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Recently finalized projects

On this page we have gathered some of the finalized projects in BECC. They are listed in the following order:

  • Postdoctoral projects
  • Research projects
  • Action Groups

Postdoctoral projects

Eco-evolutionary models of spatiotemporal dynamics of plant-pollinator communities – novel avenues for studying community response to landscape structure

Involved researchers

Contact: Mikael Pontarp (Department of Biology) -

Magne Friberg (Department of Biology) -

Jacob Johansson (Department of Biology) -

Anna Persson (Centre for Environmental and Climate Science) -

Lingzi Wang (postdoc), Department of Biology, Lund University

About the project

We have designed and analysed an eco-evolutionary and functional-trait-based model of three interacting trophic levels and we have simulated adaptation and diversification in traits as a response to eco-evolutionary feedbacks. In line with our initial idea, our model includes several ecological interactions including (1) within-trophic-level competitive interactions for resources, (2) between-trophic-level antagonistic and mutualistic interactions, and (3) the way in which species interacts with the abiotic environments. In doing so we have found several interesting and publishable results.

The results we have found include a causal and mechanistic link between mutualistic interactions that positively affect population size which in turn promote evaluability and trait evolution. Adaptive functional trait matching between species that engage in mutualistic interactions are promoted whereas adaptation to the abiotic environment becomes less pronounced. Negative interactions (i.e. antagonism related abiotic or biotic interactions) have the opposite effect. We also find that benign abiotic conditions, low degree of competition, and high interactive range between the plants and antagonistic herbivores or mutualistic pollinators can generate a higher level of diversification in both herbivores and pollinators. In other words, benign abiotic and biotic conditions can promote diversification, while harsh conditions tend to impede diversification.

Our research thus improves our general understanding of ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that underpin the eco-evolutionary processes that drive ecosystem dynamics including population sizes, traits evolution and diversification. Our findings also improve understanding of urgent issues associated with changing environmental conditions (e.g., climate change, loss of natural habitats), a theoretical understanding that can be applied and tested in many specific ecosystems. We are currently working on publishing these results. 


ContactJessica Coria (Department of Economics, University of Gothenburg) - 

Yann Clough (Centre for Environmental and Climate Science) -

Ville Inkinen, PhD Student, Department of Economics, University of Gothenburg

João Vaz, Post-doctoral Researcher, Department of Economics, University of Gothenburg

About the project

Biodiversity offsets are a popular tool in conservation policy. Offsets seek to balance biodiversity losses from development projects in one location with an equivalent biodiversity gain in a separate location, with the goal of achieving “no net loss” (NNL) of biodiversity. One strategy that has received increasing attention is that of a market approach, whereby private firms conserve large tracts of land and whose restoration activities can be converted into ecological credits that landowners can sell to developers to meet their offset requirements.

One key objective of our project is to provide evidence of the ecological performance of existing market-based programs to biodiversity offsetting. Our empirical approach is based on data from the US wetland mitigation market, which corresponds to the largest, more well-developed, and lasting example of a market for biodiversity offsets. Using wetland area as a proxy for biodiversity values, we analyzed satellite imagery to identify and delineate the extent of wetland area gains at mitigation banks established between 2001 and 2020. In a difference-in-differences framework, we compare outcomes at established bank sites against planned mitigation sites.

Our analysis provides three main findings:

  • First, the share of wetland area created at mitigation banks averaged 20 percentage points, which translates into 15,900 wetland acres gained from the banking program.
  • Second, 88% of wetland gains were additional (i.e., the majority of wetland gains would not have occurred without dedicated compensation activities).
  • And third, by contrasting the estimated wetland gains against wetland losses, we estimate that there is a net loss of 1,600 wetland acres per year over the 2012-2020 period (i.e., the program is not achieving NNL of wetland area).

The outcomes of our analysis are highly relevant for the design of existing and future offsetting policies.

Forest management practices for climate targets and environmental objectives – adaptive strategies based on novel combinations of ecosystem modelling, policy analysis and visualisation

Involved researchers 

Hanna Fors, SLU | Externwebben (

John Bergkvist, Alexandra Nikoleris

ContactAnna Maria Jönsson (Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science) -

Johannes Stripple (Department of Political Science) -

Fredrik Lagergren (Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science) - 

John Bergkvist (Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science) - 

Alecandra Nikoleris (Department of , Environmental and Energy Systems Studies) 

About the project

The forest contributes to human well-being in many ways. To avoid overuse and unintentional ecosystem changes, this multi-functionality has to be addressed when developing forest management strategies and policies. The aim of this transdisciplinary project was to quantify and visualize the contribution of different adaptive management strategies to climate solutions and fulfilment of environmental objectives during the transition towards a fossil-free society. 

The Arctic is a critical biome for biodiversity, biogeochemical cycling and ecosystem services but most research in the region is strongly clustered around a few locations. This means that scientific understanding of Arctic processes, which guide both predictive models and policy debates, probably disproportionately influence by only a few locations with environmental conditions which may or may not be representative of the biome as a whole. This project will use a unique map of Arctic scientific research to identify six sites representing the least studied regions of the Arctic then perform a wide-ranging, rapid field survey of key environmental properties at each site. These results will be compared with matching surveys at two of the most intensively studied Arctic sites. The results will provide key insights into the full range of environmental variation across the Arctic, thereby helping to improve predictions and models of whole-Arctic processes and conditions under climate change.

