Day 9: Climate change adaptation

Strictly speaking, it was the last day to have class in the summer school, and there will be a public seminar and group work presentations in the next two days.

Seeing that the summer school is coming to an end, it reminds me of the days when I first arrived in Helsinki. I didn’t know how to get to the Unihome because I only search for the University of Helsinki on Google Maps. After the plane was taken, we went to the city center by the train, then carefully looked at the Moodle found that I made a mistake in the address, and the reception in the Unihome was going to, so I took a taxi to Unihome, began the life of Helsinki summer school.

Today the first course was our lovely professor Markku Kanninen’s class, which mainly showed us Ecosystem services, risk and climate change, because we had already been introduced the concept of Ecoysystem services, so this lesson skipped the concept directly. And he used a photo to introduce the elements of an ecosystem, such as managed natural forest, agriculture, village, and so on. Then he asked us about the potential risks in such an ecological environment.He also introduced the impact of Mitigation and Adaptation on Ecosystem Services and Climate change. Later, he showed us the changes of Cumulative emissions and global temperature from 1861 to 1880, inferring that global temperatures would reach 1.5 °C around 2040 at the present rate of warming. Then expressed the cumulative emissions of CO2. In addition to this, we also learned the concept and influence of exposure, vulnerability and resilience . From his class we can always learn unexpected knowledge. In my opinion, he is really a warm, friendly and nice man.

After 15 minutes of break time, we ushered in the second class. The teacher started the class and said that he hope we still remember him. I certainly remember that he is Adrian Monge, a PhD student in Helsinki, and we knew that he is from Costa Rica on the last day. I remember the three days of the field trip, he went together with us and explained the various problems. He also showed his skillful technique in barbecue and went to the sauna with us. He likes to talk some jokes when we were chatting, and everyone was very happy. How can we forget such a humor man?

The course began, and he introduced the overview of Risk, vulnerability and adaptation and their relationship to us. Then we also learned about the relationship between CBA (Community Based Adapation) and the livelihood framework. What’s more, he also introduced the integrated approach and the trade-offs to us.

After the lunch break, Adrian Monge brought us CRiSTAL (Community-based Risk Screening Tool – Adaptation and Livelihoods), then divided us into two groups of four people, and told us to start group discussions and find the problem in the revelent materials, then talk about the solution of the problems it. This class gave us a good understanding of the many factors of poverty and allowed us to learn how to analyze and solve problems.

Finally, I am very happy to have such an opportunity to attend the summer school in Helsinki. As the time goes by, it’s time to leave vikki campus and say goodbye to the teachers. I really miss the day of arriving  Helsinki. I seems to be taking the English listening test every day during the first week, but the field trip in the second week made us get close to each other, I also began to understand the course content and everyone’s communication, then in the third week I started to take the initiative to communicate in English. I hope that the summer school will last longer.

I sincerely wish everyone who I met during the summer school, and hope that we will have a chance to meet again in the future.

-Junkai Chen

Day 8: Ecosystem services and business

17TH AUGUST, 2018.
First thing in the morning we had a lecture by Mika Rekola about the valuation of ecosystem services. This lecture was a bit different as we split the class into two groups and instead of just listening to the lecturer we were discussing many of the presented issues in our group. We were discussing how and why we measure economic values of ecosystem services in the first place, and it seemed everyone had their own opinions about this. Ironically no one mentioned the things that were the focus of this lecture,
such as how avoid market failure and how taxation policies are formed. This lecture was indeed almost solely focused on economics, so it was a big shift from the previous lectures and there were a lot of new terms for us.

Next up we had a lecture about natural capital evaluation by Asko Siintola who works for Indufor, a consulting company that focuses on the forest industry. Again, this was a lecture about economics so there were quite a few terms that were unfamiliar to us. He explained the process for creating a natural capital protocol framework; how businesses can identify, measure and value their impacts and dependencies on natural capital. He presented two different cases: One was a tea company in Rwanda that wished to increase its yield, this required a very detailed analysis that valuated everything from soil stability and water supply to the supply of fuelwood for the factory. The other case was a tourist resort in the Philippines, where a lot of the resort was built on a protected area. There was shown to have been such a strong degradation of the coastal environment in these areas that some popular tourist areas such as Boracay Island actually had to be shut down because of overtourism!

