Previous research projects

SNS-118: Ecological effects of intensive biomass harvesting in the Nordic and Baltic countries (2013-2014)
Project leader: Nicholas Clarke, Skog og Landskap, Norway,
Financing: 200,000 DKK in 2013 and 300,000 DKK in 2014
In conventional timber harvesting, branches, tops and stumps are left in the forests. Removal of these parts for bioenergy may have ecological consequences. As a large part of the nutrients in trees are located in the needles and branches, removing these will reduce nutrient supply to the soil. In the long term, this might both increase the risk for nutrient imbalance and reduced forest production and affect biodiversity by changing species composition. However, field experiments have found contrasting results for both soil chemistry and ground vegetation.
There is a need for more knowledge about which factors determine these differences, or of how variation in these factors affects long-term site sustainability. In the Nordic and Baltic countries, much work has already been done on these problems, and further integration of the knowledge obtained in the countries has the potential for greatly increasing our understanding of the mechanisms responsible. In a long-term perspective, the project results will contribute to sustainable forestry and thus assist in protection of the environment where forest is harvested for bioenergy production.
The two overall aims of the project are:
– To build a Nordic-Baltic database and use it for doing a meta-data-analysis in order to quantify the ecological effects of forest biomass harvesting in the Nordic/Baltic countries on: (i) soil nutrient stores, (ii) soil carbon stores, (iii) quality and quantity of soil, surface and ground waters, and (iv) biodiversity.
– To write a review paper about the obtained results.
Annual Report 2013
Final Report
Final Economic Report
Policy Brief


SNS-117: Preventive and restorative measures to reduce damage on forests – Phythoptora diseases in focus (2013-2015)
Project leader: Jan Stenlid, SLU, Sweden,
Financing: 300,000 DKK/year for 3 years
During the last century, epidemics of pathogens from the genus Phytophthora have destroyed forest ecosystems worldwide, causing both enormous economic losses as well as significant ecological damage. Phytophthoras are especially unpredictable due to inherent capacity to rapidly adapt and change behavior (host jumps and hybridization). There is a strong association between the worldwide spread of these pathogens and plant trade via nurseries.
Phytophthora diseases pose emerging threat for forests of North Europe. On the other hand, as the pathogens prevailingly originate from forest nurseries and are transferred to forests with infected planting material, this provides opportunity for disease prevention and restoration of infested sites. Yet, in order to do this, identity of the pathogens and their distribution must be known.
The project has roots in the SNS pilot project ‘Risk assessment and establishment of a system to address potential pathogens in Nordic forestry as a result of climate change’ and interacts with the SNS-EFINORD financed ‘Nordic and North-European network Phytophthora diseases of forest trees’. The project aim is to assess the identity and distribution of Phytophthoras in key pathosystems, and to elaborate on preventive and restoration measures.
Annual Report 2013
Annual Report 2014
Scientific Article by Redondo et al 2015
Economic Report
Final Report


SNS-116: Exploring novel oxidative biocatalysts for tailored wood fibre modification (2013-2015)
Project leader: Vincent Eijsink, Universitet for miljø- og biovitenskap, Norge,
Project partners: Claus Felby, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and Maija Tenkanen, University of Helsinki, Finland,
Financing: 300,000 DKK/year for 3 years
The forest industry is needed if we are to create a future bio-economy because it can both deliver renewable energy and materials. This needs, however, courageous research in areas that are likely to create new options for value-creation from wood. While the conversion of wood to renewable energy is already receiving much attention, value-creating wood applications in the area of fiber engineering and production of new biomaterials are not yet as widely explored, while they might in fact turn out to be of higher value.
One presently growing market is regenerated cellulose for films and fibers, which are estimated to replace increasingly cotton-based materials in textiles. There is much interest in applying nanofibers from wood pulp, in novel papers, films, composites, gels, foams, representing a second innovative application area. A third growing field concerns fiber-based packing materials, which are expected in the future to possess different functionalities, e.g. due to the application of innovative enzyme technologies. Clearly, new concepts for nanofiber formation and/or functionalization of cellulosic materials may find usage in a wide range of different applications.
The primary aim of the project is to bring together expertise and ongoing projects to create a platform for novel sustainable enzyme-based oxidation techniques for controlled modification of wood-derived fibers.
Annual Report 2013
Annual Report 2014
Final Economic Report
Final Activity Report


