The first important event in my life that was related to the world underwater took place when I was a child, when my godfather brought me a book, bearing the name of Captain Cousteau, as a present. I remember where I was sitting. I remember what it felt like to read of the journey of Jacques Piccard to the Mariana Trench and back, using a submersible (a bathyscaphe) called Trieste. It made me afraid of getting caught in the jaws of a giant clam. I wondered if they existed in the Baltic Sea?
The municipality of Juupajoki has granted the 13th Juupajoki medal to academy professor Markku Kulmala. The medal was granted already in 6th of December 2017 but was handed over last Wednesday 7th of March in ceremony at Juupajoki town hall.
Academy professor Kulmala has had a profounding role in designing and building the SMEAR-station network (Station for Measuring Ecosystem Atmosphere relations). In addition to Finland’s four SMEAR-stations there is one in Estonia and one in China, Nanjing. The biggest and oldest of the stations is SMEAR 2 in Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station.
The work done by Markku Kulmala and his research team is of paramount importance for the global climate change research! He has been working in Hyytiälä since the middle of 1980’s and the SMEAR 2 was founded in 1996.
Academy professor Markku Kulmala is the leading researcher of physics and chemistry of atmospheric aerosols and the most cited researcher in geosciences. He is one of the founders of the discipline of ecosystem-atmosphere interactions. His research groups work has increased vastly our knowledge about the mechanisms behind the global climate change.
Juupajoki medal is designed by Anssi Madetkivi in 1983 and it is the highest mark of honour from the municipality of Juupajoki. The medal can be granted as a recognition for the work or act done for the municipality.
Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station is an active field center of multidisclipinary research on forests, peatlands and atmosphere. A central topic is the role of forests and peatlands in climate change, which is a complex issue as the forests and peatlands act both as a source and a sink of greenhouse-gases and are also gradually becoming a more important source of bioenergy for the society.
Smear research stations are to measure the relationship of atmosphere and forest in boreal climate zone. The main aims of research are:
The University of Helsinki research stations (RESTAT UHEL) offer excellent logistics and support for research and teaching. With their long history the stations are able to provide long term environmental back-ground data sets from the Baltic Sea to the north of Finland. The stations have modern infrastructure to support a wide variety of research, from field studies to laboratory analyses. Accommodation and catering services make the stay at the stations easy and comfortable. RESTAT UHEL is one of the infrastructure platforms of the Helsinki Institute of Life Science (HiLIFE).
From the stations’ www-pages you can find the core information about the stations, pricing information and the latest news.
In order to introduce mobile data gathering tools, a web browser based visualization service was set up for the stations a few months ago. The service is aimed for any visitor at any of the stations; people can use their mobile devices to record their own nature observations. The observations made are visualized on a map below (fig. 1) in real-time. The idea of this project, besides introducing the tools, is to provide meaningful doing for different groups visiting or staying at the research stations. So far observations have been made by staff, researchers, different courses and sudden visitors.
Fig. 1. The mobile nature observations visualized on a map. A green marker means a positive observation and a red marker means a negative observation.
We used Open Data Kit –tools for data gathering and Google’s services in visualizing the data. All the tools used work seamlessly hand in hand. All the necessary tools have been installed and are available at the stations. Mobile data gathering tools can be used for example both in research and teaching purposes.
Using mobile devices for data gathering has some advantages against traditional field forms. With digital mobile forms, all kinds of data can be gathered simultaneously with one device. Besides of numeric data it’s also possible to record co-ordinates, take photos, record sound etc. With ready-made digital forms and pre-formatted answers to choose from, errors in writing down the data can be minimized. One big advantage is also that the data is sent directly to the server (or a spreadsheet) from the field. The forms work also off-line, which is very important in field conditions, also in a technologically advanced country like Finland there are numerous areas with no mobile data connection available.
Contact Lammi Biological Station for more information on the tools available. The nature observation system is at your disposal if you visit any of the five HiLIFE-stations.
There are also co-operation between Lammi Biological Station and some teachers around Finland. The idea is to use the mobile observation tools in school projects and public science projects.