– Klaus Blomster

Day 9: People in the forest landscape

It is already 15 days in Finland and we are gradually drawing closer to the end of the short course- Managing Sustainable Forest Landscape. The weather was generally cold as compared to other days.

The day started with Dr. Hogarth giving us insight into forest and livelihoods in the Global South. After acquainting himself with all participants and introducing himself to the class, lecture began. We were made to understand that even though Agricultural Revolution started 12,000 years ago, rural people across the Global South still derived as much income from forest and wild lands as from cultivating crops. We looked at definitions, forest livelihood on global stage, role of forest in livelihood and poverty, empirical evidences and methods and tools for collecting forest livelihood data.  Forest livelihood was defined as a means of securing the basic necessities of life such as food, water, shelter and clothing from the forest. It is generally revealed that ‘where there is rich forest, there is poverty’. The three types of people-forest relationship that exit are the total dependent on the forest for livelihood, people who live near the forest and use products partly for subsistence and income generation and the last group depend on the forest commercially. It was observed from the study that 95% of the value of forest is not from timber as many perceive. Instead the most important forest income sources in Global South are fuel, food and structure & fibre respectively. Currently, 99.6% of income was generated from forest products and only 0.4% from the services of the forest. Averagely, forest contributes 22.2% of household income in the Global south. It was also observed that though both men and women depend on forest products for subsistence, men are more responsible for processed products. Also the Poverty Environment Network (PEN) found that households with medium to high asset holdings and higher market orientation were more likely to clear forest than the poorest and market-isolated households. Dr. Hogarth gave book awards to three participants who gave the closets answers to the exercises given. Julia from England, Cynthia and Michael from Ghana were the award winners.

Right after lunch, Markus Ihalainen from CIFOR took us through Gender and Power relations in forest landscapes. It was explained that there was clear difference between the words ‘Sex’ and ‘Gender’. Whilst sex refers to the biological features of an individual, Gender goes ahead to look at other factors of social differences and inequalities. Gender influences the way in which men and women engage in forest resources. Globally, women participated far less in decision-making and there is a rampant inequality with respect to access and control over productive resources. It is also that women’s exclusion from decision making could result in certain interest, priorities and needs being overlooked. It was also observed that climate change impacted women and men differently. Hence, more must be done to empower women in forest related issues. Some of the students also shared experienced from their various countries to confirm the observed trends though it was admitted that there is a gradual swift though not drastic enough.

Dr Paula Siitonen ended the day with a lecture on Participatory approaches in sustainable landscape management: How to co-create sustainable benefits from the forest landscapes? Hers was a more demonstrative way to presenting what she wanted to teach us theoretically. All through her lectures were practical exercises to explain every step and approach of participatory approaches and it was very much appreciated as things became real to us. She took us through the theories, processes methods of participatory approaches, communication and facilitation skills, materials and techniques to achieve better results. We were made to understand that the success of such approaches mainly depended on the facilitator. One must be skillful enough to  steer participatory gathering to the expected result. Facilitator must make conscious effort to get every member to contribute his or her ideas.

Generally, all the lectures for today were more socially oriented and very interactive.

-Cynthia Adjoa Aseba Okine.

Day 7: Carbon & forests

16TH AUGUST, 2018.
Today we were introduced to the group assignment. The goal here is to study different development pathways of different countries, where the class is split into three groups and each group gets three random countries to make a presentation and written report about. At least 6 different development indicators are needed, such as human development index, CO2 emissions, food security, etc. We are to find out what has been emphasized in development and what the trade-offs are, what groups of people
have been affected in which ways, how the landscape of each country has changed over the years and we are to speculate what kind of future the countries are moving towards and make at least six recommendations for how to make things better. One reference point for this that was recommended to us by our course coordinator is Progressia, a website that presents a fictional country that resembles a landlocked African country.

