I am originally from the UK but have been living in Sweden for many years. After graduating with a MSc degree in biology from Umeå University, I worked for a County Administration Board’s conservation department in western Sweden. My work included field surveys of threatened species and habitats (e.g. in Natura 2000 areas) as well as studies of historical changes of semi-natural grassland. In 2013 I completed my PhD at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Uppsala. The focus of my PhD research was the relationships between field- and landscape-scale agricultural land use patterns and farmland birds in Sweden. After my PhD, I was involved in projects that aimed to quantify the effects of biofuel harvest (forestry residues such as tree stumps and slash) on dead-wood dependent beetles, and also completed post-doc positions at Newcastle University, UK (together with Professor Mark Whittingham) and SLU, Uppsala. I am currently working with national and regional environmental monitoring projects focused on farmland habitats (småbiotoper) and grasslands in Sweden.
Selected research interest
Environmental monitoring including spatial and temporal patterns of grasslands and non-crop habitats in or around arable fields
Can soundscape recordings be used to efficiently monitor wildlife and measure habitat quality?
Can ecosystem service arguments be used for the effective motivation of biodiversity conservation? Is this line of argument a help or a hinder?
No one can deny that ecosystem services are important, but with many political platforms now relying on ecosystem services to drive through conservation policy we ecologists need to help provide quantitative evaluation of Biodiversity - Ecosystem Service (BES) relationships. I am attempting to quantify a range of ways we humans might put values on species (using farmland birds as a focus group). Once species have been scored to reflect intrinsic, aesthetic and utilitarian values I will investigate how species and communities contribute to multiple values. For example: are species of special conservation interest also highly valued for other uses? Are there trade-offs and synergies spatially in how species assemblages provide different functions, values and services? Do we find the most multi-functional species communities in certain landscapes?
Our recently published research is discussed on the TV and inspired a poetry competition
Hiron, Pärt, Siriwardena, Whittingham. Species contributions to single biodiversity values under-estimate whole community contribution to a wider range of values to society. Scientific Reports, 2018; 8 (Open access at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-25339-2)
BBC Springwatch presenters Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan, inspired by our recent paper, thoughtfully discussed different values of biodiversity in a conservation context. Unfortunately, the clip is currently not available online.
A summary of the research is also available on the BTO website
Poetry competition (in Swedish)
Wildlife Society Article
Regional miljöövervakning i landskapsrutor - Remiil (remiil.se)
I am currently involved in the Horizon 2020 project: Developing SUstainable PERmanent Grassland systems and policies (SUPER G).
Francksen, R. M., Turnbull, S., Rhymer, C. M., Hiron, M., Bufe, C., Klaus, V. H., ... & Whittingham, M. J. (2022). The Effects of Nitrogen Fertilisation on Plant Species Richness in European Permanent Grasslands: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Agronomy, 12(12), 2928.
Schils, R. L., Bufe, C., Rhymer, C. M., Francksen, R. M., Klaus, V. H., Abdalla, M., ... Hiron, M., & Price, J. P. N. (2022). Permanent grasslands in Europe: Land use change and intensification decrease their multifunctionality. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 330, 107891.
Hultgren, J., Hiron, M., Glimskär, A., Bokkers, E. A., & Keeling, L. J. (2022). Environmental quality and compliance with animal welfare legislation at Swedish cattle and sheep farms. Sustainability, 14(3), 1095.
Rosin, Z. M., Pärt, T., Low, M., Kotowska, D., Tobolka, M., Szymański, P., & Hiron, M. (2022). Village modernization and reduced abundance of farmland birds: Why compensation for lost nesting sites may not be enough. Conservation Letters, 15(2), e12879.
Rosin, Z. M., Pärt, T., Low, M., Kotowska, D., Tobolka, M., Szymański, P., & Hiron, M. (2021). Village modernization may contribute more to farmland bird declines than agricultural intensification. Conservation Letters, e12843.
Shaw, T., Hedes, R., Sandstrom, A., Ruete, A., Hiron, M., Hedblom, M., ... & Mikusiński, G. (2021). Hybrid bioacoustic and ecoacoustic analyses provide new links between bird assemblages and habitat quality in a winter boreal forest. Environmental and Sustainability Indicators, 100141.
Klaus, V. H., Whittingham, M. J., Báldi, A., Eggers, S., Francksen, R. M., Hiron, M., ... & Buchmann, N. (2020). Do biodiversity-ecosystem functioning experiments inform stakeholders how to simultaneously conserve biodiversity and increase ecosystem service provisioning in grasslands?. Biological Conservation, 245, 108552.
Josefsson, J., Hiron, M., Arlt, D., Auffret, A. G., Berg, Å., Chevalier, M., ... & Pärt, T. (2020). Improving scientific rigour in conservation evaluations and a plea deal for transparency on potential biases. Conservation Letters, 13(5), e12726.
