Research projects 132

The doctoral programme on sustainable management of forest resources is funded by the Chinese Scholarship Council, for the period (2022-2024). The programme will provide full funding for doctoral positions to 3 - 6 students from the North West Agriculture & Forest University in Yangling (China), to perform a doctoral degree at the School of Forest Sciences of the University of Eastern Finland. The main goals are to enable Chinese scholars from NWAFU to visit UEF, foster opportunities for students to publish research papers in high-profile refereed journals and also to receive industrial experience in companies and research institutions and foster opportunities for faculty to collaborate in both basic and applied research.

Team

Guangzhe Liu

Decision Support for the Supply of Ecosystem Services under Global Change (DecisionES) is a Marie Curie Horizon 2020 - Research and Innovation Framework Programme (2021-2025). Pressures on forest ecosystems are very likely to increase as a consequence of socioeconomic and demographic trends. A growing population will demand more products (e.g., wood) to be extracted from forest ecosystems. At the same time, these harvesting activities and their interactions with global change drivers will impact the sustainability of the supply of a wider range of non-provisioning services (e.g., wildfire protection, water, and biodiversity). The integrity of ecosystems must be safeguarded when developing harvesting activities, and yet this is further complicated by the occurrence of natural disturbances such as wildfires and droughts, etc. New decision support approaches are needed that can cope with this challenge. European and the American experiences with the development and application of decision support approaches for the provision of ecosystem services (ESs), offer a solid base for continued improvement in the efficiency and effectiveness of forest management in the context of global change (e.g., responding to changes in demographics, socioeconomics, and climatic conditions). This provided the rationale for a project that will help to strengthen research collaboration through active networking and staff exchange between 8 European organizations and 10 American organizations that are leaders in these fields. This project will build from the top-level multidisciplinary expertise (wildfire ecology and management, wildfire behaviour simulation, hydrology, process-based modelling, biodiversity, wildlife management, ecology, water services, operations research, management science, stakeholder engagement, forest ecosystem management planning methods, supply chain management methods and decision support systems) in these organizations to address the integration of operational, tactical and strategic forest ecosystem management planning levels and potentiate the supply of ecosystem services at various spatial and temporal scales.

Team

Jordi García-Gozalo

The designation of protected areas and of regions of special conservation interest has gained due relevance across the globe, particularly in the past three decades. Territories covered by protected areas are steadily expanding. Within this framework, numerous international strategies define the importance of Capacity Building and Training as the key challenge of the 21st century. The Training Masters in Ecosystem Services Management in Protected Areas (ECOSERVE) aims at developing an innovative practice-oriented MSc programme according to Bologna criteria in the field of protected areas management, and at meeting sustainable development and labour market needs through networking activities. ECOSERVE will be a qualitatively new MSc programme implemented in higher education institutions of the Russian Federation and Mongolia, strengthening their educational partnership with non-academic partners in the field of protected areas management and responding to demands for professionals of public services, private service providers and tourism businesses. It will contribute to adapt land management strategies to the actual changing natural drivers, such as climate, in alignment with global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The program knowledge base, materials and courses in Russian, Mongolian and English, will be continuously updated and disseminated through a network of resources centres of protected areas in Partner country HEIs, promoting inter-regional cooperation in environmental protection, nature and biodiversity conservation issues, and management.

Team

Cristina Vega

Land is a powerful asset, but it also has a social function. Its economic and social aspects are central in advancing gender equality. Legal control of land as well as legal and social recognition of women’s uses of and rights to land, can also have catalytic effects of empowerment, increasing women’s influence and status in their homes and communities. During past decades changes in the Chinese land tenure rights and practices have brought important incentives for rural developments including farmer income and living standards. However, rural women’s land rights are still not adequately implemented. Despite modernization, China is administratively and socially very hierarchical. Foucault's idea of power provides a better starting point for looking at the use of power at the grassroots level than the hierarchical conception of power. Although the Communist Party has significant hierarchical power, at the village level, there are several parties involved in the exercise of power with different motives and perceptions. Regarding to methodology, many researchers have utilized government and other official material to explain certain phenomenon. This research is mainly based on interviews because they can provide an insight that might otherwise be invisible in official documents. This research uses an intersectional approach to qualitative content analysis. It allows the exploration of numerous intersection themes simultaneously. For example, according to this research, age, marital status, location, and gender play an important role in women’s equality situation.

Team

The study aimed at describing the South African education landscape, identifying education needs and priorities in different sectors and in two regions: Gauteng and Western Cape. The study also identified opportunities for collaboration in the public and private sector and matching them to Finnish stakeholder interests. Finally the study also highlighted key operation and funding models that can be utilised by South African and Finnish stakeholders in the education sector.

