Helsinki, Finland

Finnish Environment Institute

syke.fi
Helsinki, Finland

The Finnish Environment Institute is a research institute and government agency under the Ministry of the Environment, located in Helsinki, Finland. It is both a research institute, and a centre for environmental expertise. SYKE's research focuses on changes in the environment, and seeks ways to control these changes. Wikipedia.


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Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Training Grant | Award Amount: 4.34M | Year: 2014

This world-leading Centre for Doctoral Training in Bioenergy will focus on delivering the people to realise the potential of biomass to provide secure, affordable and sustainable low carbon energy in the UK and internationally. Sustainably-sourced bioenergy has the potential to make a major contribution to low carbon pathways in the UK and globally, contributing to the UKs goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 and the international mitigation target of a maximum 2 degrees Celsius temperature rise. Bioenergy can make a significant contribution to all three energy sectors: electricity, heat and transport, but faces challenges concerning technical performance, cost effectiveness, ensuring that it is sustainably produced and does not adversely impact food security and biodiversity. Bioenergy can also contribute to social and economic development in developing countries, by providing access to modern energy services and creating job opportunities both directly and in the broader economy. Many of the challenges associated with realising the potential of bioenergy have engineering and physical sciences at their core, but transcend traditional discipline boundaries within and beyond engineering. This requires an effective whole systems research training response and given the depth and breadth of the bioenergy challenge, only a CDT will deliver the necessary level of integration. Thus, the graduates from the CDT in Bioenergy will be equipped with the tools and skills to make intelligent and informed, responsible choices about the implementation of bioenergy, and the growing range of social and economic concerns. There is projected to be a large absorptive capacity for trained individuals in bioenergy, far exceeding current supply. A recent report concerning UK job creation in bioenergy sectors concluded that there may be somewhere in the region of 35-50,000 UK jobs in bioenergy by 2020 (NNFCC report for DECC, 2012). This concerned job creation in electricity production, heat, and anaerobic digestion (AD) applications of biomass. The majority of jobs are expected to be technical, primarily in the engineering and construction sectors during the building and operation of new bioenergy facilities. To help develop and realise the potential of this sector, the CDT will build strategically on our research foundation to deliver world-class doctoral training, based around key areas: [1] Feedstocks, pre-processing and safety; [2] Conversion; [3] Utilisation, emissions and impact; [4] Sustainability and Whole systems. Theme 1 will link feedstocks to conversion options, and Themes 2 and 3 include the core underpinning science and engineering research, together with innovation and application. Theme 4 will underpin this with a thorough understanding of the whole energy system including sustainability, social, economic public and political issues, drawing on world-leading research centres at Leeds. The unique training provision proposed, together with the multidisciplinary supervisory team will ensure that students are equipped to become future leaders, and responsible innovators in the bioenergy sector.


Virkkala R.,Finnish Environment Institute | Lehikoinen A.,University of Helsinki
Global Change Biology | Year: 2014

Climate change has been shown to cause poleward range shifts of species. These shifts are typically demonstrated using presence-absence data, which can mask the potential changes in the abundance of species. Moreover, changes in the mean centre of weighted density of species are seldom examined, and comparisons between these two methods are even rarer. Here, we studied the change in the mean weighted latitude of density (MWLD) of 94 bird species in Finland, northern Europe, using data covering a north-south gradient of over 1000 km from the 1970s to the 2010s. The MWLD shifted northward on average 1.26 km yr-1, and this shift was significantly stronger in northern species compared to southern species. These shifts can be related to climate warming during the study period, because the annual temperature had increased more in northern Finland (by 1.7 °C) than in southern Finland (by 1.4 °C), although direct causal links cannot be shown. Density shifts of species distributed over the whole country did not differ from shifts in species situated on the edge of the species range in southern and northern species. This means that density shifts occur both in the core and on the edge of species distribution. The species-specific comparison of MWLD values with corresponding changes in the mean weighted latitude using presence-absence atlas data (MWL) revealed that the MWLD moved more slowly than the MWL in the atlas data in the southern species examined, but more rapidly in the northern species. Our findings highlight that population densities are also moving rapidly towards the poles and the use of presence-absence data can mask the shift of population densities. We encourage use of abundance data in studies considering the effects of climate change on biodiversity. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Heino J.,Finnish Environment Institute | Heino J.,University of Oulu
Freshwater Biology | Year: 2011

