BIOS anticipates socio-ecological changes in society

BIOS is an independent, multidisciplinary research unit which studies the effects of environmental and resource factors on Finnish society – on economy, politics, culture – and develops the anticipatory skills of citizens and decision-makers. We construct an overall picture of society, particularly from the point of view of material underpinnings, and create connections between the scientific field and other actors. The research unit was launched in autumn 2015 and it is funded by the Kone Foundation.

All seven of the unit’s researchers have for years created tools for interdisciplinary collaboration and developed the application of environmental information in different sectors of society.

24.3.2017

Researchers’ statement: Finland’s forest utilisation plans would accelerate climate change and reduce diversity of nature

The release event was held on 24 March 2017 in Eurooppasali, Malminkatu 16, Helsinki. The programme of the event (in Finnish) can be found here.

Download the public statement here.

Selection of scientific literature.

A wide group of authoritative Finnish researchers is worried about the effects of Finland’s forest utilisation plans and bioeconomy strategy on the climate and biodiversity. The researchers, who have studied the use of forests from different viewpoints, have signed a statement by which they endeavour to correct the prevailing notions on the subject.

The statement notes that the felling of forests and the increase in current timber use will not control climate change. In addition, the increase in felling will weaken the diversity of nature. “From the point of view of the atmosphere, the sink-diminishing effects of wood harvesting can be compared to emissions,” sums up academy professor Timo Vesala. “The era of easy and slow climate policy is over. Right now we need a rapid increase in the amount of carbon stored in forests and timber products,” adds professor Janne Hukkinen.

The undersigned are worried that the research on such effects has not reached the decision-makers and the greater public in the correct form. The research results must be taken into account better in the decision-making concerning forest utilisation. The undersigned wish to stimulate discussion on the solutions which will help timber use serve the reaching of global climate goals and secure biodiversity.

The compiling of the researcher-initiated public statement has been facilitated by the BIOS Research Unit. The Forum for Environmental Information offers an arena for discussion by organising the publication event. The representatives of the Finnish Parliament’s Energy Renovation group will be present at the event to comment on the statement.

Info
Info

What is BIOS?

The material underpinnings of societies are becoming a key issue due to climate change and other environmental problems. We need to understand ecosystems and cultures as more and more densely intertwined. The informational and experiential challenges are huge as societies are developing infrastructures and practices for energy and food production, habitation and travel for decades to come.

In addition to citizens and decision makers, scientists have found it difficult to form a general view of the central environmental and resource factors and their cultural, economical and political effects. These questions can only be answered by crossing individual disciplines.

BIOS Research Unit foresees socio-ecological changes that will affect our society deeply, and does it in an interdisciplinary way, around a communal table. In addition to research, we reserve a lot of time for making information understandable and accessible. In the coming years, we endeavour to consolidate BIOS as an actor which carries forward research-based knowledge about socio-ecological development paths beyond quarter years and electoral terms.

BIOS was founded in 2015. At the moment we are funded by the Kone Foundation.

All seven of our researchers have for years created tools for interdisciplinary and artistic collaboration, and have conveyed environmental information for the use of various sectors of society. In addition to the Finnish academic community, we collaborate with international research units. BIOS works in close collaboration with e.g. Stanford University in the United States (particularly with professors Anthony Barnosky and Elizabeth Hadly, and the Consensus for Action research group), and the Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre in Frankfurt.

BIOS researchers: Antti Majava, Tere Vadén, Karoliina Lummaa, Paavo Järvensivu, Tero Toivanen, Jussi T. Eronen, Ville Lähde

Jussi T. Eronen, PhD, docent
Ecosystem and Climate Research

Jussi T. Eronen concentrates on the study of ecosystems and the climate. He has studied the past, the present and the future conditions of land ecosystems and climate evolution. Eronen has spent several research terms abroad, most recently as a Marie Curie Fellow at the Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre in Frankfurt, Germany in 2014–15. In addition, he is involved in international projects synthesising natural scientific environmental research (for instance the Consensus for Action group, and the iCCB programme). He keeps the research unit widely updated on the latest research in the natural sciences.

jussi.t.eronen@bios.fi

Paavo Järvensivu, D.Sc. (Econ.)
Economy and Culture

In his doctoral thesis Paavo Järvensivu studied organisational culture and corporate strategy; afterwards, he has focused particularly on the relationships between the economy and culture. He has developed collaborative forms between art and science in the Mustarinda Association, and has also written a book which merges economics, ecological and cultural research, called Rajattomasti rahaa niukkuudessa (Like) [Endless Money in Scarcity]. In the research unit he has dealt particularly with the practices and developmental paths of public and private economy.

paavo.jarvensivu@bios.fi

Karoliina Lummaa, PhD, docent
Environmental Humanities and Literary Studies

Karoliina Lummaa specialises in ecological studies from a humanities point of view; she has developed methods of multidisciplinary environmental studies in her co-edited books Monitieteinen ympäristötutkimus (Gaudeamus) [Multidisciplinary Environmental Studies] and Posthumanismi (Eetos) [Posthumanism]. With the help of these methods the research unit studies how media, art and popular culture represent and shape our understandings of nature.

