On the 6th of August 19 Indonesian visitors from the University of Palangka Raya arrived at the Helsinki Airport. Four people of the group stayed in Helsinki to take part in the Helsinki Summer School course arranged by the Department of Forest Sciences in the University of Helsinki. With the other 15 participants we started a tour around southern Finland.

The aim of the course was to familiarize the participants with the Finnish nature and natural resource management including forests, peatlands, agricultural and aquatic environments. We also wanted the participants to learn about the education at the Department of Forest Sciences, the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, and the Viikki campus of life sciences.

In addition, the course was aimed to develop participants’ communication skills in English. After the course all the participants are supposed to summarize their experiences in reports, which will be gathered into a travel publication.

Here below the tour program and visited sites:

Monday 6th August

  • Arrival at Helsinki airport. Bus transportation to the first accommodation place in Mustiala agricultural institute, in Tammela

Tuesday 7th August

  • Visit to see logging operations in forest in Tammela, organised by Stora Enso
  • Tour in Mustiala agricultural institute

Wednesday 8th August

  • MTT Agrifood Research Finland, Jokioinen: Overview of th agricultural research in Finland and information on greenhouse-gas research in agriculture
  • Lake and wetland restoration site in Puurijärvi-Isosuo National Park, Metsähallitus (The Finnish forest and park service)
  • Recreational use of forests presented by Dr. Mika Rekola

Thursday 9th August

  • UPM Rauma paper mill, their production, environmental technologies and energy solutions
  • Arrival to Hyytiälä forestry station, Department of Forest Sciences of the University of Helsinki in Juupajoki

Friday 10th August

  • Aitoneva Peat production area in Kihniö, hosted by Vapo bioenergy and Niko Silván from Metla (The Finnish forest Research Institute) that has research on environmental management and after-use of  peat production areas
  • JPJ-Wood sawmill, Juupajoki

Saturday 11th August

  • Peatland ecology education and research, Lakkasuo nature conservation area
  • Forest education and research in the University of Helsinki; SMEAR II forest-atmosphere relations research, Hyytiälä forestry station
  • Natural old growth forests in Finland, Susimäki nature conservation area

Sunday 12th August

  • The Hunting Museum of Finland, Riihimäki
  • Travel to Helsinki

Monday 13th August

  • Viikki wastewater treatment plant, Helsinki
  • Trip to Suomenlinna sea fortress world heritage site, Helsinki

Tuesday 14th August

  • Viikki campus of Life Sciences, Viikki science library and Helsinki Business and Science Park
  • End seminar of the course, in the Department of Forest Sciences, Viikki campus



Course on research methodology in ecology succesfully over!

Temperature measurements in Kalampangan field

Temperature measurements in Kalampangan field

Between 9th and 19th of May STEM project organized a course on research methodology in ecology in UNPAR PSAL. Course included 3 days for academic staff of UNPAR from nature related sciences and 4 days for students of PSAL.

For the occasion five Finnish university teachers came to Palangka Raya to share their knowledge on research methodology in several ecological fields such as measuring environmental background data, measuring greenhouse gas fluxes, doing research on decomposition processes and microbial communities, restoration experimenting and finally how to process the data with statistical tools. Both staff and students got an introductory day consisting of lectures on course topics followed by field excursions and practical assignments.

In the end of the course, students presented their findings from the measurements and data analysis for each other.


Course on research methodology in ecology starting next week on Wednesday!

Organized jointly by the Department of Forest Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland, and the Master Program on Natural resources and environmental management from UNPAR, under STEM-project financed by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

