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, Professor

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.

Maria Brockhaus profile in the University of Helsinki research portal

Teemu Harrinkari, doctoral researcher

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.

Félicien Kengoum Djiegni, doctoral researcher

Félicien Kengoum Djiegni is a doctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki within the Doctoral Programme in Sustainable Use of Renewable Natural Resources (AGFOREE). He holds a master’s degree in international environmental law and a master’s degree in international business law.

His work falls within the scope of the Global Comparative Study on REDD (GCS-REDD) implemented by the Center for International forestry research (CIFOR). His research uses Policy Network analysis to look at the politics of forest and climate change, investigating in particular the outcomes of policy cooperation in the Global South, namely in the DRC. It also compares across multiple countries (Indonesia, Vietnam, and Brazil) engaged in reducing their emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) to understand what structural conditions of the policy domain enable desired policy change.

Kaisa Korhonen-Kurki, Adjunct professor

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.

Dangui Li, PhD student

Dangui Li is a PhD student in International Forest Policy. Dangui completed her Master degree in Sociology of Development at Wageningen University & Research, the Netherlands. In her master thesis she explored  how the social life in rural China has evolved over years under the impact of processes of urbanization.

She currently works for the FOREQUAL project, investigating the mechanism between African forest sector and global inequality. She specifically casts her focus on the role of Chinese investment in the Congo Basin.

Maria Ojanen, researcher

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. 

Maria Ojanen's profile in the University of Helsinki research portal

Niina Pietarinen, Doctoral researcher

Niina Pietarinen is a doctoral researcher, under the supervision of Assoc. Prof. Grace Wong (SRC, Sweden and Research Institute for Humanities and Nature, Japan) and Prof. Maria Brockhaus (University of Helsinki, Finland), working within the FairFrontiers project.

Previsously, she looked at how scientific literature portrays causes, effects, and processes of frontier changes in Congo Basin.

She holds a Master’s degree of Forest Bioeconomy Business and Policy from the University of Helsinki. In her master thesis she explored sustainability discourses and framings in Finnish forestry and forest-related legislation to consider 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 the implications of the identified dominant framings in forest policy with regard to the core aspects of sustainability. She has a background in international marketing and management, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.

Link to e-thesis:


Sabrina Rosa, Master student

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 master’s thesis focuses on the characterization of private forest owners in the Italian Alps. More specifically, she is interested in understanding how they perceive forest management and their role as forest owners in the context of stewardship of natural resources, and what may be the implications for the design of policy instruments aiming for a more active management.

Hanna-Kaisa Sainio, Master student

Hanna-Kaisa Sainio is a student in the Master’s Programme in Area and Cultural Studies with regional focus on Latin America at the University of Helsinki. She holds a Bachelor of Latin American Studies and Portuguese from Stockholm University and a Bachelor of Business & Administration with a specialization in tourism from (Haaga-) Helia University of Applied Sciences, Porvoo. Her experience in Latin America is mainly from the Brazilian context, and her interests include e.g. environmental humanities and sustainability, indigenous studies, CSR and values in decision-making (her Bachelor’s thesis topic), inclusion and diversity. Framing and inclusion are also the main themes in her on-going Master’s thesis about sustainability in the EU-Mercosur Free Trade Agreement.

Alizée Ville, Doctoral researcher


Alizée Ville is a doctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki.

Within the ForEqual project, she is investigating the inequalities born from current and historical trade flows in the forestry sector of the Congo Basin - more specifically in Cameroon and DRC. She previously worked for the Stockholm Resilience Center (Sweden), where her work focused on the intersection between gender and forest policy in Sweden. She holds a Master’s degree of Development Studies with a focus on Agricultural development and Economic policies from the University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne (France), where her thesis “Trade-offs between wood harvest and forest carbon stocks: The case of Japan” studied the economic and ecological benefits for Japan to harvest it’s own wood rather than importing it, in a changing global market.

- Affiliated members -
Mawa Karambiri, Postdoc

Dr. Mawa Karambiri has a background in Sociology. She is a visiting scholar in the Chair of International Forest Policy at the University of Helsinki where she participates in teaching activities and supervision of students. Since July 2021, she works for the World Agroforestry Centre (CIFOR-ICRAF) as policy and technical engagement specialist for the Sahel in the Regreening Africa project. She is currently based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Before joining CIFOR-ICRAF, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki, where she also completed her PhD degree in Forest Sciences. Her research interests concern gender and inequality studies, forest governance, land restoration and local democracy.

Mawa Karambiri's profile in the University of Helsinki research portal

Jenniver Sehring, Visiting scientist

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.

Natalya Yakusheva, Postdoc

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.   

Natalya Yakusheva's profile in the University of Helsinki research portal

Sandrine Andong, visiting doctoral researcher

Sandrine Andong is a doctoral researcher at the Institute of International Relations of Cameroun of the University of Yaoundé 2 (IRIC-UY2) in Cameroon, within the ForEqual project. She investigates the North-South inequalities generated by the international forest policy instruments in the Congo basin. She is a Master degree holder in International Relations from IRIC-UY2. Her Master thesis was about the socio-anthropologic evaluation of the contribution of the VPA-FLEGT process to Cameroon’s strategy of forest sustainable management. Earlier, she studied fundamental private law at the University of Yaoundé 2. As a researcher, her field is on the North-South power relation within the forest governance field in the Congo basin.

- Former members -
Christopher Eichhorn, MSc

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+.