Core research areas and staffing – Københavns Universitet

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Core research areas and staffing

Alnarp (Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences)

Forest management and silviculture
Forest management and silviculture are topics of major importance in economically oriented forestry. For many decades real prices on forest goods have been decreasing while labour costs have been increasing. A positive eco-nomic balance is still possible due to the development of more rational methods of forest operations and new methods of forest management and silviculture. Currently there is a shortage of wood production; therefore methods of increasing the production need to be studied. New demands on forests from different stakeholders and new demands on forest products, especially from the energy sector, create new challenges. Furthermore, forest management has to adapt to climate change with possible frequent hazards in the future. Extensive research in these disciplines is in full swing in Alnarp. A great part of the research is made in a comprehensive national programme including other parts of the forest faculty. However the outcome has great international validity.

Forestry planning
Forestry today is complex due to an increasing number of stakeholders and an uncertain future. Concern about wood production, nature values, water supply and recreation etc. must be balanced. It is essential to develop tools and theory to analyse how different decisions and strategies will influence the future forest. One important branch of the research in Alnarp is to develop instruments used to forecasts the forest development. These tools are on different levels and designed for the need of the private forest owner as well as for the politician. New types of data available from satellite images are tested for implementation in the models. Special emphasis is put on risk management, studying possible strategies for the forest owner to handle uncertainty concerning future storm events, climate change, etc.

Forest history and forest ecology
Modern rational and technically advanced forestry has adverse effects on the environment. To mitigate these effects and to preserve and enhance nature values, knowledge is needed about the features of the natural forests. The forest history and the ancient forest is investigated through pollen analysis and other historical records. The importance of dead wood for biodiversity is well known. Different strategies to increase the amount of dead wood in the forest are studied. Another way of enhancing nature values is through restoration, i.e. to transform pure conifer plantations into more natural forest types. Different methods of restoration and the rate at which species typical for the new system establish are studied.

Natural resource economics
For adequate decisions on how to use the forest resource, different interests have to be balanced. It is especially difficult in the case of goods that are not priced by the market, e.g. recreation and nature values. Research is going on in Alnarp concerning how these values can be assessed. Theory is developed and tested by data mainly collected through enquires from the public.

Relevant staffing:
Five full professors, 18 associate professors/senior researchers, five post docs, ten doctoral candidates.