Heidi Aaltonen

Former Ph.D student, disputation on 11.6.2020, presently a PostDoc at the University of Eastern Finland

MSc, Biogeochemical cycles, University of Helsinki, 2015

Area of Interest: Effects of forest fires on soil organic matter dynamics

Publications in Tuhat database


Wafa Abaker

Former Ph.D student, disputation on 29.5.2018
M.Sc (Forestry) 2010, University of Khartoum, Sudan.

Area of interest: Carbon dynamics in dryland ecosystems, water balance

Publications in TUHAT database






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Yiyang Ding

PhD student 2015-2021
M.Sc 2015: North-East Forestry University, China

M.Sc thesis 2015: Comparison of Soil Organic Carbon Stock of Betula costata Secondary Forest and Mixed Broadleaved Korean Pine Original Forest in Xiaoxing’an Mountains

Area of interest: Belowground ecology

Publications in Tuhat database



Jussi Heinonsalo

University researcher
PhD (General microbiology), 2004

My main research interest is carbon and nitrogen cycling in forest soil and the role of ericoid and ectomycorrhizal fungi in soil C and N dynamics. To study these processes, I am using molecular biological, enzymatic, chemical and stable isotope tools, and both laboratory and field experimentation. The soil C and N cycling were studied in the NITROFUNGI and PYROFUNGI projects (2012-2017). My earlier projects include studies on fungal bioremediation, VOC-compounds, bioactive compounds and biodiversity.

Publications in Tuhat database

Research projects

Contact information








Heljä-Sisko Helmisaari

Professor of Forest Soil Science since 1.6.2010
Senior scientist at the Finnish Forest Research Institute 1991-2010
PhD (Forest Sciences) 1990, University of Joensuu

Research in nutrient cycling
Research in root ecology

For understanding the function of natural, managed or disturbed forest soils and ecosystems, the pools, fluxes and cycling of carbon and nutrients have to be understood and quantified. This has been and is the major theme in my research. My special research interests is fine root dynamics, especially the responses of fine roots and their ectomycorrhizas to environment and interactions with the aboveground. The long-term effects of forest management on forest soil are also among my special research topics.

Helmisaari H-S. CV in Tuhat database

Publications in Tuhat database

Research projects



Lilli Kaarakka

Appointed in August 2020 as Assistant Professor in Forestry at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, USA, with start in 2021. Presently a PostDoc at the University of Colorado, E-mail

Ph.D, disputation on 9.11.2018
Master of Science in Forest Ecology and Management Michigan Tech (2012)
Master of Science in Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki (2013)

Area of interest: Forest soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics, soil disturbance and recovery and soil restoration.

Publications in Tuhat database

Contact information



Kristiina Karhu

Assistant professor, Academy Researcher
PhD (Agriculture and Forestry) , University of Helsinki, 2010

Research interests: Processes related to soil carbon cycling and feedbacks to climate change, temperature sensitivity of soil organic matter decomposition, soil carbon sequestration, interactions between soil carbon and nitrogen cycling, and soil carbon priming effects

Current projects:

Unravelling the mechanisms of the soil “microbial carbon pump” – soil C sequestration under global change (UNCAP) funded by the Academy of Finland (2018-2023)

Increasing soil carbon stocks and reducing nitrogen leaching with biochar (InCan), University of Helsinki Three-Year Research Project (2018-2020)

Research group: Soils and Climate Change

Publications in Tuhat database

Contact information


Väitöskuva 3.8.2010 Kristiina Karhu

Maiju Kosunen

Former PhD student, disputation took place on 4.9.2020.
MSc (Forest ecology), University of Helsinki, 2014

Area of interest: Effects of disturbances (especially storms and insect outbreaks) on the carbon dynamics of forest soils.

Publications in Tuhat database



Kajar Köster

Post-Doc Researcher, Department of Forest Sciences, University of Helsinki
Doctor’s Degree (2009), Estonian University of Life Sciences, Institute of Forestry and Rural Engineering, Department of Forest Biology

Research interests: Research is focusing to the carbon dynamics in forest soils, with special interest to disturbed (fire, wind, reindeer grazing, etc.) areas

Current projects: Reindeer grazing vs. Changes in above- and below ground biota and soil carbon dynamics in subarctic boreal forests – guilty or not? (Kone Foundation)

Research group web page:

Publications in Estonian Research Information System

Publications in Tuhat database

Contact information

Egle Köster

Ph.D, Project researcher

Research interests: Long-term effects of forest fires on soil greenhouse gas fluxes and the use of biochar in the field of forestry, especially on the effects on tree seedlings growth and survival.

Project web page:

Publications in Tuhat database











Jaana Leppälammi-Kujansuu

Former Postdoctoral Researcher
PhD (Forest Soil Science) , University of Helsinki, 2015

My research focuses on fine roots and their ectomycorrhizas and their responses to environmental changes like increased soil temperature and nutrient availability. In wider perspective I am interested in C cycling in boreal forests: the amount of root-origin litter C into the forest soil and its relation to aboveground litterfall.

Publications in Tuhat database

Contact information



Naoki Makita

Visiting Researcher 2014-2015 and co-operation visits 2016-
PhD (Agriculture) 2013, Kyoto University, Japan.

