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Forest Research in the Boreal Biome

Photo: Christian Strømme

Photo: Christian Strømme

The research group Forest Research in the Boreal Biome conducts research on applied forestry as well as basic forest research. We are based in the department of forestry and wildlife, Evenstad. Evenstad (surrounded by extensive forests and recreation opportunities) is located in the heartland of forestry in Norway. Indeed, the region of Østerdalen is known for active forestry with strong forestry traditions. This is therefore a great place to study and do research about forests and forestry.

We are a young research group established in 2019. We carry out research in projects about sustainable use of forest resources and regulation of plant growth. You may also take a look at our scientific publications and disseminations. We work by collaborating with our outside network, and co-develop our research and education with other research and teaching institutions as well as industry.

In Evenstad, we offer bachelor studies in forestry and wildlife management in Norwegian. We offer studies in English too: master studies in Applied Ecology, where you may specialize in Forestry (and shorter studies. We are also working on a full master program in Forestry in English. Our PhD program in Applied Ecology and Biotechnology covers research education in forestry.


Growth effects of pine breeds

A large number of pine breeds (Pinus Sylvestris) plants from Swedish nurseries have been planted in Norway during the last years. The main objective of forest tree breeding is to enhance growth. The growth is documented in the nurseries, but the growth effect of breeds may change when plants are moved across altitudes or latitudes. So far, there are no quantifications of the growth effect of these breeds in Norway compared to using natural regeneration, another alternative for pine forest regeneration. This project will compare growth of plants from nurseries with naturally regenerated plants. We will use a set of forest stands in the Inland region in Norway that were regenerated with seeds from Swedish nurseries 10-20 years ago where there is also substantial natural regeneration. To classify plants as natural (local) or from nurseries, we extract and sequence DNA from the plants and identify epigenetic markers to determine differences in DNY methylation.

The project is financed by a Norwegian fund for forestry research, financed by Norwegian forest owners, Skogtiltaksfondet (450 000 NOK) and HINN. The project is owned by Glommen Mjøsen Skog SA. Professor in molecular biology Robert Wilson, Dept. of Biotechnology, and Hanne K. Sjølie will carry out the project from HINN. Nibio, The Norwegian Forest Seed Center, and the Forestry Research Institute of Sweden are collaborators in the project, and students will participate. The project runs in 2020-21.

Polyfores (Decision-making Support for Forest Ecosystem Services in Europe - Value Assessment, Synergy Effects and Trade-offs) 

People benefit in various ways from forest ecosystem, like from timber, food, energy, carbon, biodiversity and recreational opportunities. The aim of POLYFORES is to better understand trade-offs and synergies between different objectives of forest management. The project was granted 1.68M € by Sum Forest ERA NET and the consortium consists of partners from Austria, Belarus, Germany, Norway, Russia, Spain, and Sweden.

Monitoring in forestry using Remotely Sensed Multispectral Images from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

The project is a collaboration with University of Almería in Spain. The objective is to analyze whether processed multispectral images from drones are suitable to detect regeneration success in young stands after clear-cut. We use forest close to Evenstad as study sites. Project period: 2019-20.

RDI2Club (Rural RDI milieus in transition towards smart bioeconomy clusters and innovation ecosystems)

Funded by Interreg, with partners from Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Finland and Norway.

The objective of the project is to help rural areas in the Baltic Sea Region to reach their full potential in bioeconomy, by building capacity for transnational cooperation in innovation management and smart specialization in bioeconomy.

Methods for mapping of areas for commercial lichen collection.

The project is in collaboration with the company Norske Moseprodukter that collects lichen locally and processes the lichen into decoration products. The project is financed by Norske Moseprodukter and FORREGION. The overall objective is to test methods for mapping of areas that can be used for commercial lichen collection. Project leader: Vladimir Naumov. Project period: 2020. Other participants: Hanne Sjølie, Marcel Schrijvers-Gonlag.


The project will study how grazing in carnivore forests will affect a sustainable production of food and timber and increase the biodiversity. The project is funded by The Research Council of Norway. 


A project funded by Interreg (EU). You can read more about Biobord here: 

Education projects

GIS courseKompetanse Norge 2019-20. NOK 350 000 together with Skogkurs (Norwegian Forestry Extension Institute) to develop and offer a part-time course in GIS for people working with forestry and wildlife management. The course is in Norwegian and is offered winter 2019-2020. 

Digital outfield maps. Supported by Kompetanse Norge and offered first time winter 2020-21, in Norwegian. The objective is to equip the participants with skills to produce and share maps for various outfield user groups, like hunter, fishers and hikers. Together with Skogkurs (Norwegian Forestry Extension Institute).

Short learning Programme in GIS for public management of agricultural, forestry and outfield areas. Supported by DIKU and offered first time winter 2020-21, in Norwegian. The objective is to equip bureaucrats that work with public management of agricultural, forestry and outfield areas with more skills in the use of GIS databases and tools. In addition, we will test whether social media can function as a professional resource site for this group that is spread around the country. In collaboration with Skogkurs (Norwegian Forestry Extension Institute).

“Såkornmidler” NOK 150 000 from Inland Norway of Applied Sciences 2019, extended with NOK 100 000 for 2020, for changing the courses in the BA program in forestry into problem-based teaching. 

