Peat&Trees - Peatland and Soil Ecology Research Group

02.02.2012 -

Research group

The ongoing changes in climate, and the use of land and natural resources impact northern ecosystems at an unprecedented rate. We assess the impacts of global change on peatland ecosystems, and human-nature relations.


School of Forest Sciences, Faculty of Science and Forestry

Group description

Introducing image of the groupPeat&Trees - Peatland and Soil Ecology Research Group

Peat&Trees - scientists. From left to right: Kaisa K. Vainio, Henni Talvikki Ylänne, Eeva-Stiina Tuittila, Egle Köster, Janna M. Barel, Syamili Manoj Santhi, Olivia Kuuri-Riutta, Elisa Männistö. Photo: Varpu Heiskanen/UEF

Global change is posing multiple pressures to northern ecosystems by changing climate, human land use, urbanization and use of natural resources. These pressures change ecosystem properties and functioning with potential to feedbacks into climate, societies, and human well-being. Our research is focused on ecosystem adaptations to the changing conditions, their feedbacks and the relations between humans and ecosystems.

We are a multidisciplinary group doing both curiosity-driven research and solution-driven applied research. We aim to cross borders between scientific disciplines and strive to nurture academic progress and personal development in a supportive atmosphere.

Below we share our ongoing research projects, the field sites and laboratory equipment we often use as well as our partner organisations. Check our announcements for new job and thesis opportunities, news, and events. Do you have a research idea or want to collaborate? Feel free to contact us any time.

Our research themes include

    • Consequences of climate and land-use change for peatlands
      • Vegetation
      • microbial communities
      • carbon dynamics and greenhouse gas fluxes (CO2, CH4, BVOC)
    • Interactions between people and environment
    • People’s perception of urban forests in Finland
    • Human relationships with trees
    • Forest happiness index

Research projects

  • Reindeerpaths – The impacts of land-use and management on the carbon sequestration capacity of peatlands (Reindeerpaths – project)
  • BorPeat – Drying trend in boreal peatlands – impacts and mechanisms
  • Trees Near Us – explores what makes some individual trees important to people. (Trees Near Us- project)
  • Recent climate-induced changes in the species composition and functional traits of testate amoebae and plant communities of northern peatland
  • “Forest happiness index” – understanding socio-cultural dimensions of urban forests in Finland
  • WaterLANDS – Water-based solutions for carbon storage, people and wilderness (Waterlands – webpage)

Field sites

The proximity of our reseach sites are located to Hyytiälä Research Station (University of Helsinki) enable close access to laboratory space, offering also accomodation possibilities.

Our key research sites are Lakkasuo and Siikaneva mires in Central Finland. In the Lakkasuo peatland, we run a long-term drainage experiment in collaboration with the University of Helsinki. The aim of the experiment is to simulate the effects of climate change on the plant and microbial communities, biomass production, and greenhouse gas fluxes in three sites, each representing a different nutrient-level. Lakkasuo is part of the ELTER, ANAEE and INTERACT networks. In Siikaneva fen (link to site camera SN1) and in Siikaneva bog (link to site camera SN2) we study the spatial and temporal variation in the vegetation and greenhouse gas fluxes of a pristine peatland in collaboration with the Universities of Helsinki and Potsdam. Siikaneva fen belongs to ICOS network.

The members of this group are also doing research in Lompolojänkkä fen in North-Western Lapland, and in Pöyrisjärvi wilderness area (Reindeerpaths-project). Finnish Meteorological Institute have a permanent greenhouse gas flux measurement site in Lompolojänkkä, and it is also part of ICOS Finland network, which makes it an ideal environment for studying the interactions between greenhouse gas fluxes and vegetation.

Labs and equipment

The school of Forest Sciences has excellent laboratory spaces with temperature regulating growth chambers and root laboratory. (the complete list in UEF Forest Science page)


Our group is part of the research community “Climate Forcing, Ecosystems and Health” (CLEHE) at UEF,  the Academy of Finland’s Flagship Programme “The Atmosphere and Climate Competence Center” (ACCC) and the European Union research infrastructure “Analysis and Experimentation on Ecosystems” (AnaEE).  We also contribute to data collection of the “Integrated carbon observation system” (ICOS) and the FLUXNET network.

We are closely collaborating with University of Helsinki, Finnish Meteorological Institute and Geological Survey of Finland.

Main Funders

  • The Academy of Finland
  • The Kone Foundation
  • EU Horizon 2020
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry



Homepage of the group


Time period

02.02.2012 -
    • PhD opportunity - Peatland restoration (deadline 25 may)


      We have an open PhD position related to peatland restoration as part of the RaPa-project (Return of Sphagnum moss). The RaPa project will restore an area of 100 hectares of peatland near Ilomantsi and study the restoration process. This two-year project is part of a package of climate measures called Catch the Carbon, and is a collaboration between the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, the University of Eastern Finland and Tornator and Hiilipörssi Forestry companies.As our new Early Stage Researcher, you will be a part of the Peatland and Soil Ecology Group ( of the School of Forest Sciences at the Faculty of Science and Forestry. The position is located in Joensuu, Finland.

      Come work with us! Send in your application by 25th of May.

      More information:
      Avoinna väitöskirjapaikka soiden ennallistamiseen liittyen:
    • New publications of Dr. Janna Barel in Biosis project

      Creamer et al: The life of soils: Integrating the who and how of multifunctionality,
      Zwetsloot et al: A flexible selection tool for the inclusion of soil biology methods in the assessment of soil multifunctionality,
      There is a website summarising the information from the papers. On this website you can also explore and use the selection tool from Zwetsloot et al:
    • Our latest news in Twitter

      We have launched our own page in Twitter.
      We will be sharing research updates, paper recommendations, and other science-related content. Follow us!

Group members - UEF

Other group members

Cooperation partners