Ecological Reconstruction

Societies must reconstruct their infrastructure and practices of energy, transport, housing and food in order to abandon the overuse of fossil fuels and other natural resources. To read more about our initiative of Ecological Reconstruction in the Finnish context, please visit


Initiatives on Ecological Transition

Johan Wahlsten, working last summer at BIOS, wrote an interesting paper comparing Green New Deal type intitiatives from the perspective of political economy. The paper was published in the new Helsinki Global Political Economy working paper series.

A simulation exercise for incorporating long-term path dependencies in urgent decision-making

Futures, 132, September 2021

Paavo Järvensivu, Helmi Räisänen, Janne I. Hukkinen



BIOS researchers Ville Lähde, Paavo Järvensivu, Emma Hakala, Jussi T. Eronen, Tero Toivanen, Karoliina Lummaa, Tere Vadén and Antti Majava. The collage is missing Jussi Ahokas and Tellervo Ala-Lahti, who joined BIOS in January 2022 and August 2023, respectively.

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. BIOS 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 and the Strategic Research Council at the Academy of Finland (WISE consortium 2018–2023).

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.

Tellervo Ala-Lahti, LLM, doctoral researcher
Environmental Law

During the years 2021–23, Tellervo Ala-Lahti served as a researcher in the interdisciplinary CEIWA project (Circular Economy of Waters in Industrial Processes). Currently, Ala-Lahti works on her doctoral dissertation to the University of Helsinki, examining the interplay between European Union environmental legislation and innovation policy. The study focuses particularly on disruptive and eco-friendly technologies, legal innovations, the precautionary principle, and its interrelation with (techno)science in the EU’s most polluting industrial sectors. Delving into regulatory frameworks at the national level, Ala-Lahti examines Finland’s regulatory solutions and judicial practices.

Jussi Ahokas, MSc, economist, doctoral researcher
Political Economy

Jussi Ahokas is an economist and political economy researcher. He started working at BIOS in 2022 after being the chief economist of SOSTE Finnish Federation for Social Affairs and Health for seven years. Ahokas (MSc, economics) is doing a PhD in the University of Eastern Finland. Previously (2009-2014), he has worked as a researcher in the Government Institute for Economic research. His research subjects include the structural change of the economy of Finland and Finnish economic policy.

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 keeps the research unit updated on the latest research in the natural sciences. Starting in June 2018, he works as an Associate Professor of Sustainability Science at the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS), University of Helsinki, and participates in the research unit’s activities on a case-by-case basis.

Emma Hakala, PhD
Environmental Security

In her PhD dissertation, Emma Hakala examined the concept of environmental security and the role of international organizations in its promotion in the case of post-conflict Western Balkans. Her research utilizes the securitization framework to consider how environment and climate change have entered into the security discourse and what kinds of consequences this has had. Hakala has previously worked in the field of environmental cooperation for example at the UN. She is a Research Fellow at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.

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

In his doctoral thesis Paavo Järvensivu studied organisational culture and corporate strategy; afterwards, he has broadened the scope to the relationships between the economy, environment and culture. He has developed collaborative forms between art and science in the Mustarinda Association, and has also written a book which merges political economy, ecology and cultural research, called Rajattomasti rahaa niukkuudessa (Like) [Abundant Money in Scarcity]. In the research unit he has studied the political economy of “ecological reconstruction” or sustainability transformation, with a recent focus on active industrial policy and science-driven planning.

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.

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.

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.

Tero Toivanen, PhD
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.



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.

In the WISE project we develop society’s creative adaptation to wicked socio-environmental disruptions.

BIOS is also part of the WISE consortium, funded by the Strategic Research Council at the Academy of Finland. The subprojects within the WISE consortium are led by Janne I. Hukkinen (University of Helsinki, consortium leader), Turo-Kimmo Lehtonen (University of Tampere, deputy consortium leader), Sakari Kuikka (University of Helsinki), Peter Lund (Aalto University), Markku Wilenius (University of Turku), and Paavo Järvensivu (BIOS Research Unit, stakeholder interaction). The project started on January 1, 2018.

