Land use and climate change

There is a good consensus among both researchers and policy-makers that better land management is needed to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. With key focus on mitigating greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining opportunities for sustainable bio-based business, Luke’s research on integrated land use covers all land use.

For decades, our forest related research has had a strong backbone in forest inventory data, which in its accuracy is unique even on a global scale. Inventories of national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are based on forest inventories, scientific models and statistics. Based on latest scientific knowledge and constantly developed according to IPCC guidance, the methodology calculates the emissions of land use and, thus, helps manage the land sustainably. Supporting the IPCC’s work, Luke has also contributed to, for example, the report of 2019 Refinement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.

Mitigating and adapting to climate change

Luke’s contribution to climate change mitigation is diverse, including, for example extensive expertise in carbon cycles and greenhouse gas inventories. We have utilized tools and models for GHG inventories in and outside Finland, producing precise information on GHG levels in, particularly, forests and peatlands for science-based decision-making. Increasingly in demand all over the globe, the work supports sustainable land use optimization and helps forecast the changes in carbon stocks in different scenarios.

Our research on forests and climate change is multidisciplinary and spreads across extensive global networks. In addition to land use optimization, it covers themes such as the biological impact of the use of forest resources during the process of climate change; the impact of climate change on forest regeneration, forest cultivation and forestry; and the impact of potential new requirements and practices on the balance of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in forests.

Tools for agricultural land optimisation

Besides forest soils, Luke also contributes strongly to optimized use of agricultural lands. Continuously developed in collaboration with farmers, our research based tools for farmers take into account numerous field parcel characteristics, production potential and consider environmental footprint. Furthermore, a comprehensive interactive map of all biomass in Finland – Biomass Atlas – has been created in collaboration with other research institutes and universities to support decision making and new, sustainable investments.

The challenge of reconciling various land-use modes is how to acknowledge, combine and make use of local, scientific and other expert knowledge, and how to select relevant knowledge in decision making. Interdisciplinary understanding of different affecting factors helps reach a solution that is acceptable for all. Moreover, Luke studies various incentives which would support land-owners and, thus, help introduce more environmentally friendly land use practices.