Filling in critical knowledge gaps of ecosystem properties across the Arctic. -



Henni Ylänne -

Centre for Environmental and Climate Science
henni [dot] ylanne [at] cec [dot] lu [dot] se (henni[dot]ylanne[at]cec[dot]lu[dot]se)
+46 46 222 89 39

Collaborating researchers

Dan Metcalfe Metcalfe (Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science) -

Johannes Rousk (Department of Biology) -

Johan Uddling (Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg) -

Involved researchers

Contact: Mats Hansson (Department of Biology) -

Jacob Johansson (Department of Biology) -

Åslög Dahl (Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg) -

Anna Maria Jönsson (Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science) -

Willian Silva, SLU: willian [dot] silva [at] slu [dot] se (willian[dot]silva[at]slu[dot]se )

About the project

Flowering time is an important process in a plant’s lifecycle since it allows the plant population to maximize its benefits from environmental processes by allowing for the optimization of allocation of resources to growth and reproduction and synchronization with pollinator activity. The evolution of flowering time in plants can be significantly affected by climate change because of changes in temperature, which affect productivity and weather patterns, in turn leading to a mismatch between the plant flowering time and the optimal season for flowering. Therefore, climate change may cause evolutionary changes in flowering time, potentially resulting in cascading effects on ecosystem dynamics.

In this project, we created a mathematical model to explore the effects of climate change on the evolution of flowering time in annual plants and found that evolutionary patterns change in direction and magnitude depending on the effect of climate change on the plant growth season. Our analysis elucidates how natural selection under climate change can influence competition among plants for light, a factor which is, so far, little explored in plant life history theory in spite of being a key ecological factor shaping plant evolution.

In particular, our theory highlights how evolved flowering times of wild plants adapted to light competition may differ from optimal flowering times to maximize yield in agricultural plants under different climate change scenarios. We also explore the effect of mass loss caused by, e.g., plant diseases or predation. Overall, our results highlight how considering plant-plant competition may help to interpret phenological trends and idiosyncratic fitness effects of climate change in wild plant communities and provides a theoretical framework for comparing phenological responses in wild and agricultural plants. 

Publication: Silva, W.T.A.F.; Hansson, M.; Johansson, J. 2021. Light competition and phenological adaptation of annual plants to a changing climate. Climate Change Ecology 2: 100007. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecochg.2021.100007.

Presentations: Silva, W. T. A. F. Phenological evolution in annual plants under light competition as a consequence of abiotic and biotic effects of climate change. Oral presentation at the 2nd Nordic Biomathematics Days, Roskilde University, May 2022.

Towards better assessments of nutrient constraints on soil carbon sequestration: including soil microbial and mineral mechanisms into the terrestrial biosphere models

Involved researchers

Lin Yu: lin [dot] yu [at] cec [dot] lu [dot] se (lin[dot]yu[at]cec[dot]lu[dot]se)

Cecilia Akselsson (Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science) -

Johannes Rousk (Department of Biology) -

Sönke Zaehle (Department Biogeochemical Integration, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry) -

About the project

Soils contain the largest carbon pool in terrestrial ecosystems. The capacity of soils to sequestrate C is thus important for climate mitigation. However, the future projections of soil C sequestration generated by terrestrial biosphere models (TBMs) are highly uncertain. The reason is inadequate process descriptions related to microbial activity and nutrient constraints on C sequestration. 

In this project we wanted to improve those process descriptions, to reduce the uncertainties in the soil C sequestration estimations. To achieve this, the newly developed soil model JSM, which includes detailed soil processes, was coupled to the TBM QUINCY. Whereas earlier simulations with QUINCY alone have shown a positive correlation between productivity and soil C sequestration, these new runs showed no such correlation, which is in better agreement with measurements. This highlights the importance of microbial processes and SOC stabilization mechanism in future climate projections.   

The new model was also used to study role of soil C-nutrient interactions and their impacts on future C sequestration under different climate, deposition and management scenarios in Eucalyptus and Amazon forests. QUINCY-JSM performed adequately well in simulating the current state of Eucalyptus and Amazon forests. The future simulations differed from the simulations from other TBMs with respect to the relationships between plant productivity and soil organic carbon. We believe that the uncoupling of the unrealistic correlation between NPP and SOC in QUINCY-JSM will shed light on plant and soil carbon dynamics responses to environmental changes in future research. 

Jiang M, Medlyn BE, Drake JE et al. 2020: The fate of carbon in a mature forest under carbon dioxide enrichment. Nature 580, 227-231.

Related papers written during the project period, but not directly connected to the project:

Caldararu S, Thum T, Yu L, Kern M, Nair R & Zaehle S 2022: Long-term ecosystem nitrogen limitation from foliar δ15N data and a land surface model. Global Change Biology 28, 493-508.

Wutzler T, Yu L, Schrumpf M & Zaehle S 2022: Simulating long-term responses of soil organic matter turnover to substrate stoichiometry by abstracting fast and small-scale microbial processes: the Soil Enzyme Steady Allocation Model (SESAM; v3.0). Geosci. Model Dev. 15, 8377-8393.

Yu L, Caldararu S, Ahrens B et al. 2023: Improved representation of phosphorus exchange on soil mineral surfaces reduces estimates of phosphorus limitation in temperate forest ecosystems. Biogeosciences 20, 57-73.