We then had a small Q&A with Markku Kanninen about things people still were wondering about the course and the field trip. Markku then held his presentation about forest transition and also talked about acid rain and airborne pollutants in Finland and Russia. We talked about what the different definitions for “deforestation” and “forest loss” and in what countries deforestation occur. Very scary to think we lose the area of a soccer field of forest every 3 seconds! I thought it was very interesting to compare the drivers for deforestation in different countries, such as the main driver in Africa being
wood for fuel rather than logging and how the pressure to have certified products has forced farmers in Brazil to stop deforestation.

Next was a short presentation by Markku Larjavaara on climate change, forests and carbon. This presentation was supposed to give us some basic information about carbon fluxes and pools, terms and definitions so that we are prepared to use CarboSCEN more effectively. This is a computer program developed by VITRI and CIFOR that can calculate carbon in biomass over time and compare different
land-use classes. After lunch we had a workshop where we learned how to use the program. The program is simple but can be a bit tricky to learn at first. The program lets you put in your own data about biomass and soil carbon density and transition speed in different land-use classes and then run a simulation for how the carbon density ratios will change over long periods of time. We were asked to make our own fictional scenarios in the program and present them to the class afterwards. Most people
had a scenario where land-use of forests decreased for the next two or three decades as a result of deforestation and was then later restored. As a vegetarian I created my dream scenario where people started eating less meat and pasture lands and their carbon were slowly being converted into forests.

– Klaus Blomster

Day 6: Field trip

Today was the last day of the field trip,so today we were leaving Hyytiala Forestry Field Station, a beautiful and historic place. I thought I will miss this place. Let’s get to the point. It was sunny today, which was a good start to a wonderful day. At 8 o’clock in the morning,we had a hearty breakfast at the restaurant in Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station. This laid a solid foundation for a fulfilling day.

As we all know, Hyytiälä Forestry Field station encompasses the SMEAR II infrastructure (Station for Measuring Forest Ecosystem – Atmosphere Relations), which serves to provide continuous and comprehensive measurements of fluxes, storages and concentrations of important substances in the land ecosystem–atmosphere interactions. The functioning of trees, soil processes and their relationships with the atmospheric processes are continuously monitored. Therefore, this morning we visited SMEAR II-station and mainly learned its Ecosystem atmosphere relations. A postdoctoral researcher named Juho Aalto enthusiastically introduced us to relevant knowledge.

Since I went to the national park yesterday, I already knew birch, pine and spruce, so I found these three trees when I entered the forest today. First of all, Juho Aalto gave us a general introduction to the development of the SMEAR II- station. The SMEAR II- station was established in 1995 and has been in existence for more than 20 years. At the beginning, forest researchers and physicists got the idea that photosynthesis and atmosphere interaction could check the pollution, because they feared that forests would die from the effects of pollution, and then established the station. And I also learned that the value of this station is 15million euros. As for this forest, it was established in 1961, mixture of spruce、pine and birch. It has a 128-meter tower for atmospheric and flux measurements, and an 18-meter tower for radiation and flux measurements. After a brief introduction, we took a field look at some of the devices. Figure 1, for example, it measures how the gases move between the needles and the air at the top of the tree canopy. Figure 2,this device is used to measure the flow of gas between soil and air. These devices measure the data associated with the ecosystem atmosphere, and then some researchers analyze the data and periodically check the problem to find the most appropriate ecosystem relationship for the forest. After that, we visited their studio, Juho Aalto showed us a lot of measured data and some complicated indoor machines, which made us lament the importance of their work. At last, we climbed up the tower and saw a magnificent view of the forest.

We had our last lunch at the Hyytiala Forestry Field station, and we left and drove to the farm, which was run by a young couple. On the way we saw many farms. It was so beautiful that I were looking forward to the farm we’re going to.

When we arrived at the farm, the farmer enthusiastically gave each of us clothes, shoe covers and gloves. Everybody gets really funny when they put on their clothes, but it’s very practical. Then, we visited some young cows, which stood neatly inside the fence and ate grass. The fence they used is relatively advanced. There was no young bull on the farm, and the bulls would be sold because they would fight. Then we walked into the place where the adult cows were, and the farmer told us they milked every morning and evening, and cleaned the cows every time they milked. It makes me feel hygienic. I also learned that every cow produces milk for 9 to 10 months a year. Then we went to another room where the cows were taking in grains containing rapeseed because the cows that ate the seeds produced good milk.