Rosin, Z. M., Hiron, M., Żmihorski, M., Szymański, P., Tobolka, M., & Pärt, T. (2020). Reduced biodiversity in modernized villages: A conflict between sustainable development goals. Journal of Applied Ecology, 57(3), 467-475
Berg, Å., Cronvall, E., Eriksson, Å., Glimskär, A., Hiron, M., Knape, J., ... & Öckinger, E. (2019). Assessing agri-environmental schemes for semi-natural grasslands during a 5-year period: can we see positive effects for vascular plants and pollinators?. Biodiversity and Conservation, 28(14), 3989-4005.
Ranius, T., Hämäläinen, A., Sjögren, J., Hiron, M., Jonason, D., Kubart, A., ... & Jonsell, M. (2019). The evolutionary species pool concept does not explain occurrence patterns of dead-wood-dependent organisms: implications for logging residue extraction. Oecologia, 191(1), 241-252.
Matthew Hiron, Tomas Pärt, Gavin M. Siriwardena, Mark J. Whittingham. Species contributions to single biodiversity values under-estimate whole community contribution to a wider range of values to society. Scientific Reports, 2018; 8 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-25339-2 (Open access at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-25339-2).
Hiron, M., Jonsell, M., Kubart, A., Thor, G., Schroeder, M., Dahlberg, A., ... & Ranius, T. (2017). Consequences of bioenergy wood extraction for landscape-level availability of habitat for dead wood-dependent organisms. Journal of Environmental Management, 198, 33-42.
Josefsson, J., Berg, Å., Hiron, M., Pärt, T., & Eggers, S. (2016). Sensitivity of the farmland bird community to crop diversification in Sweden: does the CAP fit?. Journal of Applied Ecology.
Hiron, M., Berg, Å., Eggers, S., Berggren, Å., Josefsson, J., & Pärt, T. (2015). The relationship of bird diversity to crop and non-crop heterogeneity in agricultural landscapes. Landscape Ecology, 30(10), 2001-2013.
Berg, Å., Wretenberg, J., Żmihorski, M., Hiron, M., & Pärt, T. (2015). Linking occurrence and changes in local abundance of farmland bird species to landscape composition and land-use changes. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 204, 1-7.
Hiron, M., Rubene, D., Mweresa, C. K., Ajamma, Y. U., Owino, E. A., & Low, M. (2014). Crop damage by granivorous birds despite protection efforts by human bird scarers in a sorghum field in western Kenya. Ostrich, 85(2), 153-159.
Josefsson, J., Berg, Å., Hiron, M., Pärt, T. & Eggers, S., 2013. Grass buffer strips benefit invertebrate and breeding skylark numbers in a heterogeneous agricultural landscape. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 181, 101–107.
Hiron, M., Berg, Å., Eggers, S., Josefsson, J., Pärt, T., 2013. Bird diversity relates to agri-environment schemes at local and landscape level in intensive farmland. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 176, 9–16.
Hiron, M., Berg, Å., Eggers, S., Pärt, T., 2013. Are farmsteads over-looked biodiversity hotspots in intensive agricultural ecosystems? Biol. Conserv. 159, 332–342.
Hiron, M., Berg, Å, Pärt, T., 2012. Do skylarks prefer autumn sown cereals? Effects of agricultural land use, region and time in the breeding season on density. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 150, 82–90.
Berg, Å., Hiron, M., 2012. Occurrence of Corncrakes Crex crex in mosaic farmland landscapes in south-central Sweden – effects of habitat and landscape structure. Bird Conserv. Int. 22, 234–245.
Hiron, M., Rangel-Salazar, J. L., & Christensen, B., 2006. Coexistence of resident and migratory Catharus thrushes in a montane forest reserve of the northern Neotropics: on habitat use and morphology. Ornitologia Neotropical, 17(3).
Reports in Swedish
Hiron, M., 2006. Ängs- och hagmarker i Västra Götalands län – vad har hänt på 15 år? Rapport 2006:74
Hiron, M., 2006. GRÖNYTA och BEBYGGELSE- metod och kartläggning i tätorter: Rapport 2006:71
Super G: Collaboration
Schils, R. L., Newell Price, P., Klaus, V. H., Tonn, B., Hejduk, S., Hiron, M., ... & Korevaar, H. (2020). European permanent grasslands mainly threatened by abandonment, heat and drought, and conversion to temporary grassland. In Proceedings of the 28th General Meeting of the European Grassland Federation (Vol. 25, pp. 553-555). Wageningen Academic Publishers.
Tonn, B., Bausson, C., Ten Berge, H., Buchmann, N., Bufe, C., Eggers, S.,...Hiron, M ... & Newell Price, P. (2020). A management-based typology for European permanent grasslands. In Proceedings of the 28th General Meeting of the European Grassland Federation (Vol. 25, pp. 412-414). Wageningen Academic Publishers.