In recent decades, forests in Sweden have been threatened by new and emerging pests and pathogens. European ash is one of several noble broadleaved tree species that has been affected by introduced fungal diseases. The disease commonly known as ash dieback is largely threatening the existence of ash populations across Europe but especially in the Nordic region. Currently, interactions of tree health, climate change and ungulate browsing are important subjects in mitigating biodiversity loss. Ash is a highly-valued timber tree species that has ecological and cultural importance in natural and urban environments. The research program “Save the Ash”, managed by Skogforsk and SLU, aims to develop a more resistant population of European ash for the future.
The PhD project focuses on the regeneration and restoration of European ash. The project will generate new knowledge on the status of ash regeneration in natural stands that have been chronically affected by the ash dieback disease and in new plantations with propagated genotypes phenotypically selected for high tolerance to the invasive fungal pathogen. The project also aims to establish strategies for forest owners to guide restoration efforts in areas where the disease has caused significant damage and mortality.
The PhD student will be included in the research teams with a focus on forest pathology and silviculture. The research group in forest pathology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Alnarp studies the biology, ecology and epidemiology of endemic and exotic invasive forest pathogens. Our work focuses on disease control and the interactions of trees with fungi and fungal-like (oomycete) organisms, including host symbioses and tree defence mechanisms. We conduct molecular diagnostics and host-chemical analyses to better understand the infection and resistance biology of trees. The research group in silviculture studies the regeneration and management of noble broadleaves in the temperate and south-boreal forests. New and old forest experiments are the core study objects for explaining regeneration success, tree growth and stand development. The successful applicant will have excellent opportunities to work with other international collaborators.
The applicant should by the date of admission to PhD studies have a M. Sc. degree in silviculture, forest pathology, forest management or related forest sciences. Other beneficial qualifications are experience in conducting silviculture or regeneration surveys, ability to work independently in the field, skills in GIS and R-statistical analysis, and good communications skills with fluency in written English and Swedish. A drivers license is a necessity for the work duties. Attached to application should be: 1) curriculum vitae, 2) copies of degrees and transcripts of academic records, 3) link to, or copy of master thesis, and 4) two listed references with email addresses. Also attached to application should be: 5) a written motivation or reflection, of maximum one A4-page written in Swedish or English. The motivation shall discuss the student’s personal interest in the topic of this study and in silviculture of noble broadleaves and/or forest pathology in general.
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