The aim of this paper is to review literature on species diversity patterns of freshwater organisms and underlying mechanisms at large spatial scales. Some freshwater taxa (e.g. dragonflies, fish and frogs) follow the classical latitudinal decline in regional species richness (RSR), supporting the patterns found for major terrestrial and marine organism groups. However, the mechanisms causing this cline in most freshwater taxa are inadequately understood, although research on fish suggests that energy and history are major factors underlying the patterns in total species and endemic species richness. Recent research also suggests that not all freshwater taxa comply with the decline of species richness with latitude (e.g. stoneflies, caddisflies and salamanders), but many taxa show more complex geographical patterns in across-regions analyses. These complexities are even more profound when studies of global, continental and regional extents are compared. For example, clear latitudinal gradients may be present in regional studies but absent in global studies (e.g. macrophytes). Latitudinal gradients are often especially weak in the across-ecosystems analyses, which may be attributed to local factors overriding the effects of large-scale factors on local communities. Nevertheless, local species richness (LSR) is typically linearly related to RSR (suggesting regional effects on local diversity), although saturating relationships have also been found in some occasions (suggesting strong local effects on diversity). Nestedness has often been found to be significant in freshwater studies, yet this pattern is highly variable and generally weak, suggesting also a strong beta diversity component in freshwater systems. Both geographical location and local environmental factors contribute to variation in alpha diversity, nestedness and beta diversity in the freshwater realm, although the relative importance of these two groups of explanatory variables may be contingent on the spatial extent of the study. The mechanisms associated with spatial and environmental control of community structure have also been inferred in a number of studies, and most support has been found for species sorting (possibly because many freshwater studies have species sorting as their starting point), although also dispersal limitation and mass effects may be contributing to the patterns found. The lack of latitudinal gradients in some freshwater taxa begs for further explanations. Such explanations may not be gained for most freshwater taxa in the near future, however, because we lack species-level information, floristic and faunistic knowledge, and standardised surveys along extensive latitudinal gradients. A challenge for macroecology is thus to use the best possible species-level information on well-understood groups (e.g. fish) or use surrogates for species-level patterns (e.g. families) and then develop hypotheses for further testing in the freshwater realm. An additional research challenge concerns understanding patterns and mechanisms associated with the relationships between alpha, beta and gamma components of species diversity. Understanding the mechanistic basis of species diversity patterns should preferably be based on a combination of large-scale macroecological and landscape-scale metacommunity research. Such a research approach will help in elucidating patterns of species diversity across regional and local scales in the freshwater realm. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Heino J.,Finnish Environment Institute | Heino J.,University of Oulu
Biological Reviews | Year: 2013

Most bioassessment programs rest on the assumption that species have different niches, and that abiotic environmental conditions and changes therein determine community structure. This assumption is thus equivalent to the species sorting perspective (i.e. that species differ in their responses to environmental variation) in metacommunity ecology. The degree to which basing bioassessment on the species sorting perspective is reasonable is likely to be related to the spatial extent of a study and the characteristics of the organism groups (e.g. dispersal ability) with which the effects of anthropogenic changes are assessed. Recent findings in metacommunity research have stressed that community structure is determined not only by local abiotic environmental conditions but also by biotic interactions and dispersal-related effects. For example, dispersal limitation may prevent community structure recovery from the effects of a putative stressor, as organisms may not be able to disperse to all sites in a region. Mass effects (i.e. the presence of species in environmentally suboptimal sites due to high dispersal rates from environmentally suitable sites) may, in turn, obscure the effects of a stressor, as dispersal from source sites (e.g. an unaltered site) allows persistence at sink sites (e.g. an anthropogenically altered site). Better bioassessment should thus take both niche- and dispersal-related processes simultaneously into consideration, which can be accomplished by explicitly modelling spatial location as a proxy for dispersal effects. Such an integrated approach should be included in bioassessment programs using general multivariate approaches, predictive modelling, and multimetric indices. © 2012 Cambridge Philosophical Society.


Primmer E.,Finnish Environment Institute
Forest Policy and Economics | Year: 2011

For understanding new governance and its opportunities for supplementing government driven policy, networks are an important mechanism and unit of analysis. The theoretical bases for analysing policy networks, project networks, and operational networks overlap in a random fashion. This paper reviews and compares the theoretical approaches utilised in analysing networks and their perspectives on learning. Policy, project and operational networks are exemplified in the context of integrating biodiversity conservation into forest policy in Finland. Information flow and appreciation among network organisations are analysed with the aim of understanding how the formality and openness of information exchange shape learning mechanisms, and the capacity of the networks to adapt to the policy demand for biodiversity conservation. The policy, project and operational networks generate partly different mechanisms for learning. While project networks utilise both direct and open access to up-to-date research-based understanding of biodiversity conservation and bridge across sector-boundaries, policy networks are more strongly reliant on formal patterns of information exchange and communicate interests at a level distanced from practice. Operational networks on the other hand, have strong informal contacts but their biodiversity conservation learning relies on information flows through conduit-like closed links. Reliance on channels and allowing spill-overs can improve adaptation and explorative learning. Where information exchange is formally defined, informal ties can ease the tackling of emerging issues. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.


