The International Forest Policy Research Group consists of members with a wide range of research interests. Read more about profiles of individual group members below.
Maria Brockhaus is Professor of International Forest Policy at the University of Helsinki, Finland, since November 2016. Her background is in forest and environmental policy and agricultural economy.
In her research, she focusses on questions of political economy, policy change, and policy networks. A large part of her research is concerned with forests’ role in climate change mitigation and adaptation at the interfaces of research-development, and economics-policy in anglo- and francophone countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Before she joined the University of Helsinki, she was a Senior Scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) where she had been leading the policy component in CIFOR's Global Comparative Study (GCS) on REDD+ since 2009. Understanding what enables (and hinders) transformational change in and beyond the forestry sector is truly fascinating to her - especially when dissecting politics and power in highly contested policy arenas.
Natalya Yakusheva is a postdoc in International Forest Policy. Natalya received her PhD in Environmental Science from Södertörn University, Sweden. In her thesis, she explored key challenges and opportunities of multi-level governance (MLG) of nature conservation in a context of post-socialist legacies and Europeanization on the examples of two transboundary national parks in the Carpathian Mountains between Poland and Slovakia.
Natalya’s research focuses on various aspects related to the European Forest Policy and decision-making. She is particularly interested in understanding how different actors engage in multi-level forest governance, what their motivations are and how existing power asymmetries influence such governance networks. She looks at various aspects of interests’ representation in the EU LULUCF negotiations, and how this links to accountability within the EU MLG. Finally, she is interested in how perceptions of equity shape (or not) the EU forest governance.
Mawa Karambiri is a postdoc in International Forest Policy. Mawa completed her PhD in Forest Sciences at the University of Helsinki, Finland. In her thesis, she examined the (re)translation of global forest policy into local levels in sub-Sahara Africa/Burkina Faso and the implications for local democracy.
Her current research relates to the perceptions of gender inequality in public policies in Burkina Faso and in development cooperation/aid (within the SEQUAL project - Social-ecological relations and gender equality). She also works on issues of the forest sector as an inequality machine in the Congo Basin (FOREQUAL project).
Maria Ojanen is a PhD student in the Doctoral Programme in Interdisciplinary Environmental Sciences (DENVI).
She is interested in evidence based policymaking, especially regarding how evidence is generated and how science and scientists influence policy making processes. In her PhD project, she investigates the benefits and limitations of two different knowledge synthesis methods (a systematic review and a realist synthesis) in providing credible and useful evidence for policymakers in the topic of environmental impacts of different property rights regimes in forests, fisheries and range lands. In addition to examining performance of methods, her PhD project also investigates the influence of scientific evidence in national policy making processes, such as REDD+. She is also interested to understand what role scientists themselves play in evidence based policymaking, such as how scientists deal with their cognitive biases related to evidence and research. Maria's current projects investigate the role and influence of research and science in national REDD+ policies in Indonesia, Brazil and Vietnam by using policy network analyses. In addition, Maria is planning a research questionnaire for her project related to research biases in evidence generation.
Teemu Harrinkari is a doctoral student in Sustainable use of Renewable Natural Resources (AGFOREE) program at the University of Helsinki. He holds a master's degree in forest economics (University of Helsinki) and has studied finance at the Aalto University School of Business.
His doctoral dissertation deals with the diffusion of international influences on national level, using Finland as a case study. His current research interests include the international and European forest policy domains, Finnish forest policy subsystem and the development of the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) and the Four pathways of international influences.
Kaisa Korhonen-Kurki is an adjunct professor in environmental policy based in Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS). She also has a background as a tropical forester. Kaisa’s research interests are in climate and forest policies, science-policy interface, policy experiments, sustainability transformation and multilevel governance. She has been working in the University of Helsinki for 15 years as well as being associated to Cifor’s climate and forest policy research for several years. She has published several peer-reviewed papers.
Jenniver Sehring is a Visiting Scientist at the University of Helsinki with the International Forest Policy Research group. As a Political Scientist she focusses on natural resources management, Central Asia and comparative research. After several years in academia, she has been working as an adviser and consultant in the field of international environmental politics for the OSCE, the Council of the European Union, the German Foreign Office, and the GIZ. While her focus is on water governance and cooperation, she has been involved in international forest policy research since 2011, mainly through her association to the Global Comparative Study on REDD+ and advising on comparative research methods.
Niina Pietarinen is an MSc student in the Forest bioeconomy and policy program at the University of Helsinki. Niina’s background is in international marketing and management, and she has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. She is doing her MSc thesis on sustainability discourses and framings in Finnish forestry and forest-related legislation, considering how the spirit and ideas of Rio 1992 got translated and retranslated (or lost in translation) into existing Finnish forest policies and strategies. In addition, her research investigates what are the implications of the identified dominant framings in forest policy with regard to the core aspects of sustainability.
Sabrina Rosa is a master’s student in the Forest Bioeconomy Business and Policy program at the University of Helsinki. Her background is in biology and she holds a Ph.D. in Life Sciences from the University of Brussels. Her latest work focused on the development of GMO detection systems aimed at facilitating legislation implementation through harmonization of GMO testing within the EU Member States.
Her master’s thesis will focus on the EU forest policy and investigate how different key actors involved in the LULUCF policy arena have influenced this much-debated decision-making process. She is interested in understanding what were the power plays at work, whose ideas were pivotal in the LULUCF political debate, and how they were framed. The implications of these findings for climate mitigation action and forest governance will be explored.
Christopher Eichhorn previously collaborated with International Forest Policy Group in the framework of his master thesis that focused on the consequences of restoration policies and projects in Colombia on the reduction of deforestation, specifically on the aims of REDD+.