Zanchi G, Yu L, Akselsson C et al. 2021: Simulation of water and chemical transport of chloride from the forest ecosystem to the stream. Environmental Modelling & Software 138, 104984.

A grand challenge for mankind is to fight climate change, which involves both reducing and reverting CO2 emissions. Soils store much more carbon (C) than the atmosphere, and it is microorganisms that govern whether C compounds remain in the soil, or whether they are disintegrated back to CO2. An important mechanism of long-term C storage is the physical stabilization of organic matter within the soil structure, meaning that C can be “hidden” from its decomposers in the complex matrix of soil aggregates, but the processes involved are not well understood.

We have studied the dynamic process of microbial soil aggregate formation, and the nature of fungal “gluing” exudates, with help of different synchrotron light techniques at MAX IV laboratory, and in collaboration at the Canadian Light Source. We have combined these micro-scale studies with experiments at field scale, where we probed a soil aggregate structure gradient and investigated the amount of spatio-physical inaccessible C in relation to its aggregate stability. Understanding the mechanisms of physical C stabilization is the basis to identify soil cultivation techniques which foster this process, and to be able to increase the C sink potential of our soils by convincing agriculture and forestry policy makers.



Milda Pucetaite -

Centre for Environmental and Climate Science
milda [dot] pucetaite [at] cec [dot] lu [dot] se (milda[dot]pucetaite[at]cec[dot]lu[dot]se)
+46 46 222 47 80

Collaborating researchers

Edith Hammer (Department of Biology) -

Leif Klemedtsson (Department of Earth Sciences, University of Gothenburg) -

Per Persson (Centre for Environmental and Climate Science) -

Farm2forest: Evaluating impacts of agricultural policy reform on biodiversity and ecosystem services in mixed farming-forestry landscapes

Farming in marginal areas with its resulting mosaic of forests, afforestation, and active and passive farmland contributes to the maintenance of biodiversity and ecosystem services in Europe. Such areas are though heavily supported by Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments. It is unclear how projected CAP reform after 2020, in conjunction with the rise of the bio-based economy, will affect (1) the shares and spatial distribution of farming, forestry and intermediate land-use forms in marginal areas, (2) how and where biodiversity and ecosystem services will be affected at the landscape scale, and (3) what alternative policy (e.g. results-based payments, regional prioritization) might efficiently ensure their preservation. This project addresses these questions in a spatially-explicit manner for marginal farming areas in Sweden by explicitly considering interactions between agriculture and forestry, which has not been done before. Existing agricultural agent-based models will be extended for forestry using data compiled in this project. Predictions for the different policy scenarios will be translated to GIS landscape models, and available biodiversity and ecosystem models will be used to assess their impact. The project should contribute to better understanding and decision support when considering interactions between agriculture and forestry for biodiversity and ecosystem services policy in Europe.

Farm2Forest: Effects of agricultural policy reform on biodiversity and ecosystem services in mixed farming-forestry landscapes. -



Niklas Boke Olén -

Centre for Environmental and Climate Science
niklas [dot] boke_olen [at] cec [dot] lu [dot] se (niklas[dot]boke_olen[at]cec[dot]lu[dot]se)
+46 222 89 69


Collaborating researchers

Yann Clough (Centre for Environmental and Climate Science) -

Cecilia Akselsson (Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science) -

Johan Ekroos (Centre for Environmental and Climate Science) -

Mark Brady (AgriFood Economics Centre, SLU) -

Paul Caplat (Centre for Environmental and Climate Science) -

Climate change will cause extreme fluctuations in precipitation and temperatures generating intense drought and rainfall events. This will affect the functioning of most ecosystems, and the most severely affected include the world’s poorest and food security challenged nations, including Ethiopia. Microorganisms control decomposition of organic matter (OM), and
dominate the terrestrial contribution to the carbon (C) cycle. Our aim is to incorporate understanding of microbial community processes into the ecosystem model LPJ-Guess – a central BECC priority. This ambitious aim is made feasible by drawing results from funded projects.

We have:
1. Defined the dependence on moisture of microbial processes and scale this information to ecosystem, regional and global levels with LPJ-Guess.
2. Determined and incorporate both long-term and short-term legacy effects of drought on microbial functions to estimate how ecosystem carbon-budgets respond to environmental change.
3. Distinguished between microbial community and physiochemical mechanisms within modelled ecosystem carbon balances.
4. Determined how plant input modulates the microbial resilience to drought by coupling above- and belowground processes in LPJ-Guess.
5. Applied a revised LPJ-Guess (1-4) to simulate the carbon pool fate for Ethiopia, and arid regions in general.



Albert C Brangarí -

Centre for Environmental and Climate Science
albert [dot] brangari [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se (albert[dot]brangari[at]biol[dot]lu[dot]se)
+46 46 222 86 33

Collaborating researchers

Johannes Rousk (Department of Biology) -

Paul Miller (Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science) - 

Dan Metcalfe (Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science) -

Edith Hammer (Department of Biology) -

Green infrastructure (GI) has been launched as a concept and policy tool to improve biodiversity conservation and support of multiple ecosystem services, by including it into large-scale land-use planning under a changing climate and land-use changes. Therefore, how different actors understand GI may have profound consequences on biodiversity conservation across Europe within the next decades. To understand challenges and opportunities that this development imposes on biodiversity conservation, we urgently need research on the links between the underlying scientific evidence base for effective conservation strategies and the conceptualization and implementation of GI across multiple governance levels.

