SLU news

Curiosity and interest was high on the annual meeting of SLU Forest Damage Centre’s Research school

Published: 24 November 2023
Welcome at annual meeting. Photo.

Lots of curios questions and high interest was expressed when the PhD-students of the research school met together with representatives from the forest sector for the first annual meeting on 15th and 16th of November.

On Tuesday evening both PhD students, supervisors and representatives from the forest sector was starting to arrive at Fredensborgs Herrgård in Småland to participate in SLU Forest Damage Centre Research school annual meeting starting at Wednesday morning.

The first day started with a welcome by Åke Olson responsible for the research school and Fredrik Klang research- and development manager at Sveaskog, which was the host for this year’s meeting. The day continued with a sprint presentation by the PhD students talking about their PhD work.

It was a broad presentation of research projects. Sezer Olivia Kaya, PhD student in Alnarp, presented a project on a future threat, the bronze birch borer, where she wants to provide knowledge on risk factors and develop a tool for early detection. Emil Bengtsson, PhD student in Ultuna, is looking into biology of new pathogens and how they could be managed in commercial scale for a sustainable forest industry. Sara Gore, PhD student in Umeå, are investigating how stand structure, species composition and forage availability interact with ungulate damage. How these damage develop over time and what cost this damage has to future yields in forestry. A total of 14 PhD students presented their work.

‒ It was really exiting to hear all the presentations by the PhD students and I’m glad that so many got to meet, discuss and exchange ideas during these days. This first annual meeting was really successful, says Åke Olson responsible for the research school at SLU Forest Damage Centre.

During the day the group also discussed future activities for the PhD students within the research school. Mentorship, different excursions and how to extend the exchange between organisation and research education was some examples that was brought up.

‒ We are pleased that the research school is now in full progress, and I was deeply impressed by the presentations. Highly relevant forest damage issues were covered in a wide range. We got a good overview of all the exciting projects that are ongoing and starting, and we will follow the research school with great interest, says Fredrik Klang at Sveaskog.

On the second day of the annual meeting the whole group headed out to forest sites own by Sveaskog to look at some findings of forest damage and to see an experiment that is led by Skogforsk. The experiment is trying to understand why abnormalities like multiple shoots and stems occur on seedlings. The excursion was appreciated among the group and Oskar Nilsson from Skogforsk got a lot of questions from the curios audience.

Annual meeting - possitive both among PhD students and sector 

‒ I have a background that is more in molecular biology, the excursion was really helpful for me to understand the more ecological side of it, says Annika Nordström PhD student in the department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology.

Many of the participants felt that the meeting was a great opportunity to meet, network and broaden the knowledge of challenges in the area.

‒ Very professional presentations from the PhD students, even those who had just started. Impressively well-informed and ready to discuss small and large questions about their subjects. Those who got further already had interesting results to offer, says Gisela Björse Forestry manager at Sveaskog.

The interaction between PhD students, researchers and the forest sector was also one of the things brought up as a highly positive element.

‒ Having stakeholders from Sveaskog and SCA comment on the presentations helped put everyone’s research into a broader context and showed applicability of the projects, says Lukas Graf PhD student in in the department of Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre.

‒ I thought the annual meeting was really nice. I especially liked the inclusion of leaders from several forest companies, so we could step out of the limits of academia and discuss different issues, says Matej Domevscik, PhD student in the department of Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre.

He continue to reflect on how most such conferences otherwise end up with academics talking to each other, which creates a confirmation bubble and how nice it was for the industry to actively show that they are interested in the work and these young researchers.


All the participating PhD student and their presentation:

Louisa Eurich - Assessment of bud flush and damage in young Norway Spruce trees through airborne high-resolution multispectral images

Annica Nordström - Landscape Breeding - A new paradigm in forest tree management

Beatrice Tolio - Chemotyping European and Asian Fraxinus: understanding host defense mechanisms associated with resistance against the ash dieback pathogen Hymenoscyphus fraxineus

Fredrika Wrethling - Forest heterogeneity and natural regulation of insect herbivores

Isak Ingerholt - Exploring Spruce Resistance against Heterobasidion spp

Alma Gustafsson Ruus - Plants for planting

Ida Rönnqvist - Continuous cover forestry and the risk of insect and ungulate damage

Sara López Fernández - Can we find new methods of forest health assessment applied to breeding?

Matej Domevscik - Effect of Drought and Pine Weevil Damage on Mechanically Protected Norway Spruce Seedlings

Lukas Graf - Micro to Macro - Ungulate forage at multiple scales and the effects of forage availability and ungulate densities on browsing damage

Freja De Prins - Factors influencing resin-top disease outbreaks in Scots pine

Emil Bengtsson - Infection biology and management of emerging diseases in tree seedling production

Sarah Gore - Future Yields- impacts of browsing on stand structure, forest growth and revenue in forestry

Sezer Olivia Kaya - Current and future risks to the productivity and quality of fast-growing broadleaves


Åke Olson, researcher
Department of Forest Mycology and Plant Pathology
Section for forest pathology, 018-671876