After that, we visited the milking house and had 12 milking machines. Each time milking, there are 6 cows on each side. Each cow is about one and a half hours of milking each time. In addition, during the conversation with the farmer, I learned that the current price of milk has declined due to policy influence. These cows also ate grass from their own farm, which was very healthy and convenient. The farmers take the cows for recreational activities such as walking outside.

After the farm visit, we went back to school. Today was a very fulfilling, interesting and meaningful day.

-Ming Gao

Day 5: Field trip

14TH AUGUST, 2018.

The day started on a brighter sunny note, after a great dinner and barbeque night hangout by students and facilitators along the lake at the Hyytiala Field Station. The temperature of that eventful morning was 11°C, a lot colder than what was experienced in Helsinki the previous days (28°C). The group’s dressing for the field trip was significantly influenced by the temperature. The group set off for the field at 8:28am after enjoying a good Finnish breakfast that was served between 7am – 8am.

Two main activities were planned for the day: (1) a visit to the Helvetinjarvi National Park and (2) a visit to the harvesting site of Storaenso (one of the leading pulp and paper companies in Finland). Meanwhile, on the way to the Helvetinjarvi National Park the group made a stopover at Ryovarinkuoppa, a historic site created during the ice age. It was explained that ice melted to create a huge depression, on the side of a busy ancient road. The story continued that in the olden days, robbers used the “ditch” as a hiding place to attack travelers. One striking thing that was observed in this valley was the purity of the stream water – so clean and clear!

At around 9:30am the team arrived at the Helvetinjarvi National Park and went on a hike through the forest with several intermittent educational stops for questions and answers. Anna and Adrian, the facilitators, were more than ready to answer all the questions asked by students. Questions ranged from the main tree species found in the forest to functions or role of the forest ecosystem. The main tree species students were aided to identify in the national park include Spruce, Birch and Pine.  The facilitators explained that the forest play several roles include recreation (many visitors met along the hiking trail and others went to swim in the lake), food (participants picked and ate blueberries throughout the trip), carbon sequestration etc. Students learnt that the reservation of parts of the forest that became a national park started in the 1950s and 1960s. The national park is “very Finnish” due to the traditional Finnish paintings found at some vantage points in the national park. We also learnt that unlike what is done elsewhere, no entrance fee is collected at any Finnish national parks due to the “every man’s right” policy in Finland.

For biodiversity conservation purposes, it was observed that fallen/dead trees were left lying in the forest. Contrary to the 10% target for deadwood set by the government regarding its own forests, so far inventories show that only 3.5% is achieved in Finnish forests in general. There is also a law that protects ant hills, thus ant hill destruction is not allowed in Finland. We also learnt that in some national parks prescribed burning is allowed to support germination (regeneration) of some pine seeds and the activities of other organisms.

Throughout the walk in the forest, one cannot miss the presence of rocks and boulders all over the park. A story was told of an ancient myth about demons and giants throwing those rocks around. However, it has been explained that those rocks were moved around by molten ice during the ice age. The return leg of the hike started with a rather adventurous rock climbing through a gorge formed by the opening of a huge rock.


At about 1:00pm the group returned to the entrance of the park and attended nature’s call in preparation towards the journey to the harvesting site.

The group set off around 1:05pm and made a brief stopover at a private Ostrich and Pig farm, just less than one minute drive from the entrance of the national park.

After a little over an hour’s smooth cruise in the rented bus and admiring Finland’s agricultural-forest-lakes landscape the group arrived in the town at 2:17pm. The group was met by Eedla Makkonen (a Forestry Expert at Storaenso, one of the world’s biggest Pulp and Paper Company) at a point and led us to the logging site. Eedla made very startling revelations about the management and ownership of forest in Finland. She indicated that about 70% of forests in Finland are owned by private people; and one out of every five Finns owns a forest. The ownership profile she said cuts across students, cities, towns, companies, schools and churches. The Forestry Expert averred that most of the forests owned by government are designated protected areas and not for commercial timber production.

