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Division of Biogeoscience
Division of Geology and Geochemistry
Division of Urban Geograpahy and Regional Studies
Study Office

P.O. Box 64
(Gustaf Hällströmin katu 2a)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki

Department Office
Institute of Seismology

P.O. Box 68
(Gustaf Hällströmin katu 2b)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki

phone +358 294 1911 (university exchange)
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Laboratories and Facilities

Taita Environmental Research and Resource Arc (TERRA)

Photo: Tino Johansson

TERRA research station, launched by the University of Helsinki in January 2010, is located in Taita Hills, Taita District, Kenya. The area can be reached from Nairobi (400km) or coastal Mombasa (150km). Taita Hills are known for accommodating endemic flora and fauna. The area is one of the World´s biodiversity hotspots and the mountain rainforests act as water towers feeding the lowlands. The forests as well as the agricultural land suffer from degradation due to population pressure, thus the complexity of natural resource management and the remnants of biodiversity have attracted and provided challenges for researchers in various disciplines. One can find a diverse range of ecosystems and ways of life in Taita, both high in the hills and on lowlands. These include indigenous and plantation forests, sacred groves, agro-forestry, range lands, Sisal-plantations, national parks and reserves as well as urbanized areas.

Taita Hills caters especially well for biosciences, studies in climate - land cover feedback mechanisms, agricultural sciences, studies in rural development and environmental conservation.

Multidisciplinary studies have been conducted during the recent years in the area, headed by Geoinformatics Professor Petri Pellikka, and in cooperation with both Kenyan and international organizations, the Faculty of Biosciences and the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry at the University of Helsinki. TERRA research station provides accommodation and facilitates research activities of students and researchers from various universities both internationally and locally.