Project title: Side-by-side comparison of the effects of management of old forest ditches on water quality: cleaning vs. ecological restoration vs. left alone
Millions of hectares of northern peatlands have been drained for forestry, with new estimates of up to 1 million km of ditches in Sweden alone. Drainage has increased forest productivity in some, but not all areas. The future fate of these drainage ditches can be to: 1) clean them to ensure continued drainage, 2) ecologically restore them to a more natural state, or 3) leave them alone. Most research on peatland forestry and, in particular ditch cleaning and ecological restoration of peatlands, has been done in Finland and our goal is to do a side-by-side comparison of these three different management options in Sweden with the goal of determining their effects on water quality and quantity. Thus, more informed decisions can be made about how Sweden can sustainably manage our forests to ensure high water quality and forest productivity.
We are seeking a highly motivated PhD student to coordinate this side-by-side experiment and complement it with laboratory work that will study the effects of different soil water levels in a controlled environment. Field work will take advantage of both the infrastructure associated with the long-term Krycklan Catchment Study (www.slu.se/Krycklan) and the nearby GRIP on LIFE Integrated EU Life Project where various forestry management scenarios are being tested for their effects on water quality. There is also the opportunity for the student to travel to Finland to work for a few months to participate in laboratory experiments and article writing.
The proposed work could apply a broad spectrum of hydrological and ecosystem ecology measurements – e.g. discharge, biogeochemistry, soil microbial processes, plant ecophysiology and/or plant diversity – to survey how headwater streams and waterways in boreal forests are impacted by clear-cutting, ditch cleaning, and ecological restoration. This will involve intensive summer fieldwork about an hour drive north of Umeå, Sweden, and periods of laboratory work and sample analysis.
The PhD student should start in April or May of 2019, but starting date is flexible for the right candidate. This position is fully funded for four years with the expectation that she or he will complete a PhD-degree within this time. There may be potential to extend the length of the PhD contract with teaching, but the successful candidate is expected to be primarily researched based. The PhD student will be under the supervision of Hjalmar Laudon and Eliza Maher Hasselquist, at the Department of Forest Ecology and Management, SLU in Umeå, Sweden and will work closely within an international group of researchers with diverse expertise.
You will find more information and how to apply at: https://www.slu.se/om-slu/lediga-tjanster/?rmpage=job&rmjob=1830&rmlang=SE
The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) develops the understanding and sustainable use and management of biological natural resources. The university ranks well internationally within its subject areas. SLU is a research-intensive university that also offers unique degree programmes in for example rural development and natural resource management, environmental economics, animal science and landscape architecture.
SLU has just over 3,000 employees, 5,000 students and a turnover of SEK 3 billion. The university has invested heavily in a modern, attractive environment on its campuses in Alnarp, Umeå and Uppsala.
SLU is an equal opportunity employer.