  • Target groups:
    • Teaching staff of natural sciences of UNPAR (agriculture, forestry, aquatic sciences, soil sciences, biology etc.
    • Students of the Master program of “Natural resources and environmental management”
  • Idea: to promote field education for UNPAR staff and familiarize the students with several research methods commonly used in ecology. Contents of the course are divided into activities targeted for the teaching staff  and for the Master program students. We encourage the teaching staff to take part also in the activities targeted for the Master program students to share knowledge and experience on teaching methods and take part in planning and execution of the student assignments.
  • Timing: weeks 19 and 20 in May 2012
    • 9th, 10th and 14th May for staff members
    • 11th, 12th, 18th and 19th May to students
    • Lectures will be translated beforehand and hand-outs will be provided both in English and Indonesian during all course activities.
  • Teachers from Finland:
    • Jyrki Jauhiainen, docent in Wetland ecology, research coordinator, PhD
    • Janna Pietikäinen, university lecturer, PhD, expert in organic matter cycling
    • Mikko Havimo, researcher, PhD, expert in wood technology and bioenergy
    • Annukka Valkeapää, researcher, MSc, expert in statistics and forest policy
    • Maija Lampela, project coordinator, MSc, doctoral student on peatland restoration

Reading materials:

Lecture on “Greenhouse gas flux monitoring” by Jyrki Jauhiainen

Three-day workshop on writing in international scientific journals

Publishing in international scientific journals is a big challenge and something that almost every scientist aims for. This in mind, the researchers from the University of Palangka Raya came up with an idea to increase their knowledge in the whole publishing procWorkshop participants after three days of hard workedure in the international forums. The idea was realised as a workshop organised  by STEM-project.

The workshop was opened by Uras Tantulo and Maija Lampela in Hotel Dandang Tingang, Palangka Raya, on 5 March 2012 and consisted of three days of lectures given by Dr. Markku Larjavaara. His fifteen lectures started from introduction on scientific publications from the perspective of a reader and ended in instructions on how to correspond with journal editors.The lectures in between covered for example the methods to choose the journal and in depth discussions on structure of conventional and abnormal articles. Dr. Larjavaara also gave detailed examples of his own experiences with articles now already published. Most of the lectures were followed by group working e.g. on model articles related to the research focus of the group. The workshop was targeted for researchers working with natural sciences and engineering. Most of the roughly 30 participant had their background in agriculture, forestry or other life sciences. The workshop did not include much discussion on grammar or vocabulary but a handbook on the topic was given to all participants for further studying.

Dr. Larjavaara and a participant showing group work

During the two days following the workshop Markku Larjavaara had one-to-one meetings with the participants to discuss their manuscripts. These discussions will continue by email in the following months. In addition, the participants decided to form a group that meets regularly to discuss advancement of manuscripts.

Seminar on REDD+

Daniel Murdiyarso and Daju Resosudarno were the main speakers of the day.

Central Kalimantan is famous for large peat reservoirs that are in danger of disappearing due to drainage-caused decomposition and fires. Therefore REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation plus) is commonly heard acronym in Palangka Raya. Despite this, not all professionals working in natural resource management are fully aware of the potential and importance of REDD+. This in mind on 17 November 2011 STEM organized a one-day seminar entitled “Seminar dan lokakarya nasional – Bagaimana pelaksanaan REDD+ di Kalimantan Tengah bermanfaat bagi semua pemangku kepentingan” in Aquarius Hotel in Palangka Raya. The lead organizers were Uras Tantulo and Adi Jaya from the University of Palangka Raya. A wide range of audience was invited, including local government employees and representatives from NGOs, the university, police force, tribunal and rural communities. Students of the Master program not only were in charge of most practical arrangements but in addition participated in the seminar and group discussions.


Participants ranged from representatives from rural communities to government employees.

Well over one hundred participants attended the seminar fully in Bahasa Indonesia. The presentations given during the morning session by CIFOR experts Daniel Murdiyarso and Daju Resosudarmo were at the same time clear and extensive. These lectures started by description of deforestation, problems arising from it and importance of forests and continued to forest carbon budgets and REDD and REDD+. The core of this morning session contained information on REDD+ implementation in practice in Indonesia. During the afternoon, participants dispersed into group discussions based on their interests. The groups were named: public sector, private sector and civil society. The facilitators, Yusurum Jagau, Bismart Ferry Ibie and Marco Mahin, first presented a short presentation and were prepared to chair the discussion for the rest of the time. Each group focused on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to REDD+ in Central Kalimantan. The discussions were lively and the facilitators were able to encourage participants to express their ideas. At the end of the day, the three groups presented their views to the other groups. In addition the organizers plan to report the outcome of the group discussions in a written format to be distributed widely. The usefulness of the seminar was evaluated by testing ten participating students on their knowledge on REDD+ just before and the following day after the seminar. Their written answers were evaluated and the average score increased from 39/100 to 61/100 indicating rapid learning.