Varjopuro R.,Finnish Environment Institute
Marine Policy | Year: 2011

A complex controversy emerged when the grey seal population in the Baltic Sea recovered after decades of stagnation. The seals now cause substantial economic losses to coastal fisheries. The paper analyses the attempts taken in Finland to mitigate the problems of fishermen. The mitigation attempts include the hunting of seals, fishing technology development, economic compensations and more comprehensive management approaches. These measures are discussed in light of the long-term sustainability and adaptability of a coastal fishery. This question is important with respect to further discussions on the possibility of the coastal fishery's co-existence with seals and sheds light on more general goals for the adaptability in the management of social-ecological systems. The paper concludes that the more comprehensive measures taken have acknowledged the need to enhance the fishery's adaptability, but the managerial approach they represent falls short of the requirements for successful adaptive management, especially in terms of embedding the management into specific coastal contexts. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.


Heino J.,Finnish Environment Institute | Peckarsky B.L.,University of Wisconsin - Madison
Current Opinion in Insect Science | Year: 2014

Stream insects are ubiquitous in running waters, show high diversity in terms of species numbers, form and function, have key roles in ecosystem processes, and are thereby important components of ecological research. Here, we emphasize that the integration of behavior, population-level processes and large-scale constraints, such as the history of the regional species pool, drainage basin morphology and environmental conditions, may be key to increasing our understanding of how stream insect communities are assembled. We argue that as an alternative to analyzing the species composition of whole insect communities, focusing on variation in the composition of behavioral trait groups is likely to provide increased understanding of how stream insect communities are assembled, thereby linking behavioral, population and community ecology. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.


Primmer E.,Finnish Environment Institute
Journal of Cleaner Production | Year: 2011

Integrating biodiversity conservation into forest management requires changes in the practices of those public and private actors that have implementing responsibilities and whose strategic and operational opportunities are at stake. Understanding this kind of context-dependent institutional adaptation entails bridging between two analytical approaches: policy implementation and organizational adaptation. This article combines these two approaches by reviewing them, and their caveats, and by summarizing empirical analyses of organizational competences, specialization, professional judgment, and organizational networks in the organizational field of non-industrial private forestry in Finland. Drawing on these theoretical and empirical analyses, the article discloses the broad phenomenon of institutional adaptation in the integration of biodiversity conservation and forest management. The empirical analyses point to the dominance of hierarchical policy implementation over strategic organizational adaptation. Together with the detected isomorphism of professional norms and networks, these contribute to meeting minimum standards but can constrain the ways in which the organizations and professionals respond to the challenge of biodiversity conservation. The detected inertia signals lack of alertness. It is perhaps also an indication of self-sufficiency among the actors. The interpretation of these responses to challenges and responsibilities across the public and private sector boundaries demonstrates the necessity of combining the two traditionally segregated approaches. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Research focusing on ecosystem services has tackled several of the major drivers of environmental degradation, but it suffers from a blind spot related to light pollution. Light pollution caused by artificial night-time lighting is a global environmental change affecting terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems. The long-term effects of the disruption of the natural cycles of light and dark on ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services are largely unknown. Even though additional research is clearly needed, identifying, developing and implementing stringent management actions aimed at reducing inadequately installed, unnecessary or excessive lighting are well justified. This essay argues that management is hampered, because ecosystem services from nocturnal nature are increasingly underappreciated by the public due to shifting baseline syndrome, making most people accustomed to constantly illuminated and light-polluted night environments. Increased attention from scientists, managers and the public is needed in order to explicate the best options for preserving the benefits from natural darkness. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


Hilden M.,Finnish Environment Institute
Environmental Politics | Year: 2014

Policy development and implementation should ideally be informed by assessments and evaluations, but research has shown that their use is far from straightforward in politicised environments. Their role in the adoption and evolution of policy innovations, which fundamentally change policy, has not been extensively analysed. Here, I show that the role can be understood using a new framework that bridges the gap between an agency-dominated innovation management perspective and a process-oriented transition perspective. I apply this framework to examine the evolution of an important policy innovation: the EU emissions trading system (ETS). In the political struggle to introduce and maintain the ETS, the role of evaluations and assessments has changed from destabilisation and reframing to consolidation. The analysis underlines the importance of the interaction between Member States, EU institutions, and non-state actors in the often-neglected stabilisation phase of EU-level policy innovations. © 2014, © 2014 Taylor & Francis.

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