PhD-project on continuous-cover forestry and the risks of damage caused by insects and ungulates

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Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Environmental Studies

SLU is one of the world’s highest ranked universities in several subject areas and is ranked #1 in forestry ( and #7 in biodiversity conservation. We carry out research, teaching and dissemination of scientific findings with direct application to the sustainable management of forests. We have a multidisciplinary profile, with global relevance and specialized expertise on forests and forestry as complex socio-ecological systems. We closely collaborate with multiple stakeholders and conduct applied research in silviculture, forest ecology, pathology, policy and planning.

The position is placed at the Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Environmental Studies at SLU Umeå, Sweden. The department offers a creative and stimulating environment and perform internationally recognized basic and applied research, education and environmental monitoring in the research areas: animal ecology, aquatic ecology, molecular ecology and restoration ecology (see The department has a large proportion of international employees and well established national and international cooperation which gives opportunities for fruitful exchange.

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Research subject Biology


In managed forests, continuous-cover forestry (CCF) has a potential to mitigate negative effects of even-aged forestry on biodiversity, by better emulating natural disturbance dynamics. Whereas important research has been conducted on the production and biodiversity benefits of CCF substantial knowledge gap persists regarding associated risks of stand-level biotic damage. In spruce forests, an increase in structural diversity in CCF relative to conventional methods is proposed to lead to higher biodiversity, which could strengthen ecological processes affecting population dynamics of damage-inducing herbivores such as sawflies, and cambivores, such as bark beetles. The limited spatial extent of disturbance caused by CCF may also influence the availability of stand-level browse for large herbivores, altering both browsing damage and the dynamics of insect populations causing forest damages.

In this 4-year PhD project, you will compare CCF and even-aged forestry in terms of their direct and indirect effects on forest damage. You will work in several already established Norway spruce dominated study areas in mid-Sweden and southern Finland. The primary study questions will focus on disentangling the role of the chosen forest-management method on biodiversity, damage by bark beetles and sawflies, browsing pressure by ungulates, and the interactions among these. The work is carried out by observational and experimental approaches. The project includes a considerable amount of travel and field work.

You will work together with a group of researchers from several departments at SLU and Natural resources institute Finland (LUKE). You will be part of the Restoration Ecology research group at SLU in Umeå and the Forest Damage Centre Research School.


You should have a Master’s degree in biology, ecology or forestry, with relevant focus based on the project to be undertaken (i.e., specialization in community or insect ecology, or forest/plant ecology, or plant-herbivore interactions). Experience in design, execution and analysis of field-based experiments, preferably involving ecological interactions, is desired. Knowledge on statistical methods, preferably in R, and their application is an extra merit. Proven excellence in written and spoken English is essential (either a proof from Swedish gymnasium or TOEFL, IELTS or Cambridge ESOL). The fieldwork will take place at multiple locations; a driver’s license is therefore required. Within this project you will work and participate in an active research environment, and must be capable and willing to take initiative and work independently as well as in a group.

Place of work:      


Forms for funding or employment:

Employment (4 years)

Starting date:

2023-04-15 or according to agreement.


Click the “Apply” button to submit your application. The deadline is 2023-01-31.

To qualify for third-cycle (Doctoral) courses and study programmes, you must have a second-cycle (Master’s) qualification. Alternatively, you must have conducted a minimum of four years of full-time study, of which a minimum of one year at second-cycle level.

Applicants will be selected based on their written application and CV, degree project, copies of their degree certificate and transcript of records from previous first and second-cycle studies at a university or higher education institution, two personal references, and knowledge of English. More information about the English language requirements can be found here:

Please note that applicants invited to interview must submit attested copies of their degree certificate, a transcript of records from previous first and second-cycle studies at a university or higher education institution. Applicants who are not Swedish citizens need to submit an attested copy of their passport’s information page containing their photograph and personal details.

Read about the PhD education at SLU at

Academic union representatives:

The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) is a world-class international university with research, education and environmental assessment within the sciences for sustainable life. Its principal sites are in Alnarp, Umeå and Uppsala, but activities are also conducted at research stations, experimental parks and educational establishments throughout Sweden. We bring together people who have different perspectives, but they all have one and the same goal: to create the best conditions for a sustainable, thriving and better world.SLU has just over 3,000 employees, 5,000 students and a turnover of SEK 3 billion. The university has invested heavily in a modern, attractive environment on its

Contact person

Anne-Maarit Hekkala



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