4 questions to Anders Lindroth, new director for SITES

How would you describe yourself? Who is this Anders Lindroth?
I am researcher in Physical Geography, having my roots in Norrbotten but now living in Skåne. I’m dedicated to contribute to successful models for long-term infrastructures, cooperation and data-sharing in the field of ecosystem and environmental sciences and I am eager to start my new job for SITES!

SITES director Anders Lindroth visiting Erken. Photo by Ida Taberman
SITES director Anders Lindroth visiting Erken. Photo by Ida Taberman

And if you could tell us a little more about your background..?
My journey started in the village Vidsel far up north in Sweden, where I was born and grew up. Close to my home was a Research Nursery for forest plants managed by ‘Skogshögskolan’, and at 18 I got a summer job there. That also gave me the opportunity to meet the forest researchers Gustaf Sirén, Sune Linder, Kurth Perttu among others who some years later when studied IT, math and physics, asked me to start work in a forest ecology project ‘Barrskogslandskapets ekologi’. Looking back, I would say my career in the field of physical geography and ecosystem science started quite much by coincidence, and is very much thanks to a number of unconventional, dynamic professors along the way who could see the potential in people and disciplines outside their own! Erik Eriksson at Uppsala University is one of them, he was the one who offered me to do my Ph D in forest hydrology. Since 1998 I’ve been a professor at Lunds University in this field.

I’ve primarily worked with monitoring and analysis of carbon and water fluxes between soil and atmosphere. One example is the NOPEX project with studies on different types of ecosystems and soils. I’m also proud to have initiated one of the longest CO2 flux monitoring series in the world: since 1994 we have had this running at the same location in Norunda near Uppsala, and now it is included in ICOS, and it will hopefully run for another 20 years.  Data are registered and made available through Fluxnet, that coordinates observations from over 650 sites globally.

Now you’re the new director for SITES. What values do you see with SITES? And what do you think will be your main contribution?
We have not had this type of infrastructure for environmental research in Sweden before, so SITES fills an important role. Many of the field stations within SITES have a long history and can offer qualified service, equipment, high level of academic research and existing data valuable to new research. The financial support from the Swedish Research Council gives the opportunity to develop common infrastructure, sampling protocols and ideas for sharing and using data. 

I hope to contribute with my learnings and experiences from ICOS.  I know that a long-term approach and development of solutions for co-working such as common methods and data sharing are important success factors, and will focus on this. I also hope SITES can benefit from my well-developed network in the field.

Outside work and science, what do you do then?
Right now I’m installing 80 m2 solar panels at home! I have a personal goal of becoming energy-independent and lower my carbon footprint. The climate challenge is a major concern for us all and I think small scale production of solar energy on every roof is one step in the right direction.

Text by Mia Barkland

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