest Ecology, SLU, Umeå (2002-2006, except one year 2004-2005)
  • Visiting Professor, Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, 2004-2005
  • Deputy Rector SLU-Umeå, 6 months 2000
  • Professor of Soil Science, SLU, Umeå, 1993-present
  • Professor of Forest Science, Umeå Univ., 1991-1993
  • Director of Studies, Natural Sciences option, SLU Umeå, 1989-1991
  • Research Leader, SLU Umeå, 1986-1991
  • Member of the Editorial Boards of Plant and Soil 1995-2005, Oecologia 1994-2001, Ambio 2000-2003 and Forest Ecology and Management 1986-1995
  • International Task Leader of Activities within Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems (core project of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Project) 1993-2003
  • Member of the committee on "Effects of acidifying substances and ground-level ozone", Swedish Environmental Protection Agency 1993-1997
  • Member of the committee on Ecology 1995-1997, Chairman of the committee on Biogeochemistry 1997-1999 and Member of the Board of Swedish Council for Forestry and Agriculture 2000
  • Member of the Board of SkogForsk (the Swedish Forest Research Institute) 2000-2004

Selected publications

More than 140 papers (mainly on plant-soil interactions) in peer-reviewed journals, 2o reviewed book chapters, and 30 papers, reports etc. for a wider audience.

Selected publications:

• Högberg, P., Näsholm, T., Franklin, O. & Högberg, M.N. 2017. Tamm Review: On the nature of the nitrogen limitation to plant growth in Fennoscandian boreal forests. Forest Ecology and Management, 403, 161-185.

Näsholm, T., Högberg, P., Franklin, O., Metcalfe, D.B., Keel, S.G., Campbell, C., Hurry, V., Linder, S. & Högberg, M.N. 2013:  Are ectomycorrhizal fungi alleviating or aggravating the N limitation of tree growth in boreal forests? New Phytologist, 198, 214-221.

Högberg, M.N., Briones, M.J.I., Keel, S.G., Metcalfe, D.B., Campbell, C., Midwood, A.J., Thornton, B., Hurry, V., Linder, S., Näsholm, T. 2010: Quantification of effects of season and nitrogen supply on tree below-ground carbon transfer to ectomycorrhizal fungi and other soil organisms in a boreal pine forest. New Phytologist, 187, 485-493. 

• Högberg, P., Högberg, M.N., Göttlicher, S.G., Betson, N.R., Keel, S.G., Metcalfe, D.B., Campbell, C., Schindlbacher, A., Hurry, V., Lundmark, T., Linder, S. & Näsholm, T. 2008: High temporal resolution tracing of photosynthate carbon from the tree canopy to forest soil microorganisms. New Phytologist, 177, 220-228.

• Högberg, P. 2007: Nitrogen impacts on forest carbon. Nature, 474, 781-782.

• Lindahl BD, Ihrmark K, Boberg J, Trumbore SE, Högberg P, Stenlid J & Finlay RD 2007 Spatial separation of litter decomposition and mycorrhizal nitrogen uptake in a boreal forest. New Phytologist 173, 611-620.

• Högberg, P. & Read. D.J. 2006: Towards a more plant physiological perspective on soil ecology. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 21, 548-554.

• Högberg, P., Fan, H., Quist, M., Binkley, D. & Tamm, C.O. 2006: Tree growth and soil acidification in response to 30 years of experimental nitrogen loading on boreal forest. Global Change Biology, 12, 489-499.

• Högberg, M.N. & Högberg, P. 2002: Extramatrical ectomycorrhizal mycelium contributes one third of microbial biomass and produces, together with associated roots, half the dissolved organic carbon in a forest soil. New Phytologist, 154, 791-795.

• Högberg, P., Nordgren, A., Buchmann, N., Taylor, A.F.S., Ekblad, A., Högberg, M.N., Nyberg, G., Ottosson-Löfvenius, M. & Read, D.J. 2001: Large-scale forest girdling shows that current photosynthesis drives soil respiration. Nature, 411, 789-792.  

• Ekblad, A. & Högberg, P. 2001: Natural abundance of 13C in CO2 respired from forest soils reveals speed of link between tree photosynthesis and root respiration. Oecologia, 127, 305-308.

• Falkowski, P., Scholes, R.J., Boyle, E., Canadell, J. Canfield, D., Elser, J., Gruber, N., Hibbard, K., Högberg, P., Linder, S., Mackenzie, F.T., B. Moore III, Pedersen, T., Rosenthal, Y., Seitzinger, S., Smetacek, V. & Steffen, W. 2000: The global carbon cycle: a test of our knowledge of earth as a system. Science, 290, 291-296.

• Hector, A., Schmid, B., Beierkuhnlein, C., Caldeira, M.C., Diemer, M., Dimitrakopoulos, P.G., Finn, J., Freitas, H., Giller, P.S., Good, J., Harris, R., Högberg, P., Huss-Danell, K., Joshi, J., Jumpponen, A., Körner, C., Leadley, P.W., Loreau, M., Minns, A., Mulder, C.P.H., O'Donovan, G., Otway, S.J., Pereira, J.S., Prinz, A., Read, D.J., Scherer-Lorenzen, M., Schulze, E.-D., Siamantziouras, A.S.-D., Spehn, E., Terry, A.C., Troumbis, A.Y., Woodward, F.I., Yachi, S. & Lawton, J.H. 1999: Plant diversity and productivity experiments in European grasslands. Science, 286, 1123-1127.

• Högberg, P., Plamboeck, A.H., Taylor, A.F.S. & Fransson, P.M.A. 1999: Natural 13C abundance reveals trophic status of fungi and host-origin of carbon in mycorrhizal fungi in mixed forests. Proceedings National Academy of Sciences (USA), 96, 8534-8539.

• Näsholm, T., Ekblad, A., Nordin, A., Giesler, R., Högberg, M. & Högberg, P. 1998: Boreal forest plants take up organic nitrogen. Nature, 392, 914-916.

• Högberg, P. 1997: 15N natural abundance in soil-plant systems. Tansley Review No. 95. New Phytologist, 137, 179-203.

• Binkley, D. & Högberg, P. 1997: Does atmospheric deposition of nitrogen threaten Swedish forests? Forest Ecology and Management, 92, 119-152.


Professor emeritus at the Department of Forest Ecology and Management; Department of Forest Ecology and Management, joint staff
Telephone: +46907868605
Postal address:
Skogens ekologi och skötsel
901 83 Umeå
Visiting address: Skogsmarksgränd 17, Uppsala