Conducting the group round, Eedla intelligently answered very interesting and difficult questions from students regarding forest ownership, the company’s products, inventory practices, main forest species, age of stands before thinning. Students learnt that the main role of the government in the harvesting of private forests is taxation; and government takes as much as 30% tax from private forest owners after harvesting. She explained that usually forest owners in an area team up and contribute money to construct roads. Again, like the main species found in the national park visited earlier, Spruce, Birch and Pine were found to be the dominant species in the thinning area of Storaenso. Age for thinning depends on the tree species.

The company educated students on the use of drones, laser scanners and relascopes for inventory of planted forest stands. In the physical form of inventory that uses the relascope, basal area of stands are determined and that forms the basis for pricing of timber for negotiation with the forest owners.

For me, the most exciting moment in the entire trip is the tour of the 1 million Euros Komatsu branded Harvester.


Just like other students, I had only seen that machine and its operation on Youtube but not physically, and so it was awesome seeing it in operation. It was reported that the machine is owned by an entrepreneur and his two sons who operate it. According to the operator of the harvester the productivity in the thinning site visited was 8 – 10m3 per hour. However, in a full scale operation on a clear cut, the productivity is around 60 – 80 m3 per hour. Trees species being thinned include Spruce, Birch and Pine. Eedla mentioned that Spruce is slightly more expensive wood (10 Euros to 25 Euros per cubic metre) than Birch.

Finally, after a long but exciting and highly educative tour throughout the day the group returned to our base in Hyytiala to a sumptuous meal served at the cafeteria around 5:30pm. The team got dispersed briefly for about one and half hours and later reconvened at 7:10pm for a really nice traditional Finnish Sauna and lake swimming experience. The eventful day ended with a super barbeque night at the lakeside which saw students and facilitators share their experiences of the day’s field trip. The curtain was finally drawn at 10:30pm and the group retired to bed to refresh for the next day’s activities.



Day 4: Field trip

13.08.2018. Industrial visit to Metsä Board Tako, Tampere.

We commenced today’s activity by taking a journey for the field trip to Hyytiala forestry field station. On our way, we had an exciting industrial visit to Metsä board mill, which is one of the largest paperboard mills in Finland. The industry is located in Tako, Tampere, a major industrial hub in Finland. The mill manager, Jaakko Ikonen (Engr.) gave a general introduction of the Metsä Group and the Metsä Board Tako.


The Metsä Group have five major business areas which include: wood supply and forest services (Metsä Forest; a cooperative owned by 104,000 Finnish forest owners, and members are taught how to manage their forests), wood products (Metsä Wood), pulp and sawn timber (Metsä Fibre), paperboard (Metsä Board), and Metsä Tissue, where tissue and cooking papers are manufactured. The company has a staff strength of 9,100 personnel and the annual sale per annum is 5 billion Euros. The company believes that the future depends so much on wood, and the group has assumed the responsibility of meeting the needs of the growing population. Sustainable bio-economy is the hallmark of the Metsä Group, therefore their major wood source for over 150 years is from Northern wood. The company offers sustainable choices of wood products from sustainably managed forests, and works for a better climate that enhances the wellbeing of the environment. The manager pointed out that Metsä Board is currently taking the lead in the production of paperboards (incl. folding boxboards and linerboards) from virgin fibres, although there are other competitors. The history of Metsä Board dated back to 1865, and has survived various stages of development till it became Metsä paperboard from the previous M-real in 2012. As urbanization increases, there is an upward trend in demand for packaging solutions, especially those produced from sustainable forests and consumers are willing to pay more for such paperboard products. Metsä Board is a non-integrated mill as it produces only folding boxboard up to 210,000 tonnes/a to meet the teeming needs for packaging solutions. The paperboard mill currently has 200 employees, and sells globally to over 100 countries. The mill gets her supply of dry pulp bales as raw material (about 500 tonnes/day produced from chemical pulping) from Metsä Fibres. The pulp was made from 10% softwood, and 90% hardwood. The dry pulp bales are fed to the pulper where it is mixed with water and mechanically re-pulped before it goes to the paper machine. The process starts from the head box, suction pumps, series of heated rollers for drying the paperboards to average of 7.1% moisture content before it finally goes to the reel. After the short introduction to the company and her product, we had a mill tour to see the paper machine in operation and everyone was quite impressed and excited to see how the paperboards were produced. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take any picture during the mill tour, but we had a group photo.