SNS-115: Workshop on the “Nordic forest sector in the biobased economy – challenges for political science and economics. Conceptual paper and special issue. (2013)
Project leader: Anders Ross, SLU, Sweden,
Financing: 355,000 DKK
Advancing toward a bioeconomy involves economic and policy challenges: designing of appropriate regulations, stimulating information exchange, getting incentives right, and supporting knowledge development. The private sector must, for its part, innovate green products and develop new competitive and sustainable business concepts. This warrants a better understanding of how policies and market forces shape conditions for the bioeconomy.
The economic and political sciences can advance the insights about these kinds of relationships, and consequently contribute to the adaptation of the forest sector to a bioeconomy. A Nordic workshop, and resulting publication, is one effective way to stimulate dialogue on this topic.
The workshop was held in Uppsala 28-29 August 2013. Read the workshop output: The transition to a biobased economy needs social science.
Policy brief
Final Activity and Economic Report


SNS-114: Risk assessment of new forest tree species
Project leader: Professor Erik Dahl Kjær, Forest & Landscape, University of Copenhagen.
Financing: 150.000 DKK for 1 year
This project is a desk study as described in the call – Short-term scientific projects within the Selfoss declaration on sustainable forestry.
The project will review, compile and discuss knowledge from Norway, Sweden and Denmark regarding the trade-off between ecological risk and the usefulness of exotic tree species in the context of climate change. The project will also review policies form Iceland and Finland for comparisons.
Final scientific report
Final report


SNS-113: Risk assessment and establishment of a system to address potential pathogens in Nordic forestry as a result of climate change.
Project leader: Jan Stenlid, Professor in Forest Pathology, Biocenter, Department of Forest Mycology and Plant Pathology, SLU.
Financing: 149.000 DKK for 1 year
The anticipated changes in climate change, together with the globalisation of international trade in plant and wood products, is expected to lead to an increase in new introductions of forest pathogens in the Nordic and Baltic countries. Invasive forest pathogens (mostly fungal pests) have already caused a number of international catastrophes to forest trees all over the world. The best known case is Dutch Elm Disease which has devastated elm populations in both Europe and North America. Future threats to Nordic and Baltic forests influenced by climate change include Dothistroma needle blight and Doplodia shoot blight on pines and Phytophthora ramorum on multiple hosts. Even in a pathogen is already present in a country, disease severity may increase with changes in climate in the future.
In order to prevent future disease, it is important to improve disease monitoring and to understand the pathways by which pathogens can be introduced and spread. There are two main mechanisms by which pathogens can spread: natural pathways including the movement of fungal spores on air currents or by insect vectors and human-mediated pathways such as nursery stock or wood products. Any warning system developed to monitor the introduction of forest pathogens needs to examine both sets of pathways and understand the risks posed by each. This proposal aims to outline a comprehensive monitoring and warning system for forest pathogens in Nordic and Baltic countries to reduce the impact of forest disease in the future.
Final report


SNS-112: Improving market communication of wood products’ environmental values (pilot study)
Project leader: D.Sc. (Econ) Tarmo Räty, Metla – Finnish Forest Research Institute,
Financing: 340.000 DKK for 1 year
The pilot study will consider the views and deployment of Environmental Performance Measures (EPM) from both the supply and demand side of the wood markets. It will a) review EPMs that are currently being applied in the woodworking industry and in the industries they supply material for (e.g. construction) and b) compare EPMs with the other explicit and implicit environmental indicators that are generally used among different costumer groups and among influential stakeholders (e.g. ethical funds, ENGOs) and government agencies.
In this pilot research the consortium will also develop the main project proposal that will assess potential use of environmental performance measures of wood product markets in a number of Baltic and central-European countries.
Download the full working paper “Communicating the Environmental Performance of Wood Products” here.
Final report
Executive summary