This project has:
1) reviewed the ecological literature to establish to which extent organisms occurring in the fragmented landscapes are limited by dispersal
2) tracked the conceptual evolution of GI within peer-reviewed literature and in policy documents to better understand the interconnectedness or lack of such between science and policy in the area of GI.
3) mapped systematically how GI is understood by policy actors at different scales to establish the degree to which evidence has informed decisions.

This interdisciplinary postdoc project has established close collaboration between ecologists, environmental scientists and political scientists within the BECC community and provide a platform for planning future joint research.

The making of green infrastructure as a policy tool for biodiversity conservation -



Maria von Post -

Department of Biology
maria [dot] von_post [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se (maria[dot]von_post[at]biol[dot]lu[dot]se)
+46 46 222 38 22

Collaborating researchers

Johan Ekroos (Centre for Environmental and Climate Science) -

Åsa Knaggård (Department of Political Science) -

Ola Olsson (Department of Biology) -

Anna Persson (Centre for Environmental and Climate Science) - 

Johanna Alkan Olsson (Centre for Environmental and Climate Science) - 

Research projects

Involved researchers

Contact: Johan Uddling Fredin -

Heather Reese (Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg)-

Olivier Manzi (PhD student at Biological and Environmental Sciences, UGOT)

Göran Wallin (Biological and Environmental Sciences, UGOT)

Lina Mercado (University of Exeter).

About the project

In this project, we explored the physiological heat tolerance limits and thermal safety margins in a broad range of tropical tree species with contrasting successional strategies. We determined thermal thresholds and traits controlling leaf temperature in three multi-species plantations in Rwanda with large variation in elevation (1300-2400 m) and climate (18-24°C mean daytime temperature). Although most species were able to partially acclimate their heat tolerance to warmer growth conditions, heat tolerance limits were exceeded in some species at the warmer sites. This occurred in species with leaf traits causing poor thermoregulation (low transpiration, large leaf size). Species experiencing high leaf temperatures also suffered in terms of growth and mortality at the warmer sites.

Our results have important implications for tree plantation programs in Rwanda. The Rwanda TREE project is presented at this webpage,, and in this YouTube video: Tropical montane forests in a warming world

Participating researchers

Contact: Christine Bacon -

Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg
christine [dot] bacon [at] bioenv [dot] gu [dot] se (christine[dot]bacon[at]bioenv[dot]gu[dot]se)
+46 766185167

Anne Bjorkman (Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg) -

Mats Hansson (Department of Biology) - 

The Arctic region has warmed faster than any other region in the world, and climate changes are driving temperature increases up to three times faster than the global average. Beyond temperature, trait shifts have been identified in response to photoperiod and other environmental changes. To understand first the distribution of genetic diversity in Arctic plants, and then use that to determine genomic response to environmental change, explore the process of adaptation, and manage tundra habitats through evolutionary rescue, we developed a chromosome level genome assembly for Oxyria digyna. This is a widespread Arctic and alpine plant species of the Northern Hemisphere, characteristic of the tundra and is an important fodder for reindeer that are semi-domesticated by Indigenous Sami peoples. We used PacBio HiFi long reads and Illumina HiC short reads to build a chromosome scale assembly of Oxryia digyna. The Oxyria digyna genome lays the groundwork for understanding the impact of environmental change on the Arctic.

Involved researchers

Contact: Nils Cronberg (Department of Biology, LU) -

Fia Bengtsson (Norwegian Institute for Nature Research)

Johan Ekroos (Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS)

Per Stenberg (Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Umeå university)

About the project

Bryophytes (mosses and liverworts) is a diverse plant group with important roles in ecosystem functioning, not the least in cold environments. Because bryophytes are physiologically strongly dependent on climatic conditions, they could serve as indicators of ongoing climate changes.

Bryophyte spores are generally dispersed by wind, forming a spore cloud that differs in composition throughout the year because of different spore release periods among species. The spores have few traits that allow identification when air-borne, which means that spore dispersal phenology has thus far relied on observation of sporophyte maturation in situ, which is highly labor-intensive. To detect radioactive downfall, the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI) since 1965 continuously filter large quantities of air onto glass fibre filters, replaced weekly at 6 stations across the country. It has proved possible to retrieve and identify airborne particles from these permanently stored filters using eDNA techniques.

We have studied multi-decadal shifts in the phenology of bryophyte spore dispersal in 16 bryophyte species or groups of species, using a globally unique 35-year time-series of eDNA (environmental DNA) data collected in Kiruna, northern Sweden. We found consistent shifts in bryophyte phenology, such that most bryophyte taxa advanced their (i) start of season several weeks, and (ii) mid-peak season even more. Concomitantly, seasons during which spores were observed became several weeks longer over the time period for most taxa. Changes at the season end were far less pronounced across the 16 bryophyte taxa.

We conclude that the phenological shifts suggest strong ongoing perturbations in bryophyte communities, most likely driven by climate change. Our results also demonstrate that studying airborne particles using eDNA methodology is a valuable complement to other monitoring methods, not the least in bryophytes and other less well-monitored taxa.

