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Lenka Kuglerová

Lenka Kuglerova
I am a senior lecturer in forest management with the focus on riparian and aquatic ecosystems. I study the interaction of terrestrial and aquatic processes and how they drive ecosystem services, forest production, species diversity, distribution of organisms, and biogeochemical cycling. In the applied aspect of my research I focus on how are these interactions threatened by land development, including forestry, across multiple spatial scales. My long-term goal is to is to contribute to the best-management-practices around streams and rivers in order to sustain healthy waters. 


In my research I address numerous topics:


Every stream and river has its riparian zone - the narrow fringe of forest directly adjacent to water. In my research I am looking at the factors which drive species diversity, soil biogeochemistry and hydrology in riparian ecosystems. I am interested in how connectivity of rivers interact with species traits for dispersal and changes in downstream abiotic processes, to determine riparian plant metacommunity structure. I study riparian ecosystems in forested watersheds to understand the basic ecological links between physical habitat and its communities but I am also expanding my questions to watersheds modified by various land use such as forestry, agriculture and urbanization.


A large part of my research focuses on the effect which groundwater has on riparian processes and communities and on the physical and biogeochimical regimes of small streams. Riparian zones with groundwater discharge - i.e., where groundwater table reaches the soil surface and creates a seepage - are often associated with more fertile soils, and more diverse plant communities compared to non-discharge locations. These focal wet hotspots have also disproportional control over stream water quality and quantity because they deliver substantial amount of the surface flow despite that they cover onely a small fraction of the riparian zone. In my research I study the ecological and biogeochemical importance of groundwater discharge for riparian and aquatic processes, communities and ecosystem services across local and downstream cumulative scales. 


The standard mitigation measure to protect freshwater ecosystems during forest harvest is the retention of riparian buffers. Buffers are known to be somewhat effective in water protection and thus they are required in forestry plans. However, current guidelines for buffer designs are vague and based on simple classifications (e.g. streams size). Mine and others research has shown that riparian corridors are heterogeneous in both biotic and abiotic aspects across small spatial scales and thus, fixed-width uniform buffers can fail to protect riparian and freshwater ecosystem integrity.  Variable-width buffers should be thus accepted as standard practice and their design should be based on hydrology within the riparian zone as well as other ecological aspectis (such as species composition), retaining wider buffers at discharge and narrower buffers at non-discharge areas. Together with this, buffer management can emulate natural disturbances such as wind throws and insect outbreaks, to resemble the most naturally looking and functioning riparian forests. Finally, in the managed forests of Sweden, riparian buffers are often composed of mature spruces that easily blow down, which poses further disturbances to the streams. My applied reserach aims to find out the best solution for riparian buffer configuration in boreal managed frorests. Further, small streams are often compromised when it comes to allocation of riparian buffers and they experience various disturbances due to e.g., complete riparian canopy removal, blowdowns of remaining trees, or machine driving, which triggers number of negative impacts on water quality, quantity and ecological communities. It is starting to be increasingly evident that compromising buffers along the smallest streams also poses threats to downstream environments. Thus, allocation of protective measures downstream might be misplaced, if water from upstream headwaters arrives already impaired. 


2021 - Docentship in Skoghushållning (forest management)

2018-2021 - Associate Senior Lecturer at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Ecology and Management, Umeå, Sweden

2015-2017 - Postdoctoral fellow at University of British Columbia, Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, Vancouver, Canada

2015-2016 - Postdoctoral associate at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Ecology and Management, Umeå, Sweden

2015 - Doctoral Degree in Ecology, Umeå University, Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Umeå, Sweden

2010 - Master of Science in BiologySwedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Ecology and Management, Umeå, Sweden

2008 - Bachelor of Landscape StudiesFaculty of Environmental science, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Prague, Czech Republic


PhD students at the dept. (co-supervisor): Stefan Ploum (finished), Johanes Larsson, Artis Besc

Master students (main supervisor): Anna Jonsson, Eric Lundqvist, Gustaf Nilsson, Ruben Baan Hofman

Selected publications

Kuglerová, L., Nilsson, G. & Hasselquist, E. M. 2023. Too much, too soon ? Two Swedish case studies of short-term deadwood recruitment in riparian buffers. Ambio 52. 

Chellaiah, D., and L. Kuglerová. 2021. Are riparian buffers surrounding forestry-impacted streams sufficient to meet key ecological objectives? A Swedish case study. Forest Ecology and Management 499.

Hasselquist, E., L. Kuglerová, J. Sjögren, J. Hjältén, E. Ring, R. A. Sponseller, E. Andersson, J. Lundström, et al. 2021. Moving towards multi-layered, mixed-species forests in riparian buffers will enhance their long-term function in boreal landscapes. Forest Ecology and Management 493.

Kuglerová, L., Hasselquist, E.M., Sponseller, R.A., Muotka, T., Hallsby, G., Laudon, H., 2021. Multiple stressors in small streams in the forestry context of Fennoscandia: The effects in time and space. Sci. Total Environ 756.

Ploum, S. W., J. A. Leach, H. Laudon, and L. Kuglerová. 2021. Groundwater, soil, and vegetation interactions at Discrete Riparian Inflow Points ( DRIPs ) and implications for boreal streams. Frontiers in Water 3.

Kuglerová, L., Jyväsjärvi, J., Ruffing, C., Muotka, T., Jonsson, A., Andersson, E., Richardson, J.S. 2020. Cutting Edge: A comparison of contemporary practices of riparian buffer retention around small streams in Canada, Finland, and Sweden. Water Resource Research 56.

Kuglerová, L., Hasselquist, E., Richardson, J. S., Sponseller, R., Kreutzweiser, D., Laudon, H. 2017. Management perspectives on Aqua incognita: connectivity and cumulative effects of small natural and artificial streams in boreal forests. Hydrological Processes - Invited commentary, 31: 4238-4244 ,(Shared first authorship). 

Kuglerová, L., García, L., Pardo, I., Mottiar, Y., Richardson, J. S. 2017. Does leaf litter from invasive plants contribute the same support of a stream ecosystem function as native vegetation? Ecosphere 8(4):e01779. 10.1002/ecs2.1779

Tiwari, T., Lundström, J., Kuglerová L., Laudon, H., Öhman, K., Ågren, A. 2016. Cost of riparian buffer zones: A comparison of hydrologically adapted site-specific riparian buffers with traditional fixed widths. Water Resource Research, 52: 1-14.

Kuglerová, L., Jansson, R., Sponseller, R. A., Laudon, H., Malm-Renöfält, B. 2015. Local and regional processes determine plant species richness in a river-network metacommunity. Ecology 96: 381-391.

Kuglerová, L., Ågren, A., Jansson, R., Laudon, H. 2014. Towards optimizing riparian buffer zones: Ecological and biogeochemical implications for forest management. Forest Ecology and Management 334: 74-84.

Kuglerová, L., Jansson, R., Ågren, A., Laudon, H., Malm-Renöfält, B. 2014. Groundwater discharge creates hotspots of riparian plant species richness in a boreal forest stream network. Ecology 95: 715-725.

Schelker, J., Kuglerová, L., Eklöf, K., Bishop, K., Laudon, H. 2013. Hydrological effects of clear-cutting in a boreal forest – Snowpack, dynamics, snowmelt and streamflow responses. Journal of Hydrology 484: 105-114.



Senior Lecturer at the Department of Forest Ecology and Management; Department of Forest Ecology and Management, joint staff
Telephone: +46907868313
Postal address:
Skogens ekologi och skötsel
901 83 Umeå
Visiting address: Skogsmarksgränd 17, Umeå