Team

Albertus Louw, Lightning Tree Stories

  • Head of research Gutu Olana Wayessa
  • Language n/a

Large-scale land deals are among the most challenging development issues of today. They have attracted considerable attention for various reasons, including their implications for environmental justice and changes in local livelihoods. This phenomenon, also known as "land grabbing," is a significant driver of environmental change globally and, locally, it prompts a substantial reconfiguration of access to land and land-based social relations. While proponents frame the phenomena as a development opportunity, encompassing improvement in the livelihoods of local people, opponents counter-frame it as an impoverishing scheme. In Ethiopia, which is a primary target for large-scale land acquisitions, land is a major resource for state control and foreign direct investment. As the foundation of their livelihoods and anchor of their identity, it is simultaneously a vital resource for the local people. Many studies have indicated the adverse consequences of large-scale land transfers in terms of both procedural imperatives and outcome indicators. However, there is limited research that compares its processes and outcomes among countries characterized by different political histories, land policies, and state-society relations. In order to address this knowledge gap, this study attempts to answer questions of procedural justice (process) and distributive justice (outcome). Procedural justice is operationalized through the concepts of recognition, representation, and participation, whereas distributive justice relates to the (re)distribution of environmental benefits and burdens among stakeholders. The study applies a political-ecological approach as the overarching theoretical framework, complemented by analytical insights derived from recent advances in environmental justice conceptualizations. Methodologically, it will adopt a mixed-methods approach, involving the combination of quantitative and qualitative methods for data collection and analysis. Based on empirical evidence and contextualizing the local livelihood dynamics within broader structural and political-economic conditions, this study contributes to the ongoing debate on livelihood impacts and environmental justice implications of transnational land acquisitions.

Team

  • Head of research Saila Saaristo
  • Language n/a

This study explores inequalities in access to housing. In the light of the premise "Leave no one behind", the case study on occupations and struggle against evictions in social housing estates of Lisbon metropolitan area (LMA) draws the attention to the groups of population that are excluded from access to housing. In particular, gendered and racialised aspects of housing exclusions are examined. In addition, the role of civil society in contesting housing exclusion is analysed.

Team

Saila-Maria Saaristo

The CRECE project, coordinated by the Finland Futures Research Centre, supports Cuba in the provision of regionally relevant multidisciplinary education in sustainable energy engineering and renewable energy development. This is done in order to ensure that Cuban higher education institutions (HEIs) are better equipped and able to provide high-quality experts for the ever-growing societal and energy sector development needs. The Cuban energy sector is undergoing a state-led transformation. So far, this “Energy Revolution” has improved energy efficiency but harnessing renewable energy (RE) resources is still lagging far behind. In order to attract investors, meet the government's RE targets, and reduce CO2 emissions and environmental pollution from fossil fuels, Cuba needs national expertise and experts in RE development. CRECE answers this call by training skilled experts and enabling cross-sectoral and regional cooperation possibilities. Cuban partners will be better equipped to conduct international-level energy related research and provide sustainable energy experts to the growing labour market needs.

Team

Noora Vähäkari, Mika Korkeakoski, Osku Haapasaari, Jyrki Luukkanen

  • Head of research Anu Kantele
  • Language n/a

Antibiotics have made it possible for people to live longer, healthier lives. Antimicrobial resistance, however, is an increasing problem, especially in low-resource settings. This project will employ a range of methods from microbiology, clinical medicine and sociology to produce new knowledge about how AMR genes spread especially in poor West African regions, in areas where local capacity to address AMR is lagging behind, and identify ways to curb the spread of AMR. This knowledge can be utilized in national and international health policy and medical research.

Team

Isidore Bonkoungou, Victorien Dougnon, Kaisa Haukka, Bourema Kouriba, Salla Sariola, Marko Virta

This research focuses on designing a smart learning environment (SLE) using virtual reality mini games to support students' computational thinking skills. Aside from enhancing the teaching and learning of CT, this research aims to support first-year students and novices of computer science with the opportunity to gain CT skills through an experiential learning approach. The goal of the research is to design and develop VR mini games through a rigorous process of the design science research methodology in order to provide artefact that allows students to learn CT concepts such as algorithmic thinking, recursive thinking, pattern recognition, and abstraction of problems. This research will measure students' learning achievement and cognitive benefits through a field experiment with first-year university students in Nigeria and Finland. Currently, we have developed a VR mini games application in the VR EdTech Lab located at the School of Computing, University of Eastern Finland. The mini games were co-designed with students from within Finland and abroad in order to achieve a student-centered learning environment. The research has produced over seven research papers published in ranked journals and conferences as shown in the link (https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=mSqmwdgAAAAJ&hl=en). The research is being supervised by professors from the School of Computing, University of Finland, and Luleå University of Technology (LTU) Sweden. The professors are specialists in VR technology, educational games, and ICT4D.

Team

Professor Markku Tukiainen, Dr. Jarkko Suhonen, Dr. Solomon Oyelere, MSc. Friday Joseph Agbo