The Muddusjärvi Research Station differs slightly from the other four HiLIFE-stations for not having a large infrastructure and year round activities. The station belongs to the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki and is situated in northern Finland in the village Kaamanen, 25 km from the city of Inari. The station operates with ca. 13 hectares of field and ca. 700 ha of forest and administrates also a 1000 ha lake area. The original purpose was to conduct research to support Lappish agriculture and other subarctic research for the Faculty. Since 1996, the usage of the station has been more or less project based and concentrated to the summer time. There is one permanent employer accompanied by the necessary summer help.
The Inari lowlands are among the best farming areas in the northern Lapland. Fields are situated near the water systems and therefore better sheltered from the frost. The soil is mineral soil ranging from fine sand / moraine to fine silt. The fields are low with organic material and the forests are flat dry coniferous forests. Reindeer are a regular sight.
In a future blog post we will write more about the recent research projects which have been conducted from the Muddusjärvi Research Station. The station provides an excellent base for smaller research activities and the station owned areas makes it easy to set up different experiments.
The title of this blog post comes from this excellent time lapse video from a local Inari based photographer Rauno Koivunen. The video shows the leaving of the ice cover from the lake Muddus which happened quite late this year.
Only two decades ago, there seemed to exist just two silvicultural options in Finland, either commercial forestry or conservation. There was public debate over the adequacy of conserved forest area and the usefulness of the geographical locations of conserved areas. Improving the biodiversity of forests became a widely known concern at the turn of the century. After that, more and more alternative goals for forest management have become established hand in hand with increasing diversity of forest owners. Suddenly there seem to be as many options for forest management as there can be options to account for different societal needs.
The variety of competing interests and methods may make even the scientific debate appear more like politics. The use of wood for carbon economy provides an example: is it best to allow forests in Finland to capture as much carbon from the atmosphere as quickly as possible, or is it best to promote the replacement of fossil fuels with biofuels as soon as possible? Although both options are sensible and based on good arguments, predicting the end result of either is highly complex depending on the time perspective and on the multiple connections among interacting ecological and societal processes.
Forestry courses at Hyytiälä station serve to teach silvicultural decisions through actual field examples. A look at the former and present course programs shows how the alternatives of forest management have appeared in the teaching agenda. Just ten years ago the division was simple “Differences between natural and commercial forests”, and the management methods included basic routines such as soil preparation, choice of proper tree species, seeding or planting practices, thinning procedures and cutting. Game management, a dear hobby for many traditional forest owners, was included as the sole added aspect.
Nowadays even the basic courses cover a much wider choice of management alternatives. As explicated in the course topics, people can have multiple values and objectives, and it is rational to emphasize different aspects in different decisions: landscape management, household needs, economical security, recreation, and generally the presence of multiple criteria for forest management, including various ecosystem services that can be promoted through proper nature management. The recommendations of WWF become covered as well.
Forest sciences have good chances to be an active member in the current rise of Finnish forestry sector. The modern teaching of forest sciences has great potential for producing highly skilled experts of ecological engineering who can consider the invaluable role of forests for functioning of both biosphere and human economy. Despite the unavoidable complexity of balancing different goals, a student with proper values and insight – and hopefully accompanied with support from the society – has good possibilities to learn just the right tools to successfully tackle these challenges.
Text and photos: Dr Pekka Kaitaniemi, research coordinator, adj. prof. at Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station
Summer is coming and field activities are increasing at the research stations. In the north there is still a thick cover of snow, but in the south of Finland the students from different faculties and departments are all around, busy with their teachers. Research groups are installing their equipment and starting to execute their fine plans outdoors. The interns have plenty of things on their hands, helping in the research or doing their own research projects.
The University of Helsinki research stations offer excellent logistics and support for research and teaching. With their long history the stations are able to provide long term environmental background data sets from the Baltic Sea to the north of Finland. The stations have modern infrastructure to support a wide variety of research, from field studies to laboratory analyses. Accommodation and catering services make the stay at the stations easy and comfortable.
This blog is all about the happenings at the University of Helsinki research stations. The stations belong to the RESTAT-station network along with the other Universities’ field stations. Five of the stations form also a HiLIFE-network (Helsinki Institute of Life Sciences) for co-operation. You are welcome to follow the activities of Tvärminne Zoological Station, Lammi Biological Station, Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station, Kilpisjärvi Biological Station and Muddusjärvi Research Station in this blog.
A common www-page is also under construction for the stations. When it is ready you good people will be informed here. Have an interesting summer and do not forget to visit here now and then!