Ecological research network receives EUR 3 million funding from the EU

Research, decision-makers and the public will engage in interaction which is more intensive than before.


The Long-Term-Ecological-Research (LTER) network has received EUR 3 million from the EU, with EUR 900,000 of that sum allocated to the University of Helsinki. The global LTER network studies long-term changes taking place in the Earth's eco systems.

Climate change means that the nature of eco systems are changing, with legislation concerning the environment and hunting, for example, falling behind. The director of the University of Helsinki’s biology station Tvärminne, docent Marko Reinikainen, says that the funding is intended for the development of the interaction between environmental research, decision-makers and the public.

In Finland, the network covers the entire country and engages in cooperation with several universities and field station all around the world. Regarding the faculties of the University of Helsinki, the Faculty of Biosciences and the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry are already extensively involved in the project.

On the coasts of Finland, climate change is seen in the fact that the salt content of seawater has decreased. As winters are becoming warmer and rainier, the catchment flows into the sea. This also affects protective measures in the countryside. The protection zones for agriculture are no longer effective because the entire eco system has changed.

“Now we have to try to again understand the crucial processes and quickly provide society and decision-makers with feedback so that legislation, for example, can be changed accordingly,” Reinikainen points out.

Tvärminne possesses information packages which originate from the early 20h century and are suitable for the study of long-term effects, and older research stations have packages which originate from as far back as the late 19th century. With the new funding, the packages will be digitalised, which means that researchers will have easier and more extensive access to them.

The University of Helsinki will sign the agreement on 15 September, and the project will kick off in early 2009.

Text: Jonna Söderqvist
Photo: Karin Hannukainen

Translation: AAC Noodi Oy

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