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Cecilia Akselsson

Biogeochemical cycles in forests

The research group “Biogeochemical cycles in forests” is a cooperation between this department, the Department of Physical Geography at Stockholm University and CEC at Lund University. We use empirical data together with the dynamic forest ecosystem model ForSAFE for two purposes - to develop process understanding about nutrient and carbon cycling in forests, and to address questions about future effects of climate change, different types of forest management and atmospheric deposition on soil chemistry, runoff water quality and tree growth. The SWETHRO monitoring network, managed by IVL, is an important platform in our work, and we have extensive and very fruitful cooperation with the SWETHRO group at IVL. The research falls within the strategic research area BECC (Biodiversity and Ecosystem services in a Changing Climate). One aim with our research is to provide mainly Swedish stakeholders, e.g. the Energy Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Forest Agency and the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management, with decision support.

Research group

Group members at the Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science:
-Cecilia Akselsson (Lecturer, group leader together with Salim Belyazid)
-Martin Erlandsson Lampa (Researcher)
-Veronika Kronnäs (PhD student)
-Klas Lucander (PhD student)
-Jörgen Olofsson (Researcher) 
-Giuliana Zanchi (Researcher)

Group members with other affiliations:
-Salim Belyazid (Lecturer, Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, group leader together with Cecilia Akselsson)
-Nick Rosenstock (Researcher, CEC, Lund University)
-Nadja Stadlinger (Post doc, Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University)
-Lin Yu (Post doc, Max Planck Institute, Jena)

On-going externally funded projects

Quantifying weathering rates for sustainable forestry, QWARTS. Strong research environment funded by FORMAS for the period 2012-2016, but with activities continuing also in 2017. Collaborators: Many researchers at SLU in Uppsala and Uppsala University.

Increased process understanding of the whole-tree harvesting experiments with the process based ecosystem model ForSAFE. Two-year project financed by the Swedish Energy Agency and BECC (mid 2016 – mid 2018). Collaborators: Bengt Olsson (SLU) and Håkan Wallander (CEC, Lund University).

Sustainable harvesting of biomass from forests - development of methods for sustainability analysis. Two-year project financed by the Swedish Energy Agency (2016 – 2017). Collaborators: Johnny de Jong (SLU), Per Erik Karlsson (IVL), Diana Tuomasjukka and Gediminas Jasinevičius (European Forest Institute, Joensuu).



I teach at various courses at this department and at CEC. My main teaching efforts are on two courses at this department - “An introduction to the global environment”, where I am the course coordinator and “Land surface processes and landscape dynamics”, where I am one of the main teachers.


Involvement in BECC

Since autumn 2016 I am leading one of the three challenge themes in the strategic research area BECC, the one about Ecosystem Services: “Mainstreaming [consideration of] ecosystem services into land use
decision-making under global change”. The vision of the theme is:

“…to be an internationally visible hub generating innovative transdisciplinary science studying and supporting the generation and use of ecosystem services and providing insights for decision making in a society facing global change.”  

You are very welcome to contact me if you want to discuss ideas related to this theme.     


Doctoral thesis:

Akselsson, C., 2005. Regional nutrient budgets in forest soils in a policy perspective. Doctoral thesis. Department of Chemical Engineering, Lund University. ISBN: 91-7422-076-4.


Peer-reviewed publications:

de Jong, J., Akselsson, C., Egnell, G., Löfgren, S., Olsson, B., 2017. Realizing the energy potential of forest biomass in Sweden - how much is environmentally sustainable? Forest Ecology and Management 383, 3-13.

Akselsson C., Olsson J., Belyazid S., Capell R., 2016. Can increased weathering rates due to future warming compensate for base cation losses following whole-tree harvesting in spruce forests? Biogeochemistry 128, 89-105.

Zanchi G., Belyazid S., Akselsson C., Yu L., Bishop K., Köhler S., Grip H., 2016. A Hydrological Concept including Lateral Water Flow Compatible with the Biogeochemical Model ForSAFE. Hydrology 3 (11), 1-19.

Yu, L., Belyazid, S., Akselsson, C., van der Heijden, G., Zanchi, G., 2016. Storm disturbances in a Swedish forest - A case study comparing monitoring and modelling. Ecological Modelling 320, 102-113.

Hellsten, S., Stadmark, J., Pihl Karlsson, G., Karlsson, P.E., Akselsson, C., 2015. Increased concentrations of nitrate in forest soil water after windthrow in southern Sweden. Forest Ecology and Management.356, 234-242.

Zanchi, G., Belyazid, S., Akselsson, C., Yu, L., 2014. Modelling the effects of management intensification on multipleforest services: a Swedish case study. Ecological Modelling 284, 48-59.