WISE aims to improve decision making over wicked socio-environmental disruptions and to increase Finland’s resilience and adaptation to such disruptions. The project develops and tests an integrated national level policy mechanism, the Policy Operations Room (POR). It creates rapid and evidence based adaptation approaches to unexpected socio-environmental disruptions, such as simultaneous climate refugees, energy crises, and political instabilities.

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.

In our pilot project (2015–2017) we developed journalism dealing with environmental and resource factors together with the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE).

The pilot project of BIOS was a collaboration with YLE News and Current Affairs. It aimed to develop new kinds of environmental journalism. We 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 published articles on e.g. environmental refugees, sequestration of carbon in soil, and forests as carbon sinks.

During autumn 2017, the main outcome of the collaboration, a multimedia project on the prospects of the future Finnish society, was published with YLE’s News and Current Affairs and Drama editorial teams. The material was based on scientific research and varies between dramatic forms and traditional journalism. The pilot project ended in December 2017.



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





A combined palaeomodelling approach reveals the role as selective refugia of the Mediterranean peninsulas

Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 625, 1 September 2023.

Loredana Macaluso, Adele Bertini, Giorgio Carnevale, Jussi T. Eronen, Edoardo Martinetto, Juha Saarinen, Andrea Villa, Flavia Capasso, Massimo Delfino

The Origin and Early History of NOW as It Happened

Evolution of Cenozoic Land Mammal Faunas and Ecosystems (pp. 7–32)

Mikael Fortelius, Jordi Agustí, Raymond L. Bernor, Hans de Bruijn, Jan A. van Dam, John Damuth, Jussi T. Eronen, Gudrun Evans, Lars W. van den Hoek Ostende, Christine M. Janis, Jukka Jernvall, Anu Kaakinen, Wighart von Koenigswald, Kari Lintulaakso, Liping Liu, Majid Mirzaie Ataabadi, Hans-Walter Mittmann, Diana Pushkina, Juha Saarinen, Sevket Sen, Susanna Sova, Laura K. Säilä, Alexey Tesakov, Jouni Vepsäläinen, Suvi Viranta, Innessa Vislobokova, Lars Werdelin, Zhaoqun Zhang & Indrė Žliobaitė

The NOW Database of Fossil Mammals

Evolution of Cenozoic Land Mammal Faunas and Ecosystems (pp. 33–42)

Indrė Žliobaitė, Mikael Fortelius, Raymond L. Bernor, Lars W. van den Hoek Ostende, Christine M. Janis, Kari Lintulaakso, Laura K. Säilä, Lars Werdelin, Isaac Casanovas-Vilar, Darin A. Croft, Lawrence J. Flynn, Samantha S. B. Hopkins, Anu Kaakinen, László Kordos, Dimitris S. Kostopoulos, Luca Pandolfi, John Rowan, Alexey Tesakov, Innessa Vislobokova, Zhaoqun Zhang, Manuela Aiglstorfer, David M. Alba, Michelle Arnal, Pierre-Olivier Antoine, Miriam Belmaker, Melike Bilgin, Jean-Renaud Boisserie, Matthew R. Borths, Siobhán B. Cooke, Jan A. van Dam, Eric Delson, Jussi T. Eronen, David Fox, Anthony R. Friscia, Marc Furió, Ioannis X. Giaourtsakis, Luke Holbrook, John Hunter, Sergi López-Torres, Joshua Ludtke, Raef Minwer-Barakat, Jan van der Made, Bastien Mennecart, Diana Pushkina, Lorenzo Rook, Juha Saarinen, Joshua X. Samuels, William Sanders, Mary T. Silcox & Jouni Vepsäläinen

A socio-technical lens on security in sustainability transitions: Future expectations for positive and negative security

