The Hyytiälä forest station celebrates its 100th anniversary

The University of Helsinki’s research station in Hyytiälä celebrated its 100-year history in early July. The station, originally established in 1910 as a training area for forest sector students, has become a world-class research station during its one hundred years of existence.

The festivities started on 1 July at the Forest and Climate celebratory seminar, opened by Paavo Lipponen. The festivities continued with a party for invited guests, and an open house day. The open house day was attended by 400 visitors.

The SMEAR station is one of the highlights in Hyytiälä. The SMEAR station measures the interaction between forests and the atmosphere. Examples of measured items include small particles forming in the forest and the forest’s carbon dioxide exchange with the atmosphere. The results can be utilized when studying forests’ capability of acting as carbon sinks, for example.

Also at a more general level, the impact of forests on climate change is one of the focus areas of current research conducted at the Hyytiälä station. The impact of marsh trenching on the carbon balance, and the effects of energy wood harvesting are now studied extensively. Research and teaching are increasingly emphasising the environmental effects of forest management and forestry.

The research carried out at the Hyytiälä station is multidisciplinary, which the researchers consider to be a particular advantage. A further special feature of the forest station is that a series of measurements have been conducted there, which are also exceptionally long at the global level. The valuable research information is freely available to all.

A traditional location for field courses

Hyytiälä has always been, and still is, an important course location for students. Forest sciences students come to Hyytiälä during their first summers of studies to learn forestry and forest research in practice.

“Theory and field work support each other, an overall view of forests is formed through both of them. The competence obtained here by students can be seen in Finnish forests,” says Antti Uotila, who has been the director of the station for 20 years now.

In addition to introducing modern research and teaching, the festivities also looked back on the beginnings of the forest station. A group of students and field course assistants performed a scene in which they reenacted life at the station and the life of students in the 1910s. A lot of things were different back then, but there were also similarities between the first decades of the 20th and the 21st century. To this day, in addition to the latest research information and methods, forest students learn how to measure and fell trees, among other things.

Visit the website of the Hyytiälä forest station »»

Text & photo: Sonja Lindroos

Translation: AAC Global

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