Stendahl, J., Akselsson, C., Melkerud, P-A., Belyazid, S., 2013. Pedon-scale silicate weathering: comparison of the PROFILE model and the depletion method at 16 forest sites in Sweden. Geoderma 211-212: 65-74.

Karlsson,  P.E., Ferm, M., Tømmervik, H., Hole, L., Pihl Karlsson, G., Ruoho-Airola, T., Aas, W., Hellsten, S., Akselsson, C., Nørgaard Mikkelsen, T., Nihlgård, B., 2013. Biomass burning in eastern Europe during spring 2006 caused high deposition of ammonium in northern Fennoscandia. Environmental Pollution 176: 71-79.

Bahr, A., Ellström, M., Akselsson, C., Ekblad, A., Mikusinska, A., Wallander, H., 2013. Growth of ectomycorrhizal fungal mycelium along a Norway spruce forest nitrogen deposition gradient and its effect on nitrogen leakage. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 59: 38-48.

Hellsten, S., Helmisaari, H-S., Melin, Y., Skovsgaard, J.P., Kaakinen, S., Kukkola, M., Saarsalmi, A., Petersson, H., Akselsson, C., 2013. Nutrient concentrations in stumps and coarse roots of Norway spruce, Scots pine and silver birch in Sweden, Finland and Denmark. Forest Ecology and Management 290: 40-48.

Akselsson, C., Hultberg, H., Karlsson, P.E., Pihl Karlsson, G., Hellsten, S., 2013. Acidification trends in south Swedish forest soils 1986-2008 – slow recovery and high sensitivity to sea-salt episodes. Science of the Total Environment 444: 271-287.

Pihl Karlsson, G., Akselsson, C., Hellsten, S., Karlsson, P.E., 2011. Reduced European Emissions of S and N – Effects On Air Concentrations, Deposition and Soil Water Chemistry In Swedish Forests. Environmental Pollution 159: 3571-3582.

Akselsson, C., Belyazid, S., Hellsten, S., Klarqvist, M., Pihl-Karlsson, G., Karlsson, P.E., Lundin, L., 2010. Assessing the risk of N leaching from Swedish forest soils across a steep N deposition gradient in Sweden. Environmental Pollution 158: 3588-3595.

Akselsson, C., Westling, O., Alveteg, M., Thelin, G., Fransson, A-M., Hellsten, S., 2008. The influence of N load and harvest intensity on the risk of P limitation in Swedish forest soils. Science of the Total Environment 404: 284-289.

Berg, B., Gundersen, P., Akselsson, C., Johansson, M-B., Nilsson, Å., Vesterdahl, L., 2007. Carbon sequestration rates in Swedish forest soils - a comparison of three approaches. Silva Fennica 41 (3): 541-558.

Akselsson, C., Westling, O., Sverdrup, H., Holmqvist, J., Thelin, G., Uggla, E., Malm, G., 2007. Impact of harvest intensity on long-term base cation budgets in Swedish forest soils. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution: Focus 7: 201-210.

Akselsson, C., Westling, O., Sverdrup, H., Gundersen, P., 2007. Nutrient and carbon budgets in forest soils as decision support in sustainable forest management. Forest Ecology and Management 238: 167-174.

Akselsson, C., Holmqvist, J., Kurz, D., Sverdrup, H. 2006. Relations between elemental content in till, mineralogy of till and bedrock mineralogy in the province of Småland, southern Sweden. Geoderma 136: 643-659.

Akselsson, C., Sverdrup, H., Holmqvist, J., 2006. Estimating weathering rates of Swedish forest soils in different scales using the PROFILE model and affiliated databases. Journal of Sustainable Forestry 21: 119-131.

Akselsson, C., Berg, B., Meentemeyer, V., Westling, O., 2005. Carbon sequestration rates in organic layers of boreal and temperate forest soils — Sweden as a case study. Global Ecology and Biogeography 14: 77-84.

Akselsson, C., Westling, O., 2005. Regionalized nitrogen budgets in forest soils for different deposition and forestry scenarios in Sweden. Global Ecology and Biogeography 14: 85-95.

Akselsson, C., Holmqvist, J., Alveteg, M., Kurz, D., Sverdrup, H., 2004. Scaling and mapping regional calculations of soil chemical weathering rates in Sweden. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution: Focus 4: 671-681.

Akselsson, C., Ardö, J., Sverdrup, H., 2004. Critical loads of acidity for forest soils in the northern Czech Republic. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 98: 363-379.

Akselsson, C., Westling, O., Örlander, G., 2004. Regional mapping of nitrogen leaching from clearcuts in southern Sweden. Forest Ecology and Management 202: 235-243.

E-mail: cecilia.akselsson [at]

Senior lecturer

Dept of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science

+46 46 222 86 89

+46 70 389 19 25


Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science
Lund University
Sölvegatan 12
S-223 62 Lund