Futures, 141

Paula Kivimaa, Marie Claire Brisbois, Dhanasree Jayaram, Emma Hakala, Marco Siddi

A simulation exercise for incorporating long-term path dependencies in urgent decision-making

Futures, 132, September 2021

Paavo Järvensivu, Helmi Räisänen, Janne I. Hukkinen

Body mass-related changes in mammal community assembly patterns during the late Quaternary of North America

Ecography 44, 56-66

Pineda-Munoz, S., Jukar, A.M., Toth, A. B., Fraser, D., Du, A., Barr, W.A., Amatangelo, K.L., Balk, M.A., Behrensmeyer, A.K., Blois, J., Davis, M., Eronen, J.T., Gotelli, N.J., Looy, C.V., Miller, J.H., Shupinski, A.B., Soul, L.C., Villasenor, A., Wing, S., Lyons, S.K.

Climatic effects on niche evolution in a passerine bird clade depend on paleoclimate reconstruction method.

Evolution. Early online, March 2021.

Eyres, A., Eronen, J.T., Hagen, O., Boehning-Gaese, K. & Fritz, S. A.

Investigating biotic interactions in deep time

Trends in Ecology & Evolution 36, 61-75

Fraser, D., Soul, L.C., Tóth, A.B., Balk, M.A., Eronen, J.T., Pineda-Munoz, S., Shupinski, A.B, Villaseñor, A., Barr, W.A., Behrensmeyer, A.K., Du, A., Faith, J.T., Gotelli, N.J, Graves, G.R, Jukar, A.M., Looy, C.V., Miller, J.H., Potts, R., Lyons, S.K.

To continue to burn something? Technological, economic and political path dependencies in district heating in Helsinki, Finland

Energy Research & Social Science 58 (2019).

T. Vadén, A. Majava, T. Toivanen, P. Järvensivu, E. Hakala, J.T. Eronen.

Land mammals form eight functionally and climatically distinct faunas in North America but only one in Europe

Journal of Biogeography 46(1)

Kari Lintulaakso, P. David Polly and Jussi T. Eronen

The Many Anthropocenes: A Challenge for the Disciplines

2017, The Anthropocene Review 4, 183-198

Tero Toivanen, Karoliina Lummaa, Antti Majava et al.

A Lot of Talk But Little Action: The Blind Spots of Nordic Environmental Security Policy

Sustainability 201911(8)

Emma Hakala, Ville Lähde, Antti Majava, Tero Toivanen, Tere Vadén, Paavo Järvensivu, Jussi T. Eronen

Feeding ecology and morphology make a bamboo specialist vulnerable to climate change

2017, Current Biology 27, 3384-3389

Jussi T. Eronen et al.

Northern Warning Lights: Ambiguities of Environmental Security in Finland and Sweden

Sustainability 201911(8).

Emma Hakala, Ville Lähde, Antti Majava, Tero Toivanen, Tere Vadén, Paavo Järvensivu, Jussi T. Eronen

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.)



Industrial policy and the European sustainability transformation: Reflections based on the Beyond Growth 2023 conference in Brussels During the high-level, three-day Beyond Growth 2023 conference at the European Parliament, leading scholars frequently emphasised that a sustainability transformation in Europe is a massive investment project. To reconstruct basic socio-technical systems, such as energy, mobility, food, and cities, an enormous amount of well-targeted economic activity needs to take place. Despite this sentiment, there was remarkable uneasiness around industrial policy.

Decoupling – where it falls short and a call for collecting research Decoupling “environmental bads” from “economic goods” is continuously proposed as a crucial tool that economies should use in the face of critical environmental problems. Two articles recently published by BIOS researchers point to one of the problems with the proposal: so far, the decoupling that has been observed is not wide, deep or fast enough. This can be seen better once the magnitude and timescale of the decoupling needed for ecological sustainability has been ball-parked. We discuss the findings of the articles, and make a call to add to an “open source” list of research articles that we have started.

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 […]