karoliina.lummaa@bios.fi

Ville Lähde, PhD
Environmental Philosophy and Politics

Ville Lähde is a researcher in environmental philosophy and politics, and has co-written several books for those fields. He has worked as an editor of the niin & näin magazine since the beginning of the new millennium (chief editor 2011–2012). In his books, Niukkuuden maailmassa (niin & näin) [In a world of scarcity] and Paljon liikkuvia osia (Savukeidas) [Many moving parts] he has created intellectual tools for observation of complex phenomena connected to environment and politics. In the research unit he has popularised and synthesised research on natural and social sciences.

ville.lahde@bios.fi

Antti Majava, MFA, doctoral candidate
Fine Arts, Interdisciplinary Environmental Sciences

In his work, Antti Majava has brought together experts and viewpoints stemming from science, arts, and other fields. He is the founding member of the Mustarinda Association, and through it has created a platform for experimentation in artistic and everyday practices which take into account the material underpinnings of society. In his doctoral thesis, which employs socio-ecological methods, he studies the effects of nature, society and science on the development of artistic phenomena, and correspondingly, the role of art in socio-ecological and scientific breakthroughs. In the research unit his role has been to look at forests and bioeconomy, and to develop ways of collaboration with representatives of the media and art worlds. His texts have been published both in scientific and popular journals; alongside writing, he continues his visual artistic work.

antti.majava@bios.fi

Tero Toivanen, M.Sc., doctoral candidate
Political Economy and Economic History

Tero Toivanen has studied political economy and economic history; he has also developed social scientific methods for analysing and describing materialities. In addition to research, he has been working in the field of education for a considerable time, for instance as a didactitian of history and an expert in education. In the research unit he has connected current environmental phenomena to historical developments in economics and politics.

tero.toivanen@bios.fi

Tere Vadén, PhD, docent
Energy and Philosophy

As a philosopher, Tere Vadén has looked at the material and intellectual underpinnings of politics and culture, in particular the experiential dimensions of energy. In addition, he has immersed himself in the potential developmental paths of the digital world. He will take part in the daily activities of the research unit in 2018.

tere.vaden@bios.fi

Projects
Projects

Our overreaching mission is to integrate the latest research on global environmental and resource pressures, and to study their effects on the Finnish society. In addition, we are developing tools for anticipating these effects. This work results in scientific articles, public reports and applied information for the use of public and private organisations.

We develop journalism dealing with environmental and resource factors together with the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE).

The pilot project of BIOS is a collaboration with YLE News and Current Affairs. It aims to develop new kinds of environmental journalism. We have met with the team of journalists regularly, starting from autumn 2015, and produced extensive background reports on themes such as population growth, food production, water crises and economy. Based on our research, YLE has published articles on e.g. environmental refugees, sequestration of carbon in soil, and forests as carbon sinks.

In autumn 2017 we will publish a multimedia project on the prospects of the future Finnish society in collaboration with YLE’s News and Current Affairs and Drama editorial teams. The material is based on scientific research and varies between dramatic forms and traditional journalism.

We produce scientific background research for the use of universities, artistic production and media.

Our latest lectures on various courses and events have dealt with:
– population growth, food safety, famine and poverty, fishing and hydroponics, environmental migration, the dwindling of natural resources, and conflicts
– sustainable work, the relationship between economics and environment, the management of natural resources, business beyond the fossil economy, the possibilities of political economy to kickstart and steer ecological reconstruction
– environmental education
– the anthropocene as a natural scientific, social and cultural phenomenon
– an extended conception of security
– nature conservation, the present state of natural systems, the development of climate in the past and in our time, the conditions of the climate and ecosystems in the future and the societal challenges they pose
– post-fossil fuel culture

In addition to lectures, we have collaborated in multiple ways with different actors, including Sitra (The Finnish Innovation Fund), The Finnish Science Centre Heureka, Dodo, Kehys, and the Smart Energy Transition project.

In early 2017 we began a collaboration with Visiting Professor Hanna Nikkanen’s team at the University of Tampere’s Department of Journalism. We arranged a workshop day and have taken part in the book project Hyvän sään aikana both as interviewees and advisors. The book will be published in autumn 2017.

We engage in multidisciplinary dialogue with the scientific community.

Excerpts from dialogues we have had so far, in addition to academic articles and other texts:

We helped organise the 32nd Nordic Geological Winter Meeting symposium in Helsinki, with the theme “What is the Anthropocene”. We talked about BIOS’s activities at the annual conference of the Westermarck Society in Jyväskylä in 2016. We organised a work group “Mielen tila: ympäristökatastrofin politiikka, talous ja kulttuuri” [State of mind: the politics, economy and culture of the environmental catastrophe] at the Conference of Cultural Studies in Jyväskylä in May 2017. This year, we also organised a work group “Post-COP21: Transition to sustainable well-being in Nordic welfare states” together with Tuuli Hirvilammi and Pernilla Hagbert at the Nordic Environmental Social Sciences conference in Tampere.

