Research projects 20

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.

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.

  • Head of research Hannu Korhonen, Martti Esala, Mila Sell
  • Language n/a

FoodAfrica is a research and development Programme enhancing food security in West and East Africa. The objective of the Programme is to provide new knowledge and tools for researchers, decision makers and local farmers to improve local food security. The FoodAfrica Programme is implemented in six countries: Benin, Ghana, Cameroon, Kenya, Senegal, and Uganda. The programme focuses on the following topics: Strengthening capacity for diagnosis and management of soil micronutrient deficiencies in Sub Saharan Africa for improved plant, animal and human nutrition (WP1, more than 20 African countries involved). Dairy cattle breeding in West Africa: identifying and promoting appropriate breeds and breed combinations or genotypes for smallholder farmers (WP2, Senegal). Economic analysis of technologies and targeted policies to reduce vulnerability and building resilience (WP3, Senegal). Enhancing food and nutrition security of vulnerable groups in communities through increased use of local agricultural biodiversity (WP4, Benin) Measuring and mitigating the risk of mycotoxins for poor milk and maize producers and consumers (WP5, Kenya). Improving market access and food security in Africa with information and communication technology (WP6, Ghana & Uganda) Innovative extension approaches for improving food security and livelihoods (WP7, Cameroon & Kenya).

Building on the successes and outcomes of the previous FinCEAL and FinCEAL Plus projects, the FinCEAL Plus Continuation project aimed to provide strategic support to enhance the cooperation between research and science policy communities in Finland, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. The specific objectives of the project were to: 1. Strengthen Finnish participation in the EU STI policy dialogues with the target regions; 2. Support Finnish participation in joint research projects with partners from the target regions; 3. Enable Finnish expertise and know-how to be better known in the target regions; and 4. Gather and disseminate information on Finnish cooperation towards the regions within Finland as well as new cooperation possibilities with the target regions.

FinCEAL Plus started in January 2015 as an expansion and continuation of the FinCEAL Project (2012-2014), both funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The aims of the FinCEAL Plus project were to: 1. Increase and consolidate the Finnish bi-regional cooperation towards Africa, Asia, and the LAC region, with special emphasis on supporting Finnish researchers’ involvement in European bi-regional networks; 2. Support and consolidate the participation of Finnish experts in EU-Africa, EU-CELAC and EU- Asia bi-regional research and science policy dialogues; 3. Increase the knowledge about and visibility of Finnish cooperation towards the target regions within Finland; 4. Expand the awareness of Finnish expertise in the regions; and 5. Expand and consolidate the Finnish research communities’ awareness of cooperation possibilities with the EU, Africa, Asia and LAC region. 6. Throughout all the project activities, strengthening the Finnish universities’ global responsibility and making it more systematic and measurable.

The two-year FinCEAL pilot project aimed to enhance cooperation between research and science policy communities in Finland, Europe, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean by networking the Finnish research community and by supporting their participation in bi-regional research projects and science policy processes. FinCEAL was an initiative funded by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture and implemented by UniPID, the Finnish University Partnership for International Development. FinCEAL activities were focused on the following thematic areas, derived from the European Union's bi-regional science, technology and innovation policy processes: Africa – Food Security, Information Society, Health, Climate Change and Renewable Energy; LAC – ICT for Societal Challenges, Bioeconomy, Biodiversity and Climate Change, Renewable Energy and Health.

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.

The main aim of this interdisciplinary research project is to enhance the understanding on the long-term impacts and effectiveness of Educational Programmes implemented in Natural Protected Areas as a biodiversity conservation strategy - including impacts on Local Environmental Knowledge. To do so, particular Educational Programmes implemented in Protected Areas in Finland and Madagascar have been selected as case studies context, providing a socio-ecological system approach, including human-wildlife conflicts, and also local community participation and LEK integration possibilities.

Improving our understanding of human-environment relations, and particularly of human motivations, rationale and management regimes, is paramount to the success of any biodiversity conservation initiative involving local communities. By comparing approaches, challenges and successes across case study sites, this research aims to identify those contextual settings, socio-cultural traits, incentives, and practical tools that best foster optimum long-term integration of biodiversity conservation and local wellbeing.

  • Head of research Paivi Haapasaari
  • Language n/a

The primary aim of the research is to analyze the effects of environmental change on vulnerable communities, and to suggest means of coping with this by way of co-management, bearing in mind the underlying power relations involved.