My interest is in forest carbon cycling, especially soil carbon dynamics. I focus on structure and function of tree fine roots and the interactions among the roots, mycorrhizal fungi, and soil.

Personal home page


Nele  Meyer

Former Postdoctoral Researcher

Research interest: Impact of climate change on soil organic matter turnover, processes related to microbial nutrient deficiency (priming effects, microbial nitrogen mining)

Research Group: Soils and Climate Change

Publications in Tuhat database

Kevin Mganga

Postdoctoral Researcher

Research interests:

  • Plant-Soil-Microorganisms interactions (priming effect, rhizosphere priming).
  • Soil C transformation 
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Effects of global change on soil C e.g. land cover and land use changes
  • Land degradation and desertification in dryland environments

Research group: Soils and Climate Change

Publications in Tuhat database

Marjo Palviainen

University researcher, University teacher (2018-2019)
Ph.D. (Forestry), University of Joensuu, Finland (2005)
Docent in Forest Soil Science

Expertise: Carbon and nutrient cycling in forest ecosystems, the effects of forest management on nutrient pools and fluxes, organic matter decomposition, ground vegetation, biogeochemistry of forest catchments

Publications in Tuhat database

Contact information







Jukka Pumpanen

Jukka Pumpanen was appointed as Professor of Microbiological Biogeochemistry in the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio 1st October 2015.

Present information:

Academy Research Fellow, Docent in Forest Soil Science
Doctor (Agric. For.), University of Helsinki, 2004

Publications in Tuhat database

Research projects


Contact information

Caius Ribeiro-Kumara

PhD student
MSc thesis topic: Effects of biochar on microbial biomass and biological nitrogen fixation

Area of interest: Belowground ecology

Publications in Tuhat database









Anu Riikonen

Doctor (Agric. For.), University of Helsinki, 2016
MSc, horticulture, Univ. of Helsinki 2004

Project researcher in various projects related to urban trees. Research interests include urban soils, engineered soils, urban tree root environment, root system structure and root function.

Viikki Urban tree reseach projects’ common website

Publications in Tuhat database

Eva Roth

PhD student, started in 2020

MSc in Forest Sciences 2019

MSc thesis topic: Effects of canopy gaps on soil respiration and microbial activity in uneven-aged Norway spruce stands

Area of interest: Forest management and soil carbon

Contact information





Photo of Eva-Maria Roth

Mike Starr

PhD (University of Sheffield, UK, 1983)
Associate prof. (Docent) in Forest Soil Science, University of Helsinki, 1993
University Lecturer in Forest Soil Science since 2004.

Research areas of interest: Forest ecosystem and catchment biogeochemistry, hydrology and water balance, forest management impacts, carbon sequestration and impacts of climate change, integrated monitoring, weathering, DOC and land-use, and heavy metals

Publications in Tuhat database

Research projects

Contact information




Marjut Wallner

Laboratory technician



Previous members (2010-)

Qian Zhao

Visiting Ph.D student September 2016 – April 2017

South China Botanical Garden, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Research topic: Responses of soil microbial community structure and function to seasonal precipitation changes in subtropical forest soils

Chunzi Wang

Visiting Ph.D student November 2017 – November 2018

Institute of Ecology and Forestry, Sichuan Agricultural University, China.

Research topic: Effects of phenolic compounds and terpenes on soil processes, jointly with Dr. Aino Smolander´s group at the Natural Resources Institue (Luke).

Syed Ashraful Alam

Dr. in Agriculture and Forestry, Univ. of Helsinki 2013

Research experience on African savannah woodlands (mainly in the Sudan) especially on biomass and soil carbon sequestration, deforestation and greenhouse gas emission inventory, ecosystem water balance, climate change and use of Global Climate Models (GCMs).

Information in Tuhat database

Contact information






Shambhu Prasad Sah

Ph.D. (Forestry), Univ. of Goettingen, Germany, 1990
University Researcher (Department of Forest Science

Area of interest: Implications of natural abundance of stable isotopes and radiocarbon in Biogeochemical cycling studies, Forest soil /nutrients, Root longevity and Ecology

Information in Tuhat-database


Loice Mildred Akinyi Omoro

M.Sc. in Forest Resources & Conservation

Area of interest: Ecosystem services, biomass and soil stocks, biodiversity, water balance and community participation.

Contact information:
Omoro, L.M.A
Viikki Tropical Resources Institute
P.O. Box 27, Latokartonaankaari 7
University of Helsinki
Department of Forest Sciences
FIN-00014 Helsinki, Finland
Phone +358 9-191-58610
Cell: +358-465513682

Tuhat database




Mesele Negash Tesemma

Doctor of Agriculture and Forest Sciences 2013
M.Sc in Farm Forestry from Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU 2002

Area of interest: Carbon stocks in agroforestry systems in woody vegetation and soils, biodiversity and developing biomass and carbon models for indigenous agroforestry species in Ethiopia.

Contact information in Tuhat database



Aki Lindén

PhD student
MSc (Environmental microbiology, environmental chemistry), 2010, University of Helsinki

My research is about microbial processes in general that are affecting carbon cycling in changing environmental conditions and the role of root exudation to below ground carbon dynamics. I am also interested in the role of bacteriophages for regulating soil dynamics.

Information in Tuhat database