In March 2017 a manifesto signed by 68 Finnish researchers was published, clarifying the stance of scientific research on the effects of Finland’s bioeconomy plans on climate change and biodiversity. BIOS facilitated the writing and communication of the manifesto.

In April 2017 BIOS organised in collaboration with the University of Tampere and Yliopisto magazine (University of Helsinki) journalist and researcher Nafeez Ahmed’s visit to Finland.

In June, professor Anthony Barnosky visited Finland. BIOS organised his performance at the University of Helsinki and took part in the event on ecological compensation organised by the Kone Foundation together with Barnosky.

The researchers of BIOS have actively taken part in the Think Corner events organized by the University of Helsinki: in the “Ilmasto muuttaa kaiken” [Climate changes everything] series, in Researcher’s Night 2017’s “Vapauden tulevaisuus” [The future of freedom] discussion and in the “Kestävä planeetta” [Sustainable planet] series in spring 2017.

Publications
Publications

Publications by BIOS researchers. If you can’t access a publication, please contact us: contact@bios.fi

All

Article

Book

Other

All

Article

Book

Other

Planetary emergency and critique of the Anthropocene (in Finnish)

2017, Tiede & edistys 1: 42, 6–35

Tero Toivanen, Mikko Pelttari (Eds.)

Merging paleobiology with conservation biology to guide the future of terrestrial ecosystems

2017, Science 355

A.D. Barnosky et al.

Whose Anthropocene? (in Finnish)

2016, Kosmopolis, 46, 3, 41–54

Jussi T. Eronen, Karoliina Lummaa, Tero Toivanen et al.

Endless money in scarcity (in Finnish)

2016, Like

Paavo Järvensivu

Holocene shifts in the assembly of plant and animal communities implicate human impacts

2016, Nature 529, 80–83

S.K. Lyons et al.

Many moving parts (in Finnish)

2015, Savukeidas

Ville Lähde

Posthumanism (in Finnish)

2014, Eetos

Lea Rojola, Karoliina Lummaa (Eds.)

Introducing the Scientific Consensus on Maintaining Humanity’s Life Support Systems in the 21st Century: Information for Policy Makers

2014, The Anthropocene Review 1, 78–109

A.D. Barnosky et al.

In a world of scarcity (in Finnish)

2013, niin & näin

Ville Lähde

Energy and Experience: An Essay in Nafthology

2015, MCM’ Publishing

Antti Salminen, Tere Vadén

Free download

Converge in distribution patterns of Europe’s plants and mammals is due to environmental forcing

2012, Journal of Biogeography 39, 1633–1644

H. Heikinheimo, J.T. Eronen et al.

Multidisciplinary environmental studies (in Finnish)

2012, Gaudeamus

Karoliina Lummaa, Mia Rönkä, Timo Vuorisalo (Eds.)

Ecometrics: The traits that bind the past and present together

2010, Integrative Zoology 5, 88–101

Jussi T. Eronen et al.

Politics of Nature (in Finnish)

2003, Vastapaino

Yrjö Haila, Ville Lähde (Eds.)

Blog
Blog
24.3.2017

Researchers’ statement: Finland’s forest utilisation plans would accelerate climate change and reduce diversity of nature

The release event was held on 24 March 2017 in Eurooppasali, Malminkatu 16, Helsinki. The programme of the event (in Finnish) can be found here.

Download the public statement here.

Selection of scientific literature.

A wide group of authoritative Finnish researchers is worried about the effects of Finland’s forest utilisation plans and bioeconomy strategy on the climate and biodiversity. The researchers, who have studied the use of forests from different viewpoints, have signed a statement by which they endeavour to correct the prevailing notions on the subject.

The statement notes that the felling of forests and the increase in current timber use will not control climate change. In addition, the increase in felling will weaken the diversity of nature. “From the point of view of the atmosphere, the sink-diminishing effects of wood harvesting can be compared to emissions,” sums up academy professor Timo Vesala. “The era of easy and slow climate policy is over. Right now we need a rapid increase in the amount of carbon stored in forests and timber products,” adds professor Janne Hukkinen.

The undersigned are worried that the research on such effects has not reached the decision-makers and the greater public in the correct form. The research results must be taken into account better in the decision-making concerning forest utilisation. The undersigned wish to stimulate discussion on the solutions which will help timber use serve the reaching of global climate goals and secure biodiversity.

The compiling of the researcher-initiated public statement has been facilitated by the BIOS Research Unit. The Forum for Environmental Information offers an arena for discussion by organising the publication event. The representatives of the Finnish Parliament’s Energy Renovation group will be present at the event to comment on the statement.