Letter from the Dean

Last changed: 03 July 2020
Portrait photo of Torleif Härd

Biodiversity is NJ's strength

This time of the year you want to enjoy biodiversity. At the time of writing, I enjoy the diversity of the summer meadow at Sennerbytorget outside my window. Much of my attention during the winter and spring has also been devoted to biodiversity and I want to talk about this. Ecology, nature conservation, environmental science and biodiversity are some of the faculty's absolute strength areas and together surely comprise somewhere between 30 and 40 percent of the faculty's activities. It is also here that we do much of our collaboration, mainly collaboration with other authorities, but also with the public through the news flow. This collaboration received very good reviews in the research evaluation KoN 2018.

Recently, however, there has been turbulence for biodiversity in Sweden and at SLU. The Riksdag's budget for 2019 meant very strong cuts for environmental and nature conservation. This indirectly affected SLU when grants to the Swedish Species Information Centre (Artdatabanken) and the Center for Biological Diversity (CBM) from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency were cut down. It's really sad. Some seem to have been restored in the spring change budget, but at the time of writing it is unclear how it affects us.

But there are also positive things to tell. Admittedly, the IPBES report released in May is a gloomy reading about the state of the world (IPBES stands for The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services). But the impact that biodiversity has made in the after-debate is encouraging and important. Sweden and SLU are represented in the panel by Torbjörn Ebenhard at just CBM. In May, biodiversity, often with Torbjörn involved, was discussed daily in Swedish media. It is really gratifying and puts SLU and our faculty on the map.

With this, I would like to thank all friends and employees for another nice half-year as Dean. You really are a great asset and I wish you a great summer! I would also particularly like to thank outgoing Vice-Chancellor Karin Holmgren for her hard work during the spring and because she has been a good and engaging boss! At the same time, I would like to welcome new entrants Maria Knutson Wedel. Warm welcome, Mia, and good luck as Vice-Chancellor!

Torleif Härd

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