Relating to peat mosses, Fia Bengtsson and Magni Olsen Kyrkjeeide (Norsk institutt for naturforskning) has made a music video: Graver du i grava mi and information site about the importance of mire habitats: Mosevis

Involved researchers

ContactWilhelm May -

Katarina Hedlund (Department of Biology) -

Mark Brady (AgriFood Economics Centre SLU) -

Maria Ingimarsdottir (Department of Biology, LU) -

About the project

Changing precipitation patterns and more frequent and more intense extreme weather events projected by future climate scenarios pose considerable risks for the Swedish agricultural sector. One way to adapt agriculture to the negative effects of climate change is the conservation of soil organic carbon through favorable agricultural management practices.

In the project we investigated:

  • a) the extent to which changes in agricultural management practices that improve soil health by restoring organic soil carbon have occurred during the past decade
  • b) which management practices farmers consider beneficial for soil health and
  • c) which economic support farmers would consider adequate to adopt these management practices.

Based on a survey that followed up on a corresponding survey among farmers in Skåne and Halland a decade ago it was found that more farmers had adopted agricultural management practices that preserve soil organic carbon and, thus, are beneficial for soil health between 2011 and 2021 (see figure). More farmers, for instance, operated zero (8% vs. 31%) or low tillage systems (42% vs. 74%), spread manure on their fields (29% vs. 62%) and applied processed organic fertilizer (11% vs. 21%). Slightly more farmers added crop residues to their fields (87% vs. 93%).

Diagram from survey about farmers adoption of agricultural management practices that preserve soil organic carbon.
Fractions of farmers in Skåne and Halland that applied selected agricultural management practices that preserve soil organic carbon in 2011 and 2021 according to corresponding surveys. 3000 farmers were invited to the survey in 2011 and 2087 in 2021. 34% of the farmers replied in 2011 and 17% in 2021.

Both in 2011 and 2021, considerable fractions of the farmers were willing to adopt agricultural management practices that preserve soil organic carbon if they were “adequately” compensated. However, the willingness to operate a zero tillage system increased in 2021 (33% vs. 51%) as did the willingness to use crop residues (34% vs. 42%). The willingness to spread manure on the fields or to apply processed organic fertilizers, on the other hand, declined in 2021 (59% vs. 53%).            

In the project, there have been numerous opportunities to interact with farmers, farmer organizations and agricultural consultants as well as the interested public and public administrators to communicate and discuss the advantages of using and adopting agricultural management practices beneficial for soil health. Particularly for mitigating the agricultural risks associated with a changing climate.

Policy brief by N. Malmstöm, M. Brady and N. Droste Kolinlagring – en försäkring i ett förändrat klimat

- application to ecosystem services provided in the forest and agricultural sector.

Many environmental resources are characterized as public goods including biodiversity, carbon storage, water, soil and air quality. In this project, we are interested in the forest and agriculture as suppliers of public goods, more specifically forest soil quality and biodiversity conservation which is particularly threatened by the use of pesticides. Generally, individuals have little incentive to voluntarily provide public goods because they are reluctant to incur private cost for everyone to benefit from their contribution, and they may believe others would contribute to this public good. Still, the provision of public goods is a social dilemma which relies on a tradeoff between individuals’ self-interests and collective interests. This makes individual behavior worthwhile study ng in such a context where stakeholders (citizens, farmers, forest owners, NGOs, policy-makers) interact one with another to provide public goods. While the provision of public goods has widely been studied in the literature, we focus on two issues which are few or not tackled.

1- We aim to investigate the way stakeholders’ preferences shape themselves over private and public goods: this is what we call the structure of preferences or payoffs. By structure of preferences, we mean: how do private and public environmental goods combine in providing wellbeing to a given stakeholder? Are these goods perceived as rather complements or substitutes within stakeholders’ preferences? In economics, the widespread assumption is that private and public goods are perfectly substitutable, which seems restrictive. Related to our application, forests both provide soil quality as a public good and wood used for private purposes (e.g. building, heating). Forest owners and citizens for example may have a different perception of the relationship (substitutability or complementarity) between the benefits they get from forest soil quality (e.g. lower acidification) and wood production. How can we determine this underlying relationship and how does it affect forest soil quality and the services it provides to society?

2- We aim to evaluate the efficiency and social acceptability of policy instruments when it comes to reducing the use of pesticides which severely affects biodiversity. While efficiency has widely been studied, social acceptability may play a role as important as efficiency in the decision process and especially regarding its consequences after implementation (e.g. strikes postponing or canceling the policy implementation). This research question will be applied to the reduction of the use of pesticides in the agricultural field since there is a large range of policies (and associated instruments) both at the national and European levels that can be explored.


Project leader

Jessica Coria -

Department of Economics
jessica [dot] coria [at] economics [dot] gu [dot] se (jessica[dot]coria[at]economics[dot]gu[dot]se)
+46 31 786 48 67

Collaborating researchers

Postdoc: Marion Dupoux (Department of Economics, University of Gothenburg) -

Cecilia Akselsson (Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science) -

Benjamin Ouvrard (Toulouse School of Economics) -

Climate change has been heralded as presenting agriculture with opportunities, particularly a longer growing season, new crops and higher yields. However, the risks associated with crop production will increase if the weather (e.g., daily rainfall and temperatures) becomes more variable, because it could bring about more frequent dry or wet conditions, as well as more intense weather events. Conserving soil biodiversity (natural capital) and associated supporting ecosystem services (ES) can though provide farmers and society in general with insurance against future risks.

Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services as Insurance against risks of Future Weather Variability -


Project leader

Mark Brady -

AgriFood Economics Centre, SLU
mark [dot] brady [at] agrifood [dot] lu [dot] se (mark[dot]brady[at]agrifood[dot]lu[dot]se)
+46 722 370429

Collaborating researchers

Postdoc: Nils Droste (Department of Political Science) -

Wilhelm May (Centre for Environmental and Climate Science) -

Yann Clough (Centre for Environmental and Climate Science) -

Katarina Hedlund (Department of Biology) - 


The overall goal of this project is to enable stakeholders, including beekeepers, crop growers, land managers and policy makers, to manage agricultural landscapes to support healthy pollinator populations and reliable pollination service delivery. Animal pollinators, mostly bees, provide pollination services to the majority of flowering plants and benefit crop yields. The agricultural sector relies heavily on synthetic pesticides to protect crops from pest damage and this reliance is predicted to increase in a future warmer and wetter climate. Already now, each decade is warmer than the preceding and precipitation over northern Europe is increasing. It has been shown that increased precipitation and warmer weather will result in increased pest pressure and per area pesticide use in major crops, resulting in increased pesticide exposure to bees foraging in agricultural landscapes.

This project aims to identify and quantify the effects of pesticide exposure (risks) and forage availability (benefits) to bees so that agricultural landscapes can be managed for healthy bee populations and reliable pollination services. A landscape quality index of forage resources and pesticide use will be created and validated against pollen collected from honeybees and bumblebees situated within red clover fields. This validated landscape quality index will then be related to the health of the bee colonies in these fields and the pollination services that they provide. These findings will provide farmers with a better understanding of the impacts that their management practices may have and beekeepers with information on the best locations for their bees.

Evaluating Indirect Effects of Climate Change on Pollinators and Pollination Services through Pesticide Exposure -


Project leader

Maj Rundlöf -

Department of Biology
maj [dot] rundlof [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se (maj[dot]rundlof[at]biol[dot]lu[dot]se)
+46 46 222 95 61

Collaborating researchers

Postdoc: Jessica Knapp (Department of Biology) -

Björn Klatt (Department of Biology) -

Ullrika Sahlin (Centre for Environmental and Climate Science) -

Loss of biodiversity is largely driven by increased landscape simplification and increased land-use intensity in production landscapes. Although both drivers of biodiversity loss are conceptually well-known, there is a general lack of tools to describe land-use intensity at spatial scales relevant to determinants of biodiversity, in particular regarding mobile organisms utilising multiple habitats across landscapes. 

Possibilities to develop indicators of land-use intensity on relevant spatial scales have constantly improved in terms of grain accuracy, exemplified by the recently launched Sentinel-2 satellites for high-resolution remote sensing. While these methods now have the potential to revolutionise research in landscape ecology, remote sensing methods have been underutilised because of lack of communication between researchers in landscape ecology and remote sensing (Pettorelli et al. 2014). This project will bridge this gap by identifying ecologically relevant indicators of land-use intensity based on cutting-edge methods in remote sensing and other GIS sources to analyse responses in biotic communities. 

Apart from (1) fostering collaboration between ecology and physical geography and significantly advancing research in landscape ecology, we will (2) synthesise the literature on consequences of increasing land-use intensity on biodiversity, with a particular focus on the pros and cons of different ways to measure land-use intensity, and (3) facilitate the development of a tool integrating various sources of land-cover and land-use intensity with the intention to benefit future research in landscape ecology and related disciplines in BECC. 


Project leader

Johan Ekroos -

Centre for Environmental and Climate Science
johan [dot] ekroos [at] cec [dot] lu [dot] se (johan[dot]ekroos[at]cec[dot]lu[dot]se)
+46 46 222 86 30

Collaborating researchers

Postdoc: Hakim Abdi ((Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science) -

Lars Eklundh (Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science) -

Lars Pettersson (Department of Biology) -

Åke Lindström (Department of Biology) -

Peter Olsson (Centre for Environmental and Climate Science) - 

Recent studies have predicted dramatic declines in biodiversity in the face of projected climate change and habitat destruction1. However, these studies have primarily been based on models of species’ current climatic tolerances, which disregards life’s evolving capacity. A better understanding of historical responses to the challenges and opportunities of climate and landscape changes may allow “hindcasting” life’s response to change in the past and forecasting how it may respond to future change. This project applied recently developed statistical approaches, robust time-calibrated phylogenetic trees, rich species occurrence data, and remote sensing techniques to develop a general predictive framework for biodiversity responses. Our approach (learning from the past to predict the future) was transdisciplinary and has been seldom explored. We contribute to BECC’s mission by providing empirical validation of novel methodology with potential for designing strategies for conservation and landscape planning.

