The SITES infrastructure offers unique opportunities to study productive systems primarily linked to agriculture and forestry. Researchers can study intensive forestry and new cultivation systems within agroecosystems. In addition, there are 1600 forest experiments throughout Sweden, together with several agriculture experiments, mainly at Lönnstorp and Röbäcksdalen stations.

The issues vary widely, and include growth, recreation, biodiversity, bioenergy, reduced soil preparation, damage and diseases.

Read more about what the Asa, Grimsö, Lönnstorp, Röbäcksdalen, Skogaryd and Svartberget stations can offer you as researcher.

ASA

Asa research park, approximately 1000 ha, runs traditional experiments relating to forest management and production. An important part of the research activities is linked to regeneration issues, with challenges such as insect damage (for example, pine weevil), wildlife and frost. Other examples are various types of thinning experiments, studies of continuity forest, experiments examining the production potential of spruce, and tree species experiments, where survival and production for different species, both domestic and exotic, are studied in comparative experiments. Another experiment is very carefully measuring growth of young spruce forest on ten plots. Stem growth and litterfall have been measured weekly since 1992, as well as groundwater depth and soil moisture on the plots during the growing season.
 
Asa high-yield production forest, approximately 1500 ha, is an area where the goal is to increase wood production by 50%. It offers a unique opportunity to study the effects of intensive forestry from a production perspective and in relation to the environment. Environmental measurements takes place of, for example, water quality and element transport resulting from fertilisation. The tools used to increase production are fertilisation of young forest, inverse scarification, use of genetically improved plant material and certain introduced tree species, and specially adapted thinning programmes. All measures are carried out alongside the normal silvicultural practices throughout the stand. The activities started in 2009.
 
Anaboda research area comprises mire and coniferous forest. The area has been used since 1994 for research and environmental measurements related to effects of long-range air pollution. The specialisation is ecosystem studies at catchment level, with determination of water balances, chemical element budgets and effects on biota, particularly vegetation, and studies of soil processes. The results are used to develop and test models focusing on effects of climate and forestry on forest status. The research area is very suitable for experimental studies of status, processes and dynamics in the different developmental phases of the natural forest, and as a reference to conventional and intensively used forest in, for example, Asa’s research and high-yield forests.

GRIMSÖ

Grimsö’s 1600 ha area includes management and monitoring of natural resources, including wildlife ecology issues relating to management. Together with population dynamics, surveys of habitats and grazing and browsing damage can be linked to issues relating to management methods.

LÖNNSTORP

Lönnstorp offers infrastructure for conducting both short- and long-term experiments on Sweden’s most fertile agricultural land. The soil is light, comprising 15% clay and 3% earth. The main rotation in the conventionally cultivated agricultural land involves autumn wheat, sugar beet, spring barley and autumn rape. In the organic part, spring wheat is grown with an alfalfa/grass mixture, alfalfa/grass ley, autumn rape, autumn wheat with an alfalfa/grass mixture, and broad bean grown together with barley. Wheatgrass is also grown, from seeds of a new perennial grass that is similar to wheat but that has approximately half its thousand-kernel weight. It should be possible to grow the crop for up to fifty years without any need for soil preparation.

A new facility, SAFE (SITES Agroecological Field Experiments), has been set up for research into future cultivation systems, and will be available for use for many types of studies, such as in plant and soil ecology and agroecology.

At Lönnstorp, two experiments are examining simultaneous growth of leguminous plants and, for example, peas and barley.  Lönnstorp has also been used to study, for example, diversification of cultivation systems, reduced soil scarification, and bioenergy crops.

RÖBÄCKSDALEN

Röbäcksdalen offers researchers access to unique agricultural environments in northern Sweden. A large number of both short- and long-term (up to 50 years) experiments are running at Röbäcksdalen. These include official experiments examining varieties of ley, cereal crops and potatoes in several different long-term experiments with, for example, different fertilisation levels, soil preparation methods, and crop rotations.

One example of long-term experiments concerns single-crop farming, which is investigating the effect on crop yield, quality and health of the plots and as part of crop rotations. Long-term experiments are also examining the effect of crop rotation on the soil. Experiments are examining non-inversion soil preparation systems (reduced preparation or ploughing-free cultivation), humus balance and liming. Röbäcksdalen’s new facility for research into different future strategies for a resource-efficient agriculture offers good opportunities for studies of sustainability and agroecology in future cultivation systems.

Individual researchers and other stakeholders also set up experiments that the research station carry out. Researchers are also offered access to data and archived samples of crops and soil from the long-term experiments.

SKOGARYD

Skogaryd has three main forest areas. On the clear-cut site, long-term measurements are made of greenhouse gases (CO2 and CH4) and energy balances, to quantify and understand the overall effects of forest management on the climate system.

In the forest area growing on drained fertile organic soils, experiments are being carried out to investigate whether rewetting the most fertile soils can significantly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Here, research is testing reduction alternatives instead of traditional forestry.

Skogaryd’s third forest area is on mineral soil, and promotes biogeochemical/physiological forest ecosystem studies in connection with global changes, process modelling and remote sensing. The forest is newly planted, so new roots or stumps from earlier forest cannot affect the C-balance studies. In addition, the soil is homogeneous with no stones, all the way down to an impermeable clay layer. 

All forest areas have electricity, fibre optics and Internet connection, and wooden duckboards, water flow systems, towers and huts for shelter or small installations.

SVARTBERGET

Since it was set up in the 1920s, Svartberget has hosted national and international basic research in forestry methods and inventories. Much of today’s knowledge and methods about forest management derive from research based on Svartberget’s infrastructure.

The research areas are dominated by pine and spruce, and lie in a transition zone between a maritime and a continental climate. The underlying rock consists almost exclusively of gneiss, and the soil is dominated by moraine of varying types. In the south-east is a larger flat area, Åheden, which comprises sand and silt deposits.

Ätnarova research park (Lappland) is dominated by old, sparse pine forest, ‘Norrland spruce’, or birch stump shoots from fellings in the 1940s. The research at Ätnarova comprises forest management issues in forests close to the mountains.

In the Flakaliden research area, research is carried out on climate change and growth in spruce forest. Researchers have been applying fertiliser to sample plots for the past 30 years with the aim of demonstrating the production potential of spruce with no restrictions caused by nutrient or water factors.
 
In the Rosinedal research area, fertiliser studies are being carried out to investigate how application of nitrogen affects tree growth (and thereby carbon sequestration in forest). The forest consists of naturally regenerated 80-year-old pines, and the soil is a deep sedimentary deposit of fine and coarse-grained sand. The treatments consist of annual application of 20 and 50 kg (100 kg in the first years) nitrogen per hectare. At the centre of each plot is a climate station that measures atmospheric carbon fluxes using eddy covariance (EC) technology. The experiment also involves measurements of photosynthesis, transpiration and respiration from stems and needles, ground vegetation and roots. In addition to physiological measurements, there is also a sampling programme for stand growth, crown development (photography with a fisheye lens), vegetation inventory, leaf fall, nutrient content in needles, and soil water and soil water chemistry.