Post-doctoral position investigating biomass harvest and ash recycling


Job title : Postdoctoral research position investigating biomass harvest and ash recycling

Employer : French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA)

Department & Research Team : Forest Economics Laboratory/Laboratoire d’Economie Forestière

Place of work : Nancy, France, and 3 months at SLU/CERE in Umeå, Sweden

Duration : 12 months The position will begin on February 1, 2017, or as soon as possible

Salary & Working hours : Full time, Approximately 2,600 euros per month (gross salary )

Application deadline : 5 January 2017

Job description



Wood fuels are an important energy source in meeting EU’s renewable energy targets. The increased demand for wood fuels has been seen as an opportunity to increase the profitability of forest management by exploiting hitherto unexploited resources. However, the increased use of wood fuel generates also several environmental issues, including the export of nutrients through residues and stump harvests and thereby potential negative impact on forests’ long-term forest productivity. Ash-recycling has been suggested a sustainable remedy for the loss of nutrients. However, there is currently no assessment of about how ash-recycling will influence forest owners’ management, e.g. timber harvest decisions, and the associated changes in the supply of the multiple ecosystem services provided by forests. Furthermore, knowledge about the general population’s acceptability of ash-recycling is almost non-existing.


To develop an integrated framework linking biophysical models and forest owners’ decision processes which allows assessing the impact of ash-recycling on provision of ecosystem services. In particular, we will analyse to which degree the adoption of ash recycling by private forest owners will influence other forest management decisions.

Assessment of the acceptability ash-recycling and biomass harvesting by the general population and to carry out an economic valuation of associated changes in the provision of ecosystem services. We will, in particular, focus on the impact of ash recycling and biomass harvesting on the value of recreational services as well as investigating the role of scientific information, and the dissemination hereof, for ash recycling acceptability.


We develop an integrated model framework where changes in the provision of physical indicators are a function of changes in forest management practices (including ash recycling). This framework is on one hand used to assess the impact of   adopting ash-recycling on ecosystem service indicators but also to generate scenarios that is basis for evaluation of the general populations’ acceptability of ash recycling. The integrated framework is based on existing biophysical models, data from experimental plots and from the literature. In the analysis of forest owners’ decision to adopt ash recycling and the associated changes in management we will apply an econometric approach based on survey data of Swedish forest owners, exploiting Sweden has a long experience with ash recycling in forest. The survey of the general populations’ acceptability of ash recycling and the assessment of the economic value of the changes in provision of ecosystem services will be based on surveys and choice experiments in France.

Expected results and impacts

This project will be the first study to assessment of forest owners’ adoption of ash recycling and to integrate explicitly the feedback on forest management (e.g. changed harvest behavior) of adopting ash recycling and link these changes to provision of ecosystem services. It will also be the first assessment of general public’s preferences for ash-recycling and biomass harvesting in forests and it will contribute to the understanding of the role of information in assessment of the value of ash recycling. This contributes to the design of information campaigns by public agencies or forest owner associations. Finally, the project will establish the basis for carrying out a cost benefit analysis of ash recycling which also includes the impact on non-timber services provided by forests.



The candidate should hold a PhD in Economics (applied micro-economics and/or applied econometrics) and should have skills in Environmental Economics or Forest Management


Strong organizational skills, to work with different partners, to organize his/her work in different phases between France and Sweden; experience in interdisciplinary research, integrated economic-biological/physical modelling, surveys, and economic valuation will be an advantage


Manage databases, applying econometric software, design of questionnaires, implementation of surveys, good oral and written expression


Team work, adaptability to different working environment (France, Sweden)

Working language(s) : Proficiency in English is required. French and Swedish are an advantage.


Please send (by email) your CV, a cover letter describing your interests/experience and contact information for three references :

Dr. Jens Abildtrup: email:

** Please note that the applicant’s PhD thesis must have been defended prior to the beginning of the contract.


Jens Abildtrup

Laboratoire d’Economie Forestière, 14, rue Girardet, F-54042 Nancy CEDEX., +33 383396864

Research Team Publications

Jens Abildtrup, LEF, INRA (project leader)

Göran Bostedt, CERE, SLU

Laurent Saint-André, BEF, INRA

Anne Stenger, LEF, INRA/BETA University of Strasbourg

Bo Jellesmark Thorsen, IFRO, University of Copenhagen

Abildtrup, J., S. Garcia, S. B. Olsen, A. Stenger 2013. Spatial preference heterogeneity in forest recreation. Ecological Economics 92: 67–77.

Abildtrup, J., S. B. Olsen, A. Stenger 2015. Combining RP and SP data while accounting for large choice sets and travel mode – an application to forest recreation. Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy 4(2): 177-201.

Ekvall, H., S. Löfgren, G. Bostedt. 2014. Ash Recycling — A Method to Improve Forest Production or to Restore Acidified Surface Waters? Forest Policy and Economics 45: 42–50.

Lundhede, T., J. B. Jacobsen, N. Hanley, N. Strange, B. J. Thorsen. 2015. Incorporating Outcome Uncertainty and Prior Outcome Beliefs in Stated Preferences. Land Economics 91(2): 296–316.

Petucco, C., A. Stenger, J. Abildtrup 2014. Influences of nonindustrial private forest landowners’ management priorities on the timber harvest decision. Journal of Forest Economics 21(3): 152–166.

Robert, N., A. Stenger 2013. Can payments solve the problem of undersupply of ecosystem services? Forest Policy and Economics 35: 83–91.