Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation allocates SEK 272 million to a strategic research initiative on forestry research at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).
"Sweden is a forested country, and the forest is significant in many aspects of our society. In order to produce and harvest forests sustainably, our understanding of the forest ecosystem must increase," says Peter Wallenberg, Chair Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.
The forest has played, and continues to play, a crucial role for Sweden and its inhabitants. The use of the forest has become an issue that concerns many, where the balance between forest production and conservation has received increased attention.
The growth in Swedish forests has shown a significant decrease in the last 15 years. The reasons are unclear, but a changing climate is likely a key factor, with more intense autumn storms, drought, pests, etc.
To conduct both sustainable forestry and secure the biological diversity of the forest, a comprehensive basic research program is needed. This program should address the large and complex questions while new analysis tools are being developed. Therefore, the initiative spans from the diversity within individual species to the diversity of entire forest landscapes.
"The future forestry must, to a greater extent than today's forestry, rely on a scientific understanding of the processes that govern the structure, species composition and function of the forest ecosystem," says Sara Mazur, Executive Director Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.
The biodiversity of the forest describes the richness within individual species, between different species, and across entire landscapes. Protecting and maintaining this biodiversity is a prerequisite for continued use of the ecosystem services that our forests naturally provide. Regardless of whether the focus is on carbon storage, climate regulation, water purification, recreation or pollination, the forest and its biological diversity play an important role. Therefore, preserving the biological diversity of the forest must be considered an integral part of all forestry, as vital and well-functioning ecosystems are fundamental for all long-term activities and life in the forest.
The initiative entails Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation allocating SEK 272 million to the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences for research on the future use and conservation of forests.
"I am extremely grateful that Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation provides SLU with the opportunity to contribute to the future bioeconomy, through basic research in an initiative that is so extensive that it enables the complex system perspectives needed for success. More knowledge about our significant forest resources and sustainable forestry is of central importance for Sweden," says Maria Knutson Wedel, Vice Chancellor at SLU.
Five Research Groups and a New Research School
The grant includes an allocation of SEK 75 million for five recruitment packages where new research groups will be established with a focus on forest management and biodiversity in terrestrial and aquatic environments, tools for structural and functional biodiversity assessment, mapping biodiversity using eDNA, and genetic biodiversity in relation to forest management. SEK 50 million is allocated for an extension until 2030 of the ongoing research programs Future Silviculture and Forest Biology and Biotechnology.
Furthermore, SEK 147 million is allocated to a new research school within Future Silviculture, where more than 50 doctoral students, including 14 industry doctoral students, will be trained.
Peter Wallenberg Jr, Chair, Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation
Phone: 08-545 017 80
Sara Mazur, Executive Director, Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation
Phone: 08-545 017 80
Maria Knutson Wedel, Vice Chancellor at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Phone: 018-67 15 00