Integrating past and future models to mitigate the impact of global change on biodiversity -


Project leader

Alexandre Antonelli -

Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg
alexandre [dot] antonelli [at] bioenv [dot] gu [dot] se (alexandre[dot]antonelli[at]bioenv[dot]gu[dot]se)
+46 703 98 95 70

Collaborating researchers

Postdoc: Nicolas Chazot (now at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences) -

Christine Bacon (Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg) -

Rutger A Vos (Institute of Biology, Universiteit Leiden) -

Niklas Wahlberg (Department of Biology) -

Johan Ekroos (Centre for Environmental and Climate Science) -

The aim of this project was to predict how plants will adapt their flowering times to climatic changes.
Specifically we have:


  • enhanced life-history theory for plants by taking into account temperature and daylength as cues to control flowering times in seasonal environments.
  • validated the theory in growth experiments at different latitudes with five lines of barley differing genetically in their use of these cues.
  • tested the predictions using four plant species which include rare or invasive taxa. Our long-term vision is a genetically informed life-history theory that can be applied in climate adaptation and mitigation, e.g. to;
  • predict outcomes of assisted colonization of threatened species by identifying regions where they may thrive, become invasive or face unsuitable climates.
  • assist crop plant breeding or selection among existing cultivars by predicting which flowering time strategies will maximize yields in different regions.
  • help to understand adaptations of invasive species, which are often phenologically distinct and may have range limits caused by daylength requirements.


Project leader

Jacob Johansson -

Department of Biology
jacob [dot] johansson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se (jacob[dot]johansson[at]biol[dot]lu[dot]se)
+46 708275247

Collaborating researchers

Postdoc: Shakhira Zakhrabekova (Department of Biology) -

Mats Hansson (Department of Biology) -

Stefan Andersson (Department of Biology) -

Åslög Dahl (Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg) -

Anna Maria Jönsson (Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science) -


Northern peatlands are one of the main terrestrial carbon reservoirs and a key feature of the boreal landscape. Current climate change threatens the functioning of these ecosystems and hence the fate of their carbon reservoir is highly uncertain; e.g. mires in Southern Sweden have shrubified in the past 100 years for unknown reasons.

The diversity of plant communities in mire ecosystems reflects the mosaic of their microtopographic features. We can assume that the differences in the quality of the organic material provided by different plant communities is reflected in the diversity of microbial communities. These microbial communities are responsible for processing carbon compounds and as such control to a large part the greenhouse gas (GHG) budgets of mires.
The change in vegetation and associated microbial communities can thus alter the GHG budgets of mire ecosystems. Of these, especially methane (CH4) is of great importance, as it partially counteracts the mitigating effect of increased carbon dioxide (CO2) uptake. Wetland ecosystems are the largest source of methane in Sweden and the largest natural source globally.

The mosaic-like nature of wetland vegetation results in spatially varying CH4 emissions. Similarly, the responses of vegetation communities to changing climate occur in this mosaic.
The main aim of the proposed project was to better constrain methane emissions from the microtopographic mosaic of the mire ecosystem and to upscale it from microbial community level to ecosystem and landscape scale.

Sources and sinks of methane in wetland ecosystem using multi-scale flux measurements, stable carbon isotope signal and microbial genomics –


Project leader

Janne Rinne -

Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science
janne [dot] rinne [at] nateko [dot] lu [dot] se (janne[dot]rinne[at]nateko[dot]lu[dot]se)
+46 46 222 40 19

Collaborating researchers

Postdoc: Patrik Vestin (Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science) - 

Natascha Kljun (Centre for Environmental and Climate Science) -

Lena Ström (Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science) -

Leif Klemedtsson (Department of Earth Sciences, University of Gothenburg) -

Johannes Edvardsson (Department of Geology) -


The aim of the project was:

  • To develop experimental protocols that will allow the characterization of organic colloids in field samples exposed to minimal manipulation using X-ray scattering and X-ray absorption techniques at the MAX IV synchrotron facility.
  • To characterize the colloidal properties of organic matter in water from different landscapes elements, and thereby make connections between environmental factors and the properties of colloidal organic matter.
  • To explore temporal effects in colloidal organic matter.
  • To follow the variation of colloidal organic matter in a complete catchment area.
  • To determine the mutual effects of the interactions between Fe and colloidal organic matter, and their influence on organic matter transport and Fe redox chemistry.


Project leader

Per Persson -

Centre for Environmental and Climate Science
per [dot] persson [at] cec [dot] lu [dot] se (per[dot]persson[at]cec[dot]lu[dot]se)
+46 46 222 17 96

Collaborating researchers

Postdoc: Viktoriia Meklesh (Centre for Environmental and Climate Science) -

Anders Tunlid (Department of Biology) -

Ulf Olsson (Department of Chemistry) -

Growing evidence shows that tropical forests are highly sensitive to climate change and variability. There are pronounced negative effects of warm and dry conditions during El Niño years (Lewis et al. 2011). Unusually warm and dry years have become more common lately, probably explaining the decline of the Amazon carbon sink since the early 1990s (Brienen et al. 2015). These negative effects of hot and dry conditions on tropical forest biomass were caused by increased tree mortality rather than by decreased productivity of living trees. Improved understanding of the causes of tropical tree mortality is thus critical for more reliable predictions of the global carbon cycle in a changing climate. 

