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Mari Jönsson

Mari Jönsson
Mari's research focuses on patterns and processes for biodiversity, mainly in forest environments. The research deals with the impact of forestry on biodiversity and the importance of various conservation measures. Currently, she coordinates projects on (1) the conservation benefits of aggregated tree retention and (2) the dynamics and functional diversity of saproxylic fungi in fragmented landscapes.


Associate Professor Mari Jönsson has a special interest in the ecology and conservation of tree-living lichens and wood-living fungi. She completed her PhD Thesis at Mid Sweden University on how natural and anthropogenic disturbance affect forest structure and processes, with particular emphasis on key biotopes and the dynamics of deadwood and wood fungi. During her postdoc at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) she studied the biodiversity of tree-living lichens in relation to tree epidemics and various environmental factors in traditionally managed, grazed, and unmanaged wooded meadows on the Island Gotland. In her current research at the Swedish Species Information Centre, SLU she has continued researching the conservation of forest biodiversity and the importance of various forest conservation measures (e.g. forest protection and restoration). Mari is also involved in research based on citizen science data from open-access websites such as Artportalen . She is part of a research group that develops and evaluates models for answering basic and applied research questions based on citizen data for different forest species.


Conservation benefits of aggregated tree retention: from patterns to processes. There is a great need to integrate biodiversity conservation and biomass production in boreal forests. Aggregated tree retention is now a widespread and accepted conservation practice in the Nordic countries and around the world, with the potential to promote biodiversity and natural values on a global scale. Yet, little is known about the importance of retention patch size and location for promoting biodiversity and conservation values of managed forests in the long term. Here, we aim to improve this situation by studying how variation in retention patch size, stand structure, ground moisture and microclimatic edge effects affect (1) abundance, species composition, survival, growth, vitality and establishment of mosses and wood fungi in and outside of retention patches, (2) the species composition of the fruiting and mycelial fungal community and their wood decomposition capacities, and (3) develop guidelines for the size, stand structure, and ground moisture that allows retention patches to function as life-boats for species from the preceding, older forest. We are especially interested in examining how species survival and establishment is affected by their conservation status and functional characteristics (e.g. niche breadth, climate tolerance), but also how the overall functional diversity is affected by retention patch size and location.

Metapopulation dynamics and functional diversity of saproxylic fungi in fragmented landscapes with contrasting land-use histories. Human-induced changes in land use are considered major threats to the long-term survival of numerous species. Successful conservation will critically depend on our ability to predict interactions between large-scale drivers such as land use and small-scale effects accounting for the characteristics of the local habitat and population. In this project, we will use long-term demographic data to model saproxylic fungal metapopulation dynamics in contrasting fragmented managed and unmanaged boreal forest landscapes, to  test the effect of land use, local habitat conditions and population characteristics, and simulate future saproxylic metapopulation dynamics and occupancy under different scenarios for existing (inter)national forest policy and management. Finally, we will test if species and functional-trait diversity of the saproxylic fungal community differ and change over time in old-growth forests fragments in managed and unmanaged forest landscapes, and test which environmental variables and functional traits that explains community trait differences and changes over time. The project is valuable for applied forest conservation and for basic understanding of land use influences on saproxylic organisms. The results will provide decision support for the management and conservation planning of red-listed species and fungal communities with high species and functional-trait diversity.




Researcher at the Swedish Species Information Centre; SLU Artdatabanken Terrestra ekosystem 1
Telephone: 018-672583

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