The arctic is fragile environment and at the same time is under pressure from competing interests that include for example increased commercial activity, conservation, and maintaining livelihoods for indigenous and local communities. Changes in the Arctic will not only affect local people, ice conditions, permafrost and ecosystems but also the rest of the world as the Arctic plays a special role in the global climate system.
HELSUS provides an interdisciplinary and transformatory take on Arctic research in relation to their natural environments as well as socio-political ones. In addition to climate and ecological research with multiple temporal perspectives, the region is studied through wellbeing, justice and rights within the Nordic context.
In all of research at the University of Helsinki, climate change, sustainability and the changing environments in the arctic region take centre stage. The Arctic research theme within HELSUS aims to bring these thematics to practice by creating an interdisciplinary platform for the already existing expertise at the University of Helsinki. Information on the Arctic research, research infrastructure, and actions done at the university can be found on the Focus Arctic page.
As a part of the University of Helsinki, HELSUS shares in the goal of aiming to make society more sustainable through our actions and influence. More information on Sustainability and Responsibility at the University of Helsinki can be found here.
Kilpisjärvi Biological Station was founded in 1964 and belongs to the Faculty of Biological and Environmental sciences. It is situated in the mountain birch forest zone near the 70th degree of northern latitude (69°03'N; 20°50'E) in the northwesterenmost part of Finland. The principal aim of the station is to promote biological and geographical research in the north, and to provide students of biology and geography with information about natural phenomena in northern lands. The station is open to researchers of all nationalities.
The Muddusjärvi research station belongs to the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry and is situated in northern Finland in the village Kaamanen, 25 km from the city of Inari. The station operates with ca. 13 hectares of field and ca. 700 ha of forest and administrates also a 1000 ha lake area. The original purpose was to conduct research to support Lappish agriculture and other subarctic research for the Faculty, but since 1996, the usage of the station has been more or less project based and concentrated to the summer time. There is one permanent employer accompanied by the necessary summer help.
Värriö subarctic research station was founded in 1967 and belongs to the Institute for Atmospheric Research at the University of Helsinki. It is located in the Värriö Strict Nature Reserve in Eastern Lapland. The station has collected exceptionally long time series of the environment, including e.g. phenology, berry and cone production, birds and insects, which reflect the changes in subarctic forests and fell ecosystems over decades. The current research at the station is dealing with the productivity of the subarctic ecosystems and air pollution and atmospheric processes in the Arctic.
Here are some of HELSUS members' research projects related to the Arctic:
The extensive and multidisciplinary Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme studies the effects of human activity on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and provides solutions for current environmental problems.
ALL-YOUTH – All youth want to rule their world is a multidisciplinary research project which explores the capacities of young people (aged between 16 and 25) and the obstacles that hamper their engagement with society. We also explore the visions of youth regarding sustainable future, growth and well-being.
The research project Migration and the narratives of Europe as an “Area of freedom, security and justice” traces narratives of Europe, traversing through both historical and current experiences of exile. It focuses on the impact of exile on shaping the European legal, social and religious/cultural narratives.
HELSUS members participate in the activities and research regarding the Arctic at the University of Helsinki, including participating in preparing the University's Arctic Programme and the spearhead research project Arctic Avenue (Stockholm University and University of Helsinki)
HELSUS also funds varied research and scientific engagement around the Arctic theme, for example:
The University of the Arctic (UArctic) is a cooperative network of universities, colleges, research institutes and other organizations concerned with education and research in and about the North.
ArcticFinland.fi collects information on Finland’s Arctic policies and on Arctic research and Arctic business in Finland. The site is maintained by the Arctic Centre at the University of Lapland with the support of The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.
PAGES (Past Global Changes) is an international effort to coordinate and promote past global change research. PAGES is an international network, of which many HELSUS members and researchers at the University of Helsinki are a part of.