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Biogeochemical cycles in forests

Forest ecosystems research collaboration

The research group “Biogeochemical cycles in forests” is a group spanning over our department, the Department of Physical Geography at Stockholm University and CEC at Lund University. The research falls within the strategic research area BECC (Biodiversity and Ecosystem services in a Changing Climate). We cooperate with many researchers outside Lund University, nationally and internationally. On a national level the SWETHRO network group at IVL and a large number of researchers at SLU are our most frequent collaborators.

We use empirical data in combination with the dynamic forest ecosystem models to develop process understanding about nutrient and carbon cycling in forests. We also use this to make predictions of:

  • effects of climate change
  • different types of forest management and atmospheric deposition on soil chemistry
  • runoff water quality
  • tree growth

Support to stakeholders

One important aim with our research is to provide mainly Swedish stakeholders, e.g. the Energy Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Forest Agency and the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management, with decision support.

Analysis of empirical data and modelling

We work both with empirical data,for example at the SWETHRO monitoring network, and with modelling. The model framework that we use is the ForSAFE modelling family, mainly the steady state PROFILE model (for weathering rates and critical loads) and the dynamic ForSAFE model (for dynamic modelling of processes like weathering, decomposition and tree growth as well as of indicators such as soil chemistry and runoff water quality). We apply the models at different well-investigated field sites, e.g. sites in the SWETHRO monitoring network, the Krycklan catchment and various experimental sites, such as four long-term whole-tree harvesting experiments. Applying the models at well-investigated sites enables us to compare our model results with measurements, increase our process knowledge and improve the models continuously.

Topics in focus

  • Effects of whole-tree harvesting on nutrient cycling and acidification (through a project financed by the Energy Agency)
  • Modelling nutrient constraints on soil carbon sequestration: including soil microbial and mineral mechanisms into terrestrial biosphere models (BECC financed post doc project)
  • Increasing the understanding of nitrogen leaching from forest soils – why do some forest leach nitrogen and others not in southern Sweden (final work of a previous FORMAS project)
  • Weathering for sustainable forestry (continued work from a previous FORMAS strong research environment QWARTS and projects following that)
  • Dynamic modelling as a basis for policy decisions - Reducing the gap between modelling and policies through stakeholder interactions (PhD project mainly financed by CEC and our department)
  • Improving hydrology in ForSAFE (continued work from previous strong research environments ForWater and Multistressors, and projects following that)
  • Synergies and conflicts between nitrogen retention and other forest ecosystem services on a landscape scale (BECC financed PhD project)

Research group

Group members at the Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science
Cecilia Akselsson (Lecturer, group leader together with Salim Belyazid)
Veronika Kronnäs (PhD student)
Klas Lucander (PhD student)
Giuliana Zanchi (Researcher)
Lin Yu (Post doc)
Tristan Bakx (PhD student)


Group members with other affiliations
Salim Belyazid (Lecturer, Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, group leader together with Cecilia Akselsson)