Anne-Maarit Hekkala

Zombies of boreal forests

My research environments are forests and I am fascinated by the biological diversity of insects, fungi, and other organisms that are dependent on dead trees. In a way, dead trees are actually living, and therefore they are the zombies of our forests! There is a small ecosystem in each deadwood piece, and it can make a difference to the species if we humans kill the trees instead of letting trees die naturally.

My research project concentrates on finding out how humans can best help nature and the biological diversity of deadwood-dependent organisms. I want everyone to understand the importance of dead trees, as they host hundreds of species and, in the eyes of the public, are often seen as something that should be cleaned away, to keep the parks and forests tidy.


I conduct my research at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, in a department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies.

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