Research projects 31

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

MAKUTANO - means "gathering" in Swahili. The MAKUTANO research project aims to develop appropriate and new methodological and theoretical approaches for environmental collaboration and conflict resolution to be used in Tanzania and elsewhere. The action research approach will be used to find out if urban forest owners influence forest governance, and induce local conflicts over resource utilization. The project provides skills on environmental collaboration and conflict resolution to a group of small- and medium-scale forest owners and local community members in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania, and traces how these skills are transformed and used in the future actions of these forest owners and the surrounding communities. The project is funded by the Develop Academy Programme (2019-2022), which is a programme jointly prepared by the Academy of Finland and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. In many developing countries, there has been a transfer of public and open access land to private use. In the Southern Highlands of Tanzania, the promotion of small-scale private plantation forestry has attracted domestic investors to capture this new resource frontier to meet the increasing demand for timber. This has further increased land value and consequently also land related disputes. The main objective of MAKUTANO research project is to study skills on environmental collaboration and conflict resolution methods among a group of forest owners and local community members in Southern Highlands, and to trace how these skills are transformed and used in the future actions of these forest owners and the surrounding communities. The research idea has emerged from Tanzanian small scale forest owners. The project outcomes may influence Tanzanian-Finnish collaboration by promoting social safeguards to mitigate unexpected impacts of plantation forestry. The research collaboration involves international partners from Tanzania, Kenya, Mexico and Denmark.

Team

Irmeli Mustalahti, Antti Erkkilä, Ida Herdieckerhoff, Aristarik H. Maro, Ubaldus J. Tumaini, Tuyeni Heita Mwampamba, Mara I. Hernández Estrada

  • Head of research Jyrki Luukkanen
  • Language n/a

The project produces significant novel research-based information of the development of Cuban energy system and its potential future development paths in local and global socio-economic, political, technological and environmental context. The project builds on previous research work of the partner institutions and other research organisations. The research work is linked to Erasmus+ CRECE project, coordinated by the Finland Futures Research Centre.

Team

Jyrki Luukkanen, Burkhard Auffermann, Jari Kaivo-oja, Mika Korkeakoski, Noora Vähäkari, Tadhg O'Mahony

The Myanmar Energy and Environment Education (MEEE) project, coordinated by the Finland Futures Research Centre, directly contributes to the development of sustainable and inclusive socio-economic growth in Myanmar by enhancing capacities of Myanmar partner institutions to provide quality education on environment and sustainable energy for growing societal and energy sector development needs. Myanmar is currently in a critical time in its energy transition. To be able to attract investors in the renewable energy sector and to re-investigate the government’s RE targets, enhancing access to energy and electrification, as well as reducing CO2 emissions and environmental pollution from fossil fuels there is a dire need for nationally grounded energy expertise.

Team

Mika Korkeakoski, Noora Vähäkari, Osku Haapasaari, Jyrki Luukkanen

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

This research concerns socio-technical issues for providing solar electricity into rural India. Several solar pico-grid systems have been implemented in villages accompanied with comprehensive data collection, field-trips, interviews, and analysis. Research questions have included behavioural aspects with use of solar electricity in the rural context, system reliability, and system optimisations. Key results include observations that reliability need more attention and local training, i.e. strengthening frugality aspects; demand response of the rural population showed less correlation with access to solar electricity.

Team

Sini Numminen, Semee Yoon, Johannes Urpelainen

The doctoral research project targets to understand the relevance of frugal and affordable energy innovations in sustainable energy transitions among low-income communities in emerging economies. The target technology is solar micro-grids in India. The various related sustainability challenges are studied as well as the role of distributed energy in the country's energy mix among rural energy users. Key methods include field trials, interviews, data analysis and sustainability and reliability assessments.

Team

The TAITASMART project, a research and development project of the University of Helsinki aims to develop a climate-smart landscape framework in Taita Taveta County, Kenya, to take into account both the needs of climate adaptation and mitigation, and sustainable agriculture supported by ecosystem services. For this purpose, the project will study land cover changes, land-atmosphere interactions, soil-crop system functioning, and climate smart landscapes for sustainable development, and build capacity in climate-smart practices.

Team

Petri Pellikka, Laura Alakukku, Timo Vesala

The BIOCODE project aims to develop high-value extraction compounds (e.g. protein, oil, waxes, and carotenoids), cellulose and hemicellulose products (nanocelluloses, soluble cellulosic macromolecules, sugars and lactic acid) and lignin based materials (biochar, soil additives, chemicals) from main commercial grain crop residues (corn, rapeseed and wheat co-streams). A sequential fractionation concept based on extraction pre-treatment (fractionation of minor components) followed by hydrothermal destructuration (fractionation of major components) will be developed and integrated with a variety of conversion techniques.

Team

Henrikki Liimatainen, Terhi Suopajärvi, Lothar Driller, Robin White, Gianluca Ottolina, César López

The Strengthening Problem-Based Education in East African Universities project (PBL East Africa) is a joint initiative of Nairobi University (Kenya), Makerere University (Uganda), Dar es Salaam University (Tanzania), and Aalto University (Finland). PBL East Africa aims to establish best practices in problem-based learning (PBL) for innovation, engaging several disciplines, empowering students and developing an approach to critically address societal challenges in facilitated real-world situations.

Team

Riina Subra, Amelia Buriyo, Venny Nakazibwe, Tonny K. Omwansa