• Climate action
  • Life below water
  • Life on land

Sustainable forest management

Forest resources data are the backbone of sustainable use of forests; we need to know how much there is to know how much we can use, taking into account environmental, economic and social preconditions. Recognition of the possibilities of forests in mitigating climate change, not only through direct carbon sequestration but also as a source of climate-smart raw-materials, has increased the demand for information on forest and tree resources.

Luke monitors the forest resources and state of forests in Finland with the National Forest Inventory (NFI). The data are merged with other information sources, models and economic data to make scenarios on the development of forests under different management strategies to support political and economic decision making. Luke has close cooperation with other European institutes and research organizations to develop forest information and decision making on a European level.

From tree breeding to continuous cover forestry and impacts on surface and ground water quality, Luke’s contribution to forestry research is diverse. Climate change can increase forest vulnerability to damage and disease, reduce forest health and productivity, and cause economic losses. Our research on, for example, forest damage and adaptive breeding aims to increase forest survival and maintain its productivity, sustainability and resilience of forests. Somatic embryogenesis is another example of rather new, interesting methods on our research agenda. It helps provide homogeneous seeds for increased growth, but also gives more information for genomic selection, which could help make trees more resistant to certain pathogens.

Continuous cover forestry is a topic that is under a rather vivid debate. In any case, the method seems to be particularly beneficial in storing carbon in peat swamp forests, which help mitigate climate change. Luke studies continuous cover forestry beginning with its biological and technical foundations all the way to its economic, social and ecological impacts and operating models. And as climate is warming, the demand for proven knowledge on managing peat swamp forests is growing.

Luke is also at the forefront of research related to smart technologies used in forest management and wood supply. The aim is to create more cost effective and environmentally sustainable methods for forest management and harvesting.

  • Zero hunger
  • Life below water

Sustainable use of aquatic resources and aquaculture

Fish and seafood are increasingly important form of nutrition in every parts of the world. Ensuring sustainable use of fish and other aquatic resources is of essence.

Luke provides a wide range of research resources to enable the sustainable use of waters and fish stocks. Continuous development of methodology through international cooperation is an integral part of the work.

The restoration of regulated watercourses is an important area of our research, aiming to find solutions for enhancement of natural reproduction of migratory fish, revival of endangered fish populations and conservation of fish biodiversity. The management of fisheries both in the Baltic Sea and in the inland waters support both sustainable and profitable fishing industry as well as extensive recreational fisheries. Spatial planning is an important recent process aiming to maintain prosperous fish stocks. The potential of blue wellbeing services is also investigated.

For decades, Luke has developed methodology for sustainable aquaculture. Our key expertise is in cold water fish farming, in flow-through and recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS). Aquaculture is a rapidly growing way of producing protein-rich food, already accounting for a bigger share of the fish on our plates than fisheries. Furthermore, fish is farmed for stocking into natural waters, securing the conservation of biodiversity and management

  • Responsible consumption and production
  • Climate action
  • Life below water
  • Life on land


Biodiversity loss is one of the biggest environmental, social and economic threats of our age. Luke’s research focuses mainly on forest biodiversity and factors influencing the distribution of endangered species in forests. Moreover, our work contributes to maintaining the diversity in mires and peatlands, agricultural fields and aquatic environments.

Luke’s long-term studies on silvicultural methods in commercial forests form a solid base for consersation efforts. Research suggests that methods which emulate natural disturbances and natural development of forests provide more habitats for species in forests. Management of uneven-aged forest stands is only one example of possible solutions. This type of silviculture in not only beneficial to species living in the forest or people’s recreation, on suitable sites it can also provide as much revenue as what would be achieved with even-aged forest management.

Forest and peatland restoration

Forest restoration is an active conservation measure that safeguards and promotes biodiversity. Luke’s experiments compare the effectiveness of various forest restoration measures on the function and structure of forest ecosystems. The research provides information on the changes in stand structure, decomposition processes of burned and decaying wood, and the influence of these factors on the species distribution. The information can be utilized both in protected areas and in commercial forests.

Luke’s research on peatland restoration covers field experiments which investigate the development of species diversity, greenhouse gas emissions and hydrology after rewetting measures. Results are utilized in state-of-the-art modelling studies which predict the future impacts of restoration on peatland ecosystems and optimize restoration to sites where they are best suited in terms of biodiversity, greenhouse gas balances and nutrient loading. A large-scale EU-funded project LIFEPeatLandUse produced information on various alternative uses for the low-productive drained peatlands, and their environmental and economic impacts.

Biodiversity needs to be part of land use schemes

Luke develops methods to merge biodiversity values into multiple land use scheme. Information on biodiversity values is merged with people’s activities and land use preferences, and with regional land use planning schemes, to locate areas where development can be carried out in a sustainable manner. Tools, such as Yoda multicriteria tool and Forest Indicator, are developed to help decision making and to visualize trade-offs of between biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Luke also has a statutory responsibility to maintain genetic resources and to conduct research relating to genetic resources used in primary production. Material in conservation programmes is valuable as such, but it also contributes to maintaining biodiversity and serves breeding and genetic research.