FI

Academy of Finland: Joint funding with China in forest research

5 June 2013

The Academy of Finland and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) have decided to fund four Finnish-Chinese joint projects under the theme “Forest biodiversity and ecosystem services in a changing environment”. Academy funding to the Finnish partners involved in the four projects amounts to EUR 1.8 million. This is the eighth joint call in forest research carried out between the Academy and the NSFC.

The funded projects:

Harri Mäkinen (Finnish Forest Research Institute Metla) and Qi-Bin Zhang (Chinese Academy of Sciences) are researching the structure and function of forest ecosystems under a changing environment as well as the impact of these changes on forest ecosystem services. A particular aim is to analyse the variations in forest regeneration, tree growth and forest disturbance as well as the factors affecting them. The project will investigate the dynamic interplay between environmental and genetic factors, along with an altitudinal transect on the Tibetan Plateau in China and a latitudinal transect from southern Finland to the Arctic timber line. By comparing ecological gradients in two contrasting geographical regions, it is possible to obtain a broader spectrum of environmental conditions mimicking alternative futures. Understanding the link between environmental factors and physiology of forest ecosystems will give guidance for more sustainable forest management strategies. The project’s results can also be used in planning of forest and environmental policy actions and in mitigating and adapting to climate change.

Heli Peltola (University of Eastern Finland) and Tianshan Zha (Beijing Forestry University) will be analysing and comparing the sensitivity of ecosystem functioning in desert shrubs or steppes and managed boreal forest ecosystems to the foreseen climate change, climatic variability and weather extremes, with implications for carbon sequestration and biomass production of ecosystems. The project will carry out both experimental and model-based analyses at various temporal and spatial scales. The project is expected to generate new knowledge of how carbon sequestration and biomass production of the most sensitive ecosystems response to climate change scenarios. This knowledge and know-how are vital to our efforts to reduce the harmful effects of climate change in these sensitive ecosystems and to adapt to climate change.

Rauni Strömmer (University of Helsinki) and Shijie Ha (Chinese Academy of Sciences) are investigating organismal diversity and its importance to perceived ecosystem services across ecological gradients. Human population and land use are rapidly expanding, leading to greater ecosystem-level disturbances. Of major importance are the loss of biodiversity and the concomitant loss of ecosystem services. The project will focus on researching the hyperdiverse microbial communities and the pivotal ecosystem functions they provide in soils. The primary aim is to the elucidate whether or not above-ground plant richness is correlated with richness in microbial communities, how this microbial richness relates to C- and N-cycling loci and how the biodiversity and ecosystem services vary across different ecological gradients.

Anne Toppinen (University of Helsinki) and Zuomin Wen (Nanjing Forestry University) are working to analyse the dependence and impacts of forest ecosystem services related to forestry enterprises and other stakeholders in the contextual frame of China. The project will be investigating the interactions at the regional level between forestry enterprises, other stakeholders and forest ecosystem services and constructing ecological, economic and social networks formed by these entities. Methodologically the research, built on the functioning of underlying ecological systems, is based on forest ecosystem services modelling, non-market valuation methods and social network analyses of stakeholders, leading towards corporate sustainability assessment and development and testing of conceptual framework embedding ecosystem services.

More information:

 

Academy of Finland Communications
Communications Specialist Leena Vähäkylä
tel. +358 29 533 5139
firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi

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