Christer Nilsson – Stream restoration and vegetation

I am fascinated by flowing waters and their riparian zones. My research areas revolve around effects of climate change on hydrology and wetland vegetation – especially in arctic and subarctic regions, environmental effects of ecological restoration – not least the importance of location and scale, and impacts of hydrological changes on biological diversity. I was trained as a plant ecologist but now publish also on fish, mammals, birds and invertebrates. A common feature of my research is that I like to look at nature from a large-scale – in many cases global – perspective, and try to understand how different parts of landscapes are connected ecologically.

I have a passion for writing which is manifested in many publications and in that I serve the journals BioScience, Ecological Applications; Journal of Ecology; Ecosystems; Ecology & Society; and Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics as an associate editor.

When it comes to specific projects, I am currently leading the BioRest project together with Lina Polvi Sjöberg. I am especially interested in unravelling the factors limiting ecological recovery and quantifying how the potential for ecosystem recovery varies within catchments. I am also involved in a Nordic collaboration (Ermond) where we look for examples of how ecological restoration has been used as a means for mitigating natural hazards. In a sub-project I am specifically studying ecological restoration vs. severe flooding in rivers. In an Australian project we try to find ways to reduce erosion in rivers and streams. In yet another collaborative project (RiPeak) we study the relationships between plant traits and hydrological factors.

Erosive creek near Brisbane

Erosive creek near Brisbane, Australia.

Danger Brisbane

People are warned about getting too close to the creek, especially during floods.

Flooding in Mårsdsele rapids

Flooding is a natural phenomenon and is vitalizing the river ecosystem. Heavy impact in the catchment, however, can cause severe floods because of reduced retention capacity. Ecological restoration in the catchment can be a means for increasing retention capacity and reducing risks for large floods.

Pengfors power station 300 dpi

The regulated water-level regimes caused by the management of hydropower stations (hydropeaking) are challenging for many plants.