carbon cycle

Healthy soils and growing biomasses are very effective in sequestering carbon and nutrients. Carbon sinks can be increased and the loading on waterbodies mitigated, as long as we can keep our agricultural fields and forest ecosystems in good condition.

Our research programme produces data, prediction models and computational tools that enable us to reduce the emissions of the land-use sector and increase carbon sinks.

Anne Tolvanen, Programme Director
Climate-Smart Carbon Cycle

We are in a good position to curb emissions

Agriculture and forestry produce emissions into the air, soil, and waterbodies. These emissions release greenhouse gases – or carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide – to the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases accelerate climate change.

The runoff of nutrients and organic matter from the soil into waterbodies change nutrient cycles and cause eutrophication, thereby impacting the functioning and diversity of both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

The land-use sector plays an important role in mitigating climate change. Various measures can also prevent the deterioration of the aquatic environment resulting from land use and primary production, further accelerated by climate change.

Pursuing carbon neutrality is no simple matter

You need to consider the ecological, economic, social, and cultural perspectives, on a both national and the international scale.

The use of renewable energy reduces dependency on fossil fuels. This may nevertheless increase the need for logging and decrease the carbon sink of the growing stock. New carbon pools can also be generated by using wood in long-lasting products and in buildings.

Carbon-neutral energy production is also pursued through new solutions. Research is needed to assess the environmental and biodiversity impacts and acceptability of alternative forms of energy production.

Food production and the entire food chain have an impact on carbon emissions. Each of us – from producer to consumer – can contribute to the mitigation of climate change through our choices, our consumption, and our diet.

The cooperation of all operators in the chain can bring about a carbon-neutral food system.

Logo: Climate smart carbon cycle

In the Climate-Smart Carbon Cycle programme, we look for solutions on how to…

…take care of the soil in agricultural fields and forests to improve the capacity for carbon sequestration, reduce the loading on waterbodies, and retain their productivity and biodiversity.

…optimise the targeting of land-use measures to reduce emissions and increase carbon sinks.

These measures include the paludiculture of agricultural peatlands, new ways of managing peatland forests, the afforestation of cutover peatlands, and the rewetting of drained peatlands.

…implement low-carbon goals of industries and businesses operating in the natural resources sector.

…reduce the carbon footprint of food production and the entire food system.

We also study how effectively various governance methods and incentive schemes steer us towards a carbon-neutral society, whether they are in conflict with each other, and how they should be directed.

We develop carbon footprint calculations of products and services, and a data service for emission offsetting.

We can make Finland carbon neutral together by operating wisely and relying on scientific data.

Logo: Luke - luonnonvarakeskus

Erkki Oksanen, Jari Lindeman, Katja Tähjä,
Anne Tolvanen, NASA, Istock