Project leader for the education courses: Hanne K. Sjølie

PhD projects

Analyses of economic and ecological sustainability in Norwegian forestry

The PhD project analyses strategies that ensure supply of multiple ecosystem services from productive forest in Norway and determine NIPF owners’ objectives and attitudes towards their forest. More specifically, the project is divided into four objectives:

  1. Determinants of Nonindustrial Private Forest Owners’ Willingness to Harvest Timber in Norway (
  2. Non-industrial private forest owners’ awareness of ecological attributes and attitudes towards nature and biodiversity conservation
  3. Model wood supply, net greenhouse gas emission and biodiversity in Norwegian forests in the forest sector model NorFor.
  4. Analyse trade-offs or synergies between wood supply, net greenhouse gas emission and biodiversity in Norwegian forests, and impacts of various forest management and conservation scenarios on carbon sequestration and storage potential of Norwegian forests.

Methods: The 1st and 2nd project objectives will be achieved by analysing a survey-based dataset collected in 2014. The survey instrument was developed with the aim of collecting comprehensive country-wide information on NIPF landowners’ property characteristics, economy, conservation and attitudes towards forest management. To accomplish the 3rd and 4th objective, the forest sector model NorFor will be used to perform scenario analysis.

PhD candidate: Altamash Bashir
Supervisors: Associate professor Hanne Sjølie (INN), Professor Birger Solberg (NMBU)

Projecting the future forest sector under different policy goals in Norway and Europe

Due to several reasons, including changes in agriculture and pasturage, extensive planting plans and switches of harvest strategies, the whole Europe, including Norway, has seen accumulation of standing timber volume, growing stock over the last few decades. The forest sector is high on the policy agenda in the EU and Norway, due to its ability to supply renewable materials and energy, forests’ ability to sequester CO2 and store carbon and providing habitats for a large number of species.

New regulations on environmental protection and the increased demand for bioenergy both trigger changes in forest management, with implications for timber supply, biodiversity and carbon sequestration. Also, surge in demand for wood for energy purposes may trigger imports with impacts on trade surpluses and overall climate change mitigation effects.

The overall aims of this project are to design and implement individual tree simulator to develop forest sector optimization models that can analyze and quantify tradeoffs between different objectives, like profitability, timber supply, climate change mitigation and biodiversity. This includes the study of impacts of alternative forest management systems on these complex interlinkages.

The forest data used for the initial stand of the simulation phase is based on the newest data available from the Norwegian National Forest Inventory (NFI) plots that cover all productive forests in Norway.

PhD candidate: Abbas Nabhani
Supervisors: Associate professor Hanne Sjølie (INN), Professor Maarit Kallio (NMBU), Dr. Elham Mardaneh (Curtin University)

Selected publications 

Price, C., Sjølie, H.K., Caurla, S., Yousefpour, R., Meilby, H., 2020. Optimal rotations with declining discount rate: incorporating thinning revenues and crop formation costs in a cross-European comparison. Forest Policy and Economics 118 (in press)

Strømme, C.B., Julkunen-Tiitto R, Sivadasan U, Lavola A, Olsen JE, Nybakken L (2015) UV-B and temperature enhancement affect spring and autumn phenology in Populus tremula. Plant Cell & Environment 38 DOI: 10.1111/pce.12338 

Strømme, C.B., Julkunen-Tiitto R, Olsen JE, Nybakken L (2017) The dioecious Populus tremula displays interactive effects of temperature and ultraviolet-B along a natural gradient. Environmental and Experimental Botany 146 DOI:10.1016/j.envexpbot.2017.09.013 

Bashir, A., Sjølie, H.K., Solberg, B. (2020). Determinants of Nonindustrial Private Forest Owners’ Willingness to Harvest Timber in Norway, Forests  11, 60.

Bashir, A., MacLean D.A., Hennigar C.R., (2019). Growth-mortality attributes and species composition determine carbon sequestration and dynamics of old stand types in the Acadian Forest of New Brunswick, Canada. Annals of Forest Science. 76:35

Bashir, A., MacLean D.A., 2015. Effects of species and hardwood-softwood mix on the balance of growth and mortality in old stands in New Brunswick, Canada. Forest Ecology and Management. 358: 192-201

Naumov, V., Manton, M., Elbakidze, M., Rendenieks, Z., Priednieks, J., Uhlianets, S., Yamelynets, T., Zhivotov, A., Angelstam, P. (2018). How to reconcile wood production and biodiversity conservation? The Pan-European boreal forest history gradient as an “experiment”. Journal of Environmental management, 218: 1-13.

Naumov, V., Angelstam, P., Elbakidze, M. (2017). Satisfying rival forestry objectives in the Komi Republic: effects of Russian zoning policy change on wood production and riparian forest conservation. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 47(10): 1339-1349.

Sjølie, H.K., Wangen, K.R., Solberg, B., Lindstad, B.H., 2019. The importance of timber prices and other factors for harvest increase among nonindustrial private forest owners Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 49(5): 543-552

Sjølie, H.K., Latta, G.S., Solberg, B, 2013. Potential impact of albedo incorporation in boreal forest sector climate change policy effectiveness. Climate Policy, 13(6): 665-679

Related courses

-        SKO2202 Foryngelseshogst

-        SKO2203 Produksjonsskog

-        6EV113 Økologi og mangfold

-        UTM1160 Ressurs- og miljøøkonomi

-        6EV153 GIS

-        6EV310 Concepts in ecology

-        MAOK4115 Forest inventory and modeling

-        MAOK4116 International Forest Policy and Economics