Research groups

Research groups in forest sciences
Research groups in forest sciences

Research groups that operate wholly or partly under the Department of Forest Sciences in alphabetical order.


Biosphere-atmosphere group
Ecosystem Processes
Group leader: Jaana Bäck
A Helsinki University based research group studying ecosystem processes mainly in boreal forests. Main questions concern the whole tree functioning in a changing environment and climate in multiple levels and the climate-related responses and effects of the whole forest ecosystem from the deep soil...


Economic-Ecological Optimization
Group leader: Olli Tahvonen
The research group integrates economics, ecology and mathematical methods to understand the management of biological natural resources like forests or any natural populations. This has created a dialogue between existing scientific traditions and new discoveries realized by transferring knowledge between different fields. In proceeding toward new directions we are guided by cross-disciplinarity and the requirements of sound theoretical basis, mathematics, detailed empirical realism and new computational methods. This enables harsh progressive and critical reflection of existing science, policy and practice.

Ecosystems and climate change  
Group leader: Anna Lintunen
Our team studies how terrestrial ecosystems respond to changing climate conditions, especially drought and freezing stress, and how ecosystems, in turn, affect climate e.g. by acting as carbon sink and aerosol source.

Experimental tree ecophysiology Group (Ecosystem processes)
Group leader: Yann Salmon


Forest Bioeconomy, Business and Sustainability
Quality, transdisciplinary research on sustainable business management, in the context of the forest sector and beyond.

Forest Ecology and Management
Forest Ecology and Management is one of the disciplines of the Forest Sciences
The discipline of Forest ecology and management at the University of Helsinki aims at improving the understanding of forest ecological processes and the sustainable use of forests and peatlands through new information.

Forest Economics, Business and Society
Forest Economics, Business and Society is one of the disciplines of the Forest Sciences
Group leader: Mirja Mikkilä
The discipline of Forest Economics, Business and Society is examining and advancing sustainable change in forests, business and value chains. Research concentrates on various topics. For instance, the business growth research group studies advancing modern business models, entrepreneurship, investing and disruptive digital technologies mostly in green bioeconomy businesses. One of the leading initiatives is the Mixed Reality Hub.

Forest Genomics
Group leader: Tanja Pyhäjärvi
Desire to understand evolution and adaptation of trees at the molecular level is the driving force of our research group.

Forest Modelling Group (Ecosystem processes)
Group leader: Annikki Mäkelä
Our research focuses on ecological and physiological research questions related to forest growth, production and material balances.

Forest Operations and logistics
Group leader: Jori Uusitalo

Forest Pathology
Group leader: Fred Asiegbu
Our major research focus  is the application of biotechnology knowledge and tools for the determination of ecological, molecular and biochemical pathways required by emerging fungal and forest pathogens to infect and cause disease to trees worldwide as well as the basal mechanisms on how forest tree...

Forest Resources Management and Geo-information
Group leader: Markus Holopainen
Laboratory of Forest Resources Management and Geo-information investigates the use of 3D point clouds in all areas of forestry.


Insect Ecology and Adaptation
Group leader: Carita Lindstedt-Kareksela

International Forest Policy
Group leader: Maria Brock­haus
Our research group aims to provide evidence for policy making through a critical analysis of politics and power in highly contested domestic and international policy arenas, often beyond the forestry sector as such.


Mixed Real­ity Hub (MRHUB)
Group leader: Petri Parvinen
Sales research by utilizing immersive visual technologies (virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality).


Optics of Photosynthesis Laboratory (Ecosystem processes)
Group leaders: Albert Porcar-Castell  / Jon Atherton


Peatland Ecology Group
Group leader: Kari Minkkinen
The Peatland Ecology Group studies peatlands from the arctic to the tropics, with different land-uses, and with different time horizons. Our research focus is on the C and GHG cycling and the impacts of management on peatland functions.

Plant-microbe-soil interactions group
Group leader: Jussi Heinonsalo
We study plant-soil-microbial interactions from ecological perspective with an applied twist. Carbon and its stability, as well as key soil nutrients are of particular interest.


Group leader: Marjo Palviainen

Soils and Climate change group
Group leader: Kristiina Karhu 
Our research focuses on the feedbacks from soils to climate change, but also on ways to mitigate climate warming by increasing soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from soils.

Group leader: Annukka Vainio


Tree water relations group (Ecosystem processes)
Group leader: Teemu Hölttä


Viikki Tropical Resources Institute
Group leader: Edward Webb
VITRI provides academic training, implements research on forests and related natural resources in tropical and developing countries and undertakes assignments related to tropical forest management as well as environmental and forest policy.


Wetland Ecology Group
Group leaders: Petri Nummi and Veli-Matti Väänänen
Our research vision is to study, manage and conserve wetland ecosystems. Our aim is to focus on species interactions in wetlands, and on the effect of ecosystem engineers on ecosystem structure and function.

Wood, Science, and Wellbeing
Group leader: Tuula Jyske
We add value for sustainably sourced wood by creating novel knowledge on wood formation, properties, and quality as fiber - and building raw material. We are especially interested in creating new ways to utilize forestry side streams, and bioinnovate biohybrid materials that store carbon in long term uses, while applying the principles of circular economy and cascading processing. We also seek to build fundamental and applied understanding on the human-wood interactions and holistic wellbeing and resilience in built environments.