Read about this month’s researcher in the spotlight, Professor at the Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science, Lund University
-What is currently on top of your research agenda?
Ecosystem modelling to assess the impact of climate change, in particular risk of damage caused by extreme climate and weather events such as drought, frost and wind storms. This includes the development of phenology models, as the annual development of both plants and insects are temperature dependent.
-Tell us about your latest publication?
We carried out a study that was published in Ecological Modelling (384: 154-167). The ecosystem model showed that periods with drought stress can lead to decreased tree defence capacity. The results are discussed in relation to current forestry practice, with Norway spruce commonly being planted on dry soils better suited for Scots pine in order to reduce moose browsing damage of seedlings. In combination with a warmer climate, this can create a forest landscape more sensitive to spruce bark beetle outbreaks.
-What led you into your particular field of research?
After a course on system analysis I started to develop a spruce bark beetle model, which led me into the field of ecosystem modelling. The annual activity of bark beetles is highly temperature dependent, and last summer two generations were produced in Sweden which is rare but will occur more frequently in a warmer climate. To further assess the risk of bark beetles killing trees, the triggering factor which is ample availability of storm felled or severely drought stressed trees has to be accounted for.
-What are the implications of your research for the society?
The aim is to provide results of relevance for development of climate adaption strategies within the forestry sector, to enable fulfilment of multiple goals including production of biomass and preservation of biodiversity.