The mechanisms causing drought-induced tree mortality is a matter of intense debate in the literature (McDowell et al. 2011). Two competing hypotheses suggest that it is either primarily caused by hydraulic failure of the water conducting tissue and subsequent desiccation, or by stomatal water-saving responses leading to decreased photosynthesis and subsequent tissue carbohydrate starvation. Controlled experiments have shown that both mechanisms may trigger tree mortality, and that they are highly interdependent. However, we still know little regarding why trees in nature die under dry and hot conditions. What are the functional traits predisposing trees to mortality? Do the same traits control both heat- and drought-induced mortality? Can tree mortality be predicted by a relatively simple trait-based model, suitable for future incorporation into dynamic vegetation models? 


Project leader

Johan Uddling -

Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg
johan [dot] uddling [at] bioenv [dot] gu [dot] se (johan[dot]uddling[at]bioenv[dot]gu[dot]se)
+46 703 88 13 57

Collaborating researchers

Postdoc: Eric Mirindi Dusenge - (Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg) -

Göran Wallin (Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg) -

Dan Metcalfe (Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science) -

Donat Nsabimana (Environment, University of Rwanda) -

The aim of this research project was to explore stories about forests and examine the potential power they have to generate political, economic and social responses to the challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss in the Swedish forests. Through focusing on desire and grief, and the potentially conflicting stories they generate, we explored new ways by which ecosystems services can be understood and engaged.

Woodworlds – Stories of desire and grief in Swedish forests -


Project leader

Johannes Stripple -

Department of Political Science
johannes [dot] stripple [at] svet [dot] lu [dot] se (johannes[dot]stripple[at]svet[dot]lu[dot]se)
+46 46 222 04 88

Collaborating researchers

Postdoc: Alexandra Nikoleris (Environmental and Energy Systems Studies, LTH) -

Anna Maria Jönsson (Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science) -

Paul Miller - (Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science) -

Johan Uddling (Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg) -

Action Groups

Soil as a tool for climate change mitigation: can it really buy us the time that we need?

Action Group leader:

Edith Hammer (Department of Biology) -

Soil as a tool for climate change mitigation: can it really buy us the time that we need? -


Aquatic-terrestrial interactions in agricultural landscapes 

Action Group leader:

Björn Klatt (Department of Biology) - 

Aquatic-terrestrial interactions in agricultural landscapes -


V-Bio: Assessing the link between biodiversity and democracy

Action Group leaders: Alexandre Antonelli and Allison Perrigo

A methodological road map to value changes in forest ecosystem services under alternative

Action Group leaders: Giuliana Zanchi and Mark Brady

A methodological road map to value changes in forest ecosystem services under alternative –

Microbial responses to drought and drought cycles in soil (MICRODRY)

Action Group leader: Johannes Rousk

Microbial responses to drought and drought cycles in soil (MICRODRY) –

Identifying gaps and priorities in Arctic environmental research

Action Group leader: Dan Metcalfe

Identifying gaps and priorities in Arctic environmental research –

Evidence relying on simulation models and expert judgment

Action Group leader: Ullrika Sahlin

Evidence relying on simulation models and expert judgment –

Initiating collaboration between BECC and ESG

Action Group leaders: Kristin Aleklett and Maja Essebo

EnviroSync (Synchrotron applications in environmental sciences)

Action Group leader: Edith Hammer

EnviroSync (Synchrotron applications in environmental sciences) –

Towards more reliable estimates of past climates applicable for ecosystem modelling. Integrating proxy based climate reconstructions with GCM simulations

Action Group leader: Anneli Poska

Assessing the Impact of Climate Change on Plant Ecosystems Across Time and Space

Action Group leaders: Alexandre Antonelli and Johan Uddling

Nutrient weathering from rocks

Action Group leader: Louise Andresen

Nutrient weathering from rocks –

Stakeholder Interaction in Research Processes

Action Group leader: Daniel Slunge

Multifunctional landscapes: trade-offs between ecosystem services in farmland

Action Group leader: Tina D'Hertefeldt

Consequences of phenological shifts for wild and managed ecosystems in Sweden

Action Group leader: Jacob Johansson

Constraints on range-shifts: consequences for conservation strategies

Action Group leader: Nils Cronberg

Arctic tree line dynamics: drivers, consequences and challenges

Action Group leader: Anna Ekberg

Land-sea interactions in a long time perspective

Action Group leaders: Anneli Poska and Anne Birgitte Nielsen

Microbial control of global biogeochemical cycles (MICROGLOBE)

Action Group leader: Johannes Rousk

Sustainable forestry in a changing climate

Action Group leaders: Cecilia Akselsson and Per Bengtson

Constraints on range-shifts: consequences for conservation strategies

Action Group leader: Fredrik Haas

Scenarios and climate data

Action Group leader: Veiko Lehsten

Multifunctional landscapes: trade-offs between ecosystem services in farmland

Action Group leader: Klaus Birkhof

Effects of ozone, carbon dioxide and temperature on crops and forests in a global change perspective

Action Group leader: Johan Uddling

Monitoring Forests and the Effects of Forestry Governance in a Changing Climate – an interdisciplinary analysis of ecological, social and economic implications

Action Group leader: Fariborz Zelli and Fredrik Lagergren

The influence of climate change and forest management on nutrient cycling and N leaching - an integrated empirical and modelling approach

Action Group leader: Nicholas Rosentstock

Land-sharing vs. land-sparing in a changing climate: consequences for ecosystem services and biodiversity

Action Group leader: Johan Ekroos

Data assimilation and multi-model integration

Action Group leader: Johan Lindström