SNS-111: Forest preferences as affected by field layer characteristics (2011-2013)
Project leader: Anders Busse Nielsen, SLU – Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences,
Financing: 111.000 DKK/year for 3 years
The aim is to conduct joint preferences studies in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Besides identification of preferences on a national level, this research approach will, for the first time in the Nordic countries allow for i) direct comparative analysis of preferences between Nordic countries and ii) synthesize results into a systematic knowledge-base about Nordic citizens’ forest preferences as affected by field layer characteristics.
Policy brief 
Final economic report
Final report


SNS-110: Leaching of carbon, nitrogen and phosporus from forest land in the Nordic and Baltic countries (2011-2013)
Project leader: Associate professor Lars Högbom, Skogforsk – The Forestry Research Institute of Sweden,
Financing: 370.000 DKK/year for 3 years
The overall aim is to quantify carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and phosporus (P) leaching in the Nordic and Baltic countries, in order to describe the background leaching from forest land as well as to quantify losses following various forest management operations (i.e. clear felling, site preparation, ditching, and ditch cleaning, N fertilisation and wood-ash recycling). These estimates will be based both on soil solution data in plot studies and run-off data from the catchment studies.
Policy and Research Brief
Final Economic Report
Final Report


SNS-109: Decline of Fraxinus excelsior in northern Europe (2010-2012)
Project leader: Rimvydas Vasaitis, SLU, Sweden,
Financing: 50.000 Euro/year for 3 years
The current spread of ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.) dieback is an alarming forest health problem, threatening the existence of the tree species in large parts of Europe. A new Nordic-Baltic project, supported by SNS, will increase our understanding of the disease and develop strategies for reducing its impact.
The first symptoms of ash decline were observed in the southern Baltic States in the mid-1990s. In 2002 the disease had been observed only locally in southern Sweden. However, in the summer of 2004 it spread throughout the south, towards western and central parts of the country. In 2003-2004, dieback was first noticed in Denmark, where it spread rapidly in 2005-2008. In 2007-2008, the disease had also emerged in Norway and Finland. Consequently, the epidemic is now in differing stages in different areas of northern Europe: an initial phase in Finland and Norway, peaking in Sweden and Denmark, and a post-decline (or chronic) phase in Latvia and Lithuania.
The fungus Chalara fraxinea has been demonstrated to be the causal agent of the dieback. It has recently been identified as a form of a common, decomposing fungus (Hymenoschyphus albidus), which is native and widespread in Europe, and known to decompose ash in the forest litter. It is not known why it has emerged, or become so aggressive. However, the pathogen could be an invasive hybrid, or an indigenous species that has become more virulent recently, possibly because the trees have been weakened by stresses, such as those associated with drought, changes in temperature or frost.
In a new project, a team of researchers from Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Lithuania and Latvia will:

  • Check the identity of the dieback-causing fungus Chalara fraxina, and assess its potential invasiveness
  • Investigate if climatic factors affect the development of the disease
  • Study the genetic structure, biology and epidemiology of the fungus
  • Suggest silvicultural management regimes for declining ash stands
  • Evaluate long-term phytosanitary consequences in regions devastated by the disease
  • Assess the degree of genetic variation in susceptibility of the Nordic ash population, in order to guide breeding programmes to counter C. fraxinea