The seminar was covered in many newspapers including Kalteng Pos from which this clipping is from.

The following day the two invited CIFOR experts, Harri Vasander and Markku Larjavaara from the University of Helsinki gave lectures to the students of the Master program. Daniel Murdiyarso started the day by teaching the basics of forest carbon budgets interactively. Daju Resosudarno then continued on REDD+ problematics. Harri Vasander presented in his lecture first an overview of peatlands globally and then focused in the tropics and research on green house gas fluxes in pristine, developed and restored peatlands that his research group has conducted close to Palangka Raya for more than a decade. At the end of the long day, Markku Larjavaara gave a lecture on global change and tropical forests focusing in the question whether primary tropical forests are acting as a carbon source or sink due to the global change.

”English Club” gathers enthusiastic students

UNPAR master program students discussing bird diversity – in English of course

After the Friday night falls in the city of Palangka Raya in the heart of Borneo a group of eager students refuse to quit the almost deserted campus and spend talking English in a classroom at UNPAR. When the proposal for STEM was written, it was realized that limited skills in English prevent natural resource experts from being able to absorb information from the internet and to communicate their ideas internationally. The master’s students remaining at the campus have realized the same and want to speed up their development using this voluntary extracurricular club. At least one teacher is present each week when the club meets but the teacher’s role is not to teach but encourage the students to open their mouth and facilitate a lively discussion following reading short articles or watching videos.

Students invited to study English

This week in Master program will be launched a club to enhace the English skills of students and teachers. Here under the announcement given this week:

Announcement for


Organized jointly by the UNPAR Master Program ”Natural resources and environmental management” and Department of Forest Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland, under the STEM-project

Target group:                              Students and teachers of Master program

Timing:                                           Once a week, every Friday at 17.45 to 18.45

Aim:                                                Enhance the comprehension of written English and develop the skills in spoken English

Responsible persons:              Uras Tantulo, Maija Lampela and Maida Norahmi and Candra Mirasa

Working methods:                    Informal discussions in English based on delivered reading materials, Finnish STEM-workers attendance through video-lecturing system, no homework, attendance free

Notice!                                           In August 2012 selected students from the Master course will be offered a possibility to take part in course and visit to Finland for 1-2 weeks. Active participation in club meetings and progress in English skills will be prioritized in the selection process for the visit.

STEM Project was launched on 16 September

From the press release:

“On 16th September in the University of Palangkaraya (UNPAR) was launched a 1,5 year long academic capacity building project STEM – Support Tool for Sustainable Environment Management in Tropical Rural Communities. Partners in the STEM project are the Department of Forest Sciences from the University of Helsinki (UH) and UNPAR through Master program “Natural resources and environmental management”, and Centre for International Co-Operation in Management of Tropical Peatland (CIMTROP).

Project coordinator Maija Lampela receives the signed MoU from vice-rector Dr. Ciptadi, accompanied by head of the Master program Dr. Uras Tantulo

STEM project aims for academic capacity building in several levels and fields. Main goals of the project are sharing knowledge in communications, internationalization, academic pedagogies, research methodology, global environmental policies, restoration and rehabilitation of degraded peat swamp ecosystems and carbon cycle. Work includes public seminars, shared teaching, and produced publicity materials on the topic at UNPAR campus. Practical restoration experimenting outside Palangka Raya and visits to study academic education methods in related topics in Finland form other important parts of the cooperation. STEM project is targeted mainly for UNPAR’s staff and students.

To validate the cooperation between UH and UNPAR’s institutions, Rector of UH professor Dr. Thomas Wilhelmsson and rector of UNPAR Drs Henry Singarasa have signed today a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation in education, academic and research activities.

The project is funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland under HEI-ICI program that is a Capacity Building Support Programme for Higher Education Institutions, and it is due to be completed by the beginning of year 2013. “

Materials shown in the launch can be viewed here (without pictures):