At the conclusion of the mill tour, we continued our journey to Hyytiala Forestry station. On arrival, we had a short introduction to the forestry station, established in 1911, as a forestry college which was later transferred to the University of Helsinki to develop the discipline at the University level. At the end of the activity day, we had dinner, and later barbecue, during which we asked further questions on forest ownership and management in Finland.

-Samuel Oluyinka Olaniran

Day 3: International forest policy

It was on the 9th of August 2018 and the third day of the 2018 HSS. The day’s lecture started at 9:00am with Prof Maria Brockhaus. She gave a brief history of international forest policy, policy domain and the powers that influence international forest policy formulation. Despite data availability suggesting alarming rate of deforestation with supporting evidence from satellite imagery and aerial photography and the resulting consequences like exacerbating global warming ,there has not been any global forest treaty. Leading to the failed attempt to negotiate a global forest treaty at Rio Summit in 1992, countries with tropical forest oppose global treaty by advocating for national sovereignty over forest, while supporters of a convention see a global conservation-oriented forest agreements. The role of actors and actor groups in global forest policy formulation was also discussed. Prof Brockhaus discussed policy instrument on deforestation, restrictions on activities that damage our environment, issuance of permits for resource exploitation, planning and zoning to exclude protected areas from direct benefits as a regulatory mechanism to manage deforestation. From economic point of view, polluter pay systems and reward for environmentally friendly behaviors were also discussed. Information on conservation in relation to how people’s activities on the environment should made be readily available for public consumption. The role of the impending REDD+, land use options, forest certification, FLEGT/VPA and PES in forest conservation was also elaborated by Prof Brockhaus.

Jussi Viitanen, followed Prof Brockhaus with FLEGT as an EU forest policy instrument. Jussi’s presentation highlighted FLEGT as EU’s responds to global illegal logging concern. The presentation took the class through the EU concern and increasing pressure of tropical deforestation between 1980 -1990,  the G8’s plan of action on illegal logging between 1998 -2003 and in 2001-2005 and the World Bank FLEG regional initiative. It was revealed during the presentation that eight (8) countries including Malaysia are at the negotiation stage, six (6) including Ghana at the implementation stage and one (1) country, Indonesia is at the operational stage. Jussi informed the class about the negotiation as well as the Legality Assurance System of the VPA. The presenter told the class that the first FLEGT license has already been issued in Indonesia. Emphasis was laid on the fact that VPA introduces no new law into a country but ensures that a country adheres to the implementation of her own laws.

After launch at 13:00, Maija Kaukonen took the class trough forest policies at the landscape level for an hour. A presentation which was pure map and chat based was very comprehensive, gave the mission of WWF as “To stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature”. 

The mission reflects the alarming rate of deforestation and its impact on biodiversity. The class was told that between 1970 and 2010, 56% of tropical species have been lost through deforestation. It was explained that landscape approach aimed at deforestation prevention is by enhancing land use options which retains forest for several purposes as well as optimize the productive capacity of the adjoining landscape. The presentation highlighted the success choked by WWF in the Nepal using the landscape approach at solving problems of deforestation and fragmentation and that the approach has been used to increase Tiger population by 198 from 2009 to 2015 and Rhino population from 375 in 2005 to 645 in 2015, a remarkable improvement.

The last lecture of the day was by Grace Wong. It was on REDD+ benefit sharing. She showed the class a photo with a caption “By comparison to what it could have been, it’s a miracle. By comparison to what it should have been, it’s a disaster” George Monbiot.

She explained that participants of the Paris agreement did not expect an agreement to be reached, but what was reached was not binding, It set the stage or REDD+ results based financing.

