Doctoral student in Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science

Lund University
Lund, Sweden
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
Not Specified
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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Lund university, Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top 100 universities. The University has 40 000 students and 7 400 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

The Faculty of Science conducts research and education within Biology, Astronomy, Physics, Geosciences, Chemistry, Mathematics and Environmental Sciences. The Faculty is organized into nine departments, gathered in the northern campus area. The Faculty has approximately 1500 students, 330 PhD students and 700 employees.

Forest management faces major challenges due to climate change. The demand of wood based products and bioenergy is continuously increasing, while continued carbon storage in the forest is important for achieving the climate goals. Increased pressure on forests will, however, lead to conflicts between biomass production and multiple ecological and social values.

To be able to make decisions in the forestry sector, which takes into account several different ecosystem services that relate to production, biodiversity, water quality and social values, it is not enough to study a separate stand or property. Several of the values, e.g. biodiversity and water quality, require a landscape perspective, since stand- and property boundaries are not acting as boundaries for those values. Methods and tool for using a landscape perspective in the study of trade-offs between different values are, however, not available.

Job assignment

The PhD student will study the effects of alternative forest management strategies on carbon sequestration, biomass production, biodiversity and soil- and water quality. In the alternative management strategies, areas with different management intensities and forest fuel harvesting, as well as protected areas, will be differently distributed in the forest landscape.

Hässleholm municipality in southern Sweden will be used as the case study area. An important starting point of the project will be to collect geographical data for the municipality, with stand- or property level as the smallest unit. Based on this mapping, alternative management strategies at a landscape scale will be developed together with stakeholders from the municipality.

The forest decision support tool Heureka will be a central tool for quantifying biomass production and also, to some extent, carbon sequestration and conservation values, for the chosen management strategies. Heureka will be supplemented with dynamic models, statistical tools and GIS tools to cover other ecosystem services and biodiversity. An important part of the project will be to identify suitable tools and models. Towards the end of the project, an overall analysis of synergies and conflicts between various ecosystem services will be carried out. The results will be presented and discussed with the stakeholders.

The project is interdisciplinary and brings together three departments, represented by the three supervisors. The main supervisor Cecilia Akselsson is affiliated with the department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science, which will be the home department of the PhD student. The co-supervisors are Henrik Smith, Centre for Environmental and Climate Research (CEC), Lund University, and Renats Trubins, Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Alnarp.

The position is one of six PhD-positions that are partly financed by the strategic research area BECC (Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in a Changing Climate). BECC is an interdisciplinary research environment at Lund and Gothenburg universities where researchers from several disciplines within science, social science and economy, together work with questions about biodiversity, ecosystem services and climate change.

Desirable skills and qualifications

  • Candidates must have an advanced university degree (M.Sc. or equivalent experience/competence) in physical geography, environmental science, ecology, forest science, environmental engineering or similar. Since the research is interdisciplinary, a genuine interest in linking different research fields is required.
  • An important part of the work will be in managing geographic data as well as using different ecosystem models. Experience in GIS, ecosystem modelling or other types of computer modelling is therefore considered important merits.
  • Proficiency in written and spoken English is a requirement. Communication with Swedish stakeholders will be included in the project, and therefore also proficiency in Swedish is a merit.
  • The application should include a letter that describes your academic career so far, as well as your motivation in applying for this particular PhD studentship. It should also include a curriculum vitae (CV), copies of degrees and transcripts of academic records, copies of theses, and the complete contact information for two academic references.


Students with basic eligibility for third-cycle studies are those who

  • have completed a second-cycle degree
  • have completed courses of at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits are from second-cycle courses, or
  • have acquired largely equivalent knowledge in some other way, in Sweden or abroad.

Basis of assessment

The employment of doctoral students is regulated in the Swedish Code of Statues 1998: 80. Only those who are or have been admitted to PhD-studies may be appointed to doctoral studentships. When an appointment to a doctoral studentship is made, the ability of the student to benefit from PhD-studies shall primarily be taken into account. In addition to devoting themselves to their studies, those appointed to doctoral studentships may be required to work with educational tasks, research and administration, in accordance with specific regulations in the ordinance.

Type of employment

Limit of tenure, four years according to HF 5 kap 7§.

Lund University welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We regard gender equality and diversity as a strength and an asset. We kindly decline all sales and marketing contacts.