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Forest Happiness

02.01.2023 - 31.12.2025
School of Forest Sciences, Faculty of Science, Forestry and Technology


Main funder

Itä-Suomen yliopisto

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Other funders

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Contact persons

Introducing image of the groupForest Happiness

Photo: Jerin Thamby/UEF - Fall at Koli National Park

Exploring Happiness Related to Forest from the World’s Happiest Nation

How do you feel about the Finnish forest? Do you have a happy forest? Finland has been again ranked as the world’s happiest country.  – Do you think that the amazing bond Finns share with boreal forests plays a role in this?

During the pandemic when social media was filled with pictures of people outing in forests, the scientific community become interested in the potential of forests to contribute to happiness and well-being. The University of Eastern Finland’s new project, “Forest Happiness,” aims to explore the relationship between forests and happiness. Participation in the research makes people think of their ways of interacting with the forests and thereby offers a fascinating journey to understand their own connection to the forest.

Finland ranks as one of the happiest countries globally, and this study seeks to determine the relationship between forests and happiness among natives and internationals living in Finland.

To collect nationwide data an online multilingual questionnaire survey in English, Finnish and Swedish is open to everyone living in Finland until October 2023. Respondents will have the opportunity to reflect on their personal relationships with the forest. The questionnaire is primarily divided into four sections which ask about your forest visit, happy forests, your perceived happiness, and regarding those that made you feel less happy while you were in the forest.

With this study, we can better understand whether, how, and to what extent forests can affect how happy people feel in Finland. This knowledge can be applied in urban planning, especially for the management of green areas to make them inclusive and also for general forest management planning to improve the well-being of the people.

Logo credits: Bharath M.R



  • Request to participate in the study

    You are invited to participate in research that examines to reveal the connection between forests and happiness in Finland. We have determined that you are suitable for the research because you are above 15 years old and are currently located in Finland. For more information, ask more from the contact person. Before answering the research questions, you will be asked for your consent to participate in the research.

    Voluntary participation 

    Participation in the study is completely voluntary. You can suspend participation at any time during the answering but after submitting your answers it will not be possible anymore because it is not possible to track individual participants from the data.

    The purpose of the study 

    The purpose of this research is to investigate the concept of forest happiness and thereby develop a forest happiness index. For a respondent, the survey provides an opportunity to ponder one’s personal relationship with the forest.

    Progress of the research

    Answering takes about 30-50 minutes, depending on how carefully you think and how abundantly your reply is. The questionnaire contains both multiple-choice and open-ended questions. You do not need to give long, polished answers to open-ended questions. All responses are anonymous.

    Communication of research results 

    The results of the research will be published in research articles, doctoral dissertations and on the project’s webpage.

    Duration of the research project


    Additional Information 
    If you have any questions about the research, you can contact the project manager, Professor Eeva-Stiina Tuittila

    Contact details of researchers 

    Professor Eeva-Stiina Tuittila (research manager and registrar of this study), University of Eastern Finland, Department of Forest Sciences, PO Box 111, 80101 Joensuu. Tel. +358 50 4424 299, (in English and in Finnish)

    Syamili M S, Doctoral Researcher, School of Forest Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 111, 80101 Joensuu. (in English)

    Tuomo Takala, Grant Researcher, School of Forest Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 111, 80101 Joensuu. (in Finnish and Swedish)

    Aino Korrensalo, Post-doctoral Researcher, Department of Environmental and Biological Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 111, 80101 Joensuu.  (in Finnish and Swedish)

    Processing of personal data during the research 

    This study processes your personal data in accordance with the applicable data protection legislation (EU General Data Protection Act, 679/2016, and applicable national legislation). The following text describes the issues related to the processing of personal data:

    Personal data: The following personal data is collected about you in the survey: Gender identity, age, cultural identity, occupation, educational background, frequency of migration, forest ownership and health condition. The question on your health condition is not a mandatory question. No contact information is asked.

    The purpose of processing personal data: The purpose of processing personal data is for scientific research which aims to reveal the connection between forest and happiness. The personal data collected could act as a possible background variable which could either influence the happiness experienced or your relationship with the forest.   The question on your health condition is not a mandatory question. However, we included the same because happiness and well-being were often associated with the absence of illness. The data will also be used to develop a forest happiness index.

    The basis for processing your personal data: The criterion is voluntary and the consent of the data subject.

    Disclosure of information from the research register 

    Anonymized material can be handed over to project partners. The material is provided for research use only. We are not collecting any contact or identifiable information. Personal information will not be disclosed to third parties. Your information will not be transferred outside the EU or the EEA.

    As a data subject, you have the right to:

    Because your personal information is processed in this study, you are registered in the personal register created during the study.

    Once registered, you have the right to (You can exercise your rights by contacting the project manager):

    • obtain information on the processing of personal data
    • make a complaint to the Office of the Data Protection Officer if you consider that your personal data has been processed in breach of data protection law

    This research is not collecting any contact or identifiable personal information. Once the response is submitted, there is no way to track individual responses as it is anonymous. Since it is unable to identify the data subject, the right to access, rectify, erase and restrict the use of personal data, as well as any notification obligations and the right to transfer data, do not apply in this research.

    Handling of research material 

    The information and research material collected about you will be treated confidentially as required by law. In this research, it is unable to identify the data subject, as we are not collecting contact or identifiable personal information. The results are reported at the general level so that an individual cannot be identified.

    The research data and the contact information are stored securely on the server of the University of Eastern Finland in 2023-2030, after which they are deleted from the server.

    What happens to your personal information at the end of the research
    The research material is anonymized and archived in the archives of the Finnish Forest Museum Lusto.

    The material can be used for other studies later. After archiving, the material is managed by Lusto, which issues permits to use the material for research purposes.


  • Urban green space is believed to contribute to residents’ happiness. This systematic literature review aims to synthesise the current evidence on the urban green space-happiness relationship. Results revealed the improvement in physical measures of urban green space has the possibility to elevate people’s happiness. However, the strength of these associations varied depending on subjective measures, socio-demographic variables, and socio-economic factors.

    Syamili, M.S., Takala, T., Korrensalo, A. and Tuittila, E.S., 2023. Happiness in Urban Green Spaces: A Systematic Literature Review. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, p.128042.

    Read it in Urban Forestry & Urban Greening (open access):