How then will the financial benefit be shared? Benefit sharing in REDD+ concept was explained as distribution of net gains either directly or indirectly from REDD+ implementation. REDD+ benefit comes with implementation and transaction cost, revenues forgone resulting from alternative forest land and resource use, changing forest/ land use, representation, management of finance, governance and tenure, This brings together several actors in REDD+ implementation process. Who then benefits? Will the expectation of the poor be met? The day was informative and very interactive.


Day 1. Introduction to the theme of the course

Today was day 1 of Managing Sustainable Forest Landscapes HSS! For me, it began with getting reasonably lost at Vikki Campus and struggling to pronounce ‘Latokartanonkarri’ to the receptionist in one of the buildings, but this did mean that I was able to explore a bit of the campus before the first lecture!

Professor Markku Kanninen began with an introduction of the course and a summary of what to expect in the coming weeks. Although I had been briefly acquainted with my fellow class participants from the previous day, Markku asked us to introduce ourselves and I heard a bit more about where everyone was from. It was great to see such a diverse mix of people from many different backgrounds taking the course, as this was one of the reasons I was interested in studying at HSS.

After Markku’s talk, Peter Dewees who is the former lead forest specialist from the World Bank gave an informative lecture titled ‘Managing rural landscapes for greater sustainability’. Peter presented a wide range of information and case studies that I was not previously aware of. Probably the most interesting part for me was learning about the Faidherbia albida tree. This tree is difficult to establish and hard to grow but is used for nitrogen fixation that can promote crop growth, and also sheds its leaves during the wet season, meaning that crop shading is not an issue. This tree has been shown to double the yields of crops and is being used in many areas in Africa—of particular
importance since crop yields there have recently been stagnant. This is an example of how we can promote forests within farmland, although different from the traditional sense of the word ‘forest’. Peter highlighted that forests can be considered in many different forms whether it be agroforestry, degraded trees or part of a mosaic landscape.

It was interesting to gain a perspective from class participants from the Ghanaian Forestry Commission who were able to shed some light on conflicts between agriculture and forestry sectors in Ghana, as well as policy measures that they use and how they work on different scales.

After a lunch break and a quick tour around the Viikki campus, Iryna Herzon presented a talk called ‘Biodiversity functioning as a foundation for ecosystem services’. We discussed how ecosystem services may be defined, and how the term is a very anthropocentric concept, essentially involving multiple resources and processes that are supplied by natural ecosystems to humans. We spent some time discussing the nature of the trend between diversity and ecosystem function, including the redundancy and rivet hypothesis as well as idiosyntaric trends. After much thought and a look at published research of polycultures vs monoculture ecosystems, it became clear that that higher diversity generally causes an increase in ecosystem function, which eventually levels off, becoming saturated, as all ecological niches have been exploited. It is clear that the functional diversity of  individual species is important in dictating how ecosystem function increases, and that we may be able to identify key species worth conserving to maintain ecosystem services. A closing remark from Iryna was although certain species may be responsible for providing specific services, to an extent, all species in an ecosystem interact and may depend on each other through a complex set of relationships that we do not fully understand.

Lastly, Mike Starr presented a talk about ‘Water, forests and ecosystem services’. He explained that land cover (species, species density and soil composition) is extremely important and can dictate water infiltration, soil moisture, drainage, surface runoff, interception and many other impacts that have consequences for flooding for example. Mike also explained the water balance in relation to the law of conservation of mass, where Inputs = Outputs + changes in storage. It was an especially informative end to the day as it could be related to Peter’s earlier mention of the World Bank’s efforts to improve watershed rehabilitation in Turkey.

– Juliana Kohli

Course starts soon

Welcome to learn about what the Helsinki Summer School course Managing Sustainable Forest Landscapes is all about this year. The students will be responsible for writing blog posts about what they have experienced and learned during the course days.

There is still couple of weeks time before the course starts and ten students from Europe, Asia and Africa arrive to Helsinki. The city and the rest of Finland has been exceptionally hot this summer, so I as the coordinator have been literally sweating with all the arrangements. Everything is more or less ready now and I am looking anxiously for all of you to arrive. Nähdään pian, so see you soon!