Final Report Project
Final Economic Report


SNS-108: Satellite-based mapping of the growing season in northern Fennoscandia and neighbouring parts of Russia (2009-2011)
Project leader: Docent Anne Tolvanen,
Financing: 50.000 Euro/year for 3 years
Many recent phenological monitoring studies have shown that the timing of spring onset has advanced due to climate warming. This gradual climatic change may have considerable implications for plants’ growth and reproduction, especially in regions where plants grow near their distribution limits.
The project “Satellite-based mapping of the growing season in northern Fennoscandia and neighbouring parts of Russia” will develop new methods to map the onset and end of the growing season with the aid of satellite-image analysis. The study will cover changes in Northern Fennoscandia and adjacent parts of north-western Russia over the period 1982–2010. The output will be a time-series that should be valuable not only for seasonal studies, but also for developing tools for monitoring phenomena such as forest disturbances.
The project is a cooperation between Finland, Sweden and Russia.
Final report


SNS-107: Xylan modification for added value wood products (2009-2011)
Project leader: Docent Ewa Mellerowicz,
Financing: 50.000 Euro/year for 3 years
Wood hemicelluloses are some of the most important components of biomass on the Earth, constituting approximately 25% of total wood biomass. Xylan is the main hemicellulose in hardwoods, and it also occurs in softwoods. Thus, its structure is likely to have major effects on properties of raw wood materials, e.g. its pulping/delignification properties and mechanical parameters.
The project “Xylan modification for added value wood products” will utilize genetic engineering to modify the structure and content of xylan, and establish how these modifications affect wood properties. The modified xylan may be used to produce custom-tailored wood properties.
Aspen will be the main species used for the studies, which involve partners from Sweden, Finland and Denmark. The project is an extension of a previous project on poplar xylan within the Wood-Wisdom network.
Final project report


SNS-106 Askåterföring – långtidseffekter på trädtillväxt
Project leader: Ulf Sikström, Sweden.
Final report


SNS-105 Klimatförändringens potentiella påverkan på granbarkborren i Skandinavien
Project leader: Anna Maria Jönsson, Sweden.
Final report


SNS-104 Sustainable management of North European Forests (SuMaNEF), preparation of FP7 proposal, EU-aktivitet
Project leader: Johanna Witzell, Sweden.
Download the final report here.


SNS-103 Ny teknologi för förbättrad information om virkesresurser – utveckling av ett integrerat informationssystem
Project leader: Johan Holmgren, Sweden.
Download the final report here.


SNS-102 Environmental effects of shorter forest rotation in a landscape perspective
Project leader: Jan Weslien, Sweden.
Download final report here.


SNS-101 Forestry and use of wood to mitigate climate change
Project leader: Ljusk Ola Eriksson, Sweden.
Download status report here.

Project leader: Gudmundur Halldorsson, Iceland.
Download final report here.

SNS-99 A Permanent Mapping Population for genomics of Picea Abies
Project leader: Martin Lascoux, Sweden.
Download final report here.

SNS-97 Wood hemicelluloses for surface modification of fibrils
Project leader: Maija Tenkanen, Finland.
Download final report here.


SNS-96 Skörd av bioenergi i unga skoger
Project leader: Tomas Nordfjell, Sweden.
Download the final report here.

Project leader: Fredrika von Sydow, Sweden.
Download final report here.
Download evaluation of NOLTFOX here.


SNS-94 Estimation of carbon storage in forest biomass
Project leader: Karin Hansen, Denmark.
Download final report here.


SNS-92 Identifisering av ektomykorrhizasopp i Nordiske skoger
Project leader: Trude Vrålstad, Norway.


SNS-88 Structural timber quality in Norway spruce
Project leader: Björn Hannrup, Sweden.

SNS-87 Lärkvirkets härdighet vid använding av ovan mark
Project leader: Andreas Bergstedt, Denmark.


SNS-86 Nordisk IUFRO tynningseksperiment på nordisk gran
Project leader: Jens Peter Skovsgaard, Denmark.


Download a list of SNS Research Projects (SNS-1 to SNS-69)(pdf).

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