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Published: 07 Jun, 2021

Guest professorship focuses on sustainable life along Vindelälven

NEWS In order to stimulate work on sustainable development in the Vindelälven-Juhttátahkka biosphere reserve, the Kempe Foundations, Umeå University and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences jointly fund a guest professorship. At the end of August, Professor Julian D. Olden from the University of Washington, USA, will be on site in Umeå, Sweden.

Text: Ingrid Söderbergh

“This is an important stimulus for research in the Vindelälven area. Thanks to the river being protected from hydropower development, it offers unique opportunities for research in many different subject areas” says Christer Nilsson, professor emeritus of landscape ecology at the Department of Ecology and Environmental Science at Umeå University.

Vindelälven – a part of the UNESCO biosphere programme

Vindelälven is a free-flowing river that flows through Västerbotten's mountains, forest land, bogs and cultural landscape. It begins in the Ammarnäs mountains close to the Norwegian border and flows out via Umeälven to the coast. It is a journey of almost 500 kilometers.

Vindelälven-Juhttátahkka (Umesami for migration routes) is a biosphere reserve within the UN agency UNESCO's biosphere programme. It was formed in 2019 and covers the entire Vindelälven catchment area as well as some smaller, adjacent areas closest to the coast. UNESCO biosphere reserves are model areas for sustainable development, both economically, ecologically and socially. Their goal is to develop, preserve and support good initiatives for everyone who lives and works in the area, now and for future generations.

To develop sustainable management, collaboration with researchers can provide the necessary basis. In order to stimulate work on sustainable development in the Vindelälven-Juhttátahkka biosphere reserve, the Kempe Foundations, Umeå University and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU, therefore jointly fund a guest professorship, which covers 25 percent of full-time over five years. At Umeå University, Arcum, an interdisciplinary centre for Arctic research, and the Faculty of Science and Technology, contribute to funding. At SLU, the Faculty of Forest Science is responsible for funding.

Researching sustainable water management

Professor Julian D. Olden at the University of Washington in Seattle, USA, is the researcher who has been called to the guest professorship. His research is primarily about how to manage wetlands, lakes and watercourses in a sustainable way. He works with fish, amphibians and aquatic insects and how they are affected by changing water flows, dams and climate change.

Julian D. Olden is Canadian but has worked at the University of Washington since 2006. Over the past 20 years, he has published more than 260 papers that have been cited more than 23,000 times (according to the Web of Science). Olden sees himself as a bridge-builder between basic and applied research and is challenged by finding techniques for analyzing complex ecological data.

“Julian D. Olden will have his base at the Department of Game, Fish and Environment at SLU, but he is open to all collaborations, mainly at our university and SLU in Umeå” says Christer Nilsson.

Watch a film where Julian D. Olden explains his research

For more information, please contact:

Christer Nilsson
Professor emeritus
E-mail
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