Forests and water
The recently begun ‘Forests and Water Research and Development Programme’ is a large scale interdisciplinary project covering the key components of the terrestrial water cycle, from the physiological processes of forest trees to the water cycle at the catchment level of the Baltic Sea. In accord with Luke’s strategy, the outcomes of the programme – scientific results, practical tools and services – promote the bioeconomy, as well as the competitiveness of forest-based industrial and commercial activity. The programme’s objectives have been defined on the basis of urgent national and global problems and the related knowledge requirements.
About one third of mankind suffers from a lack of pure water, while ground water resources have decreased alarmingly in many countries. Due to climate change, water availability is further decreasing and the frequency of severe hydrological events, such as floods and droughts, is rising. Global problems concerning water sufficiency are also having a major effect on consumer habits and industrial production in Finland. For these reasons, we need to achieve a better understanding of the water cycle in boreal forests and must disseminate this knowledge more efficiently.
Our aim is to increase our understanding of the effects of climatic factors and their temporal changes on forests and their adaptability in Finland.
Finland’s forests have a considerable impact on the quality of ground and surface waters. The forests filter out impurities from rain water, but also contribute significantly to the leaching of nutrients and other elements into water courses. In addition, forestry treatments exacerbate leaching.
Our aim is to investigate the effects of forests and forest management on the water cycle and water quality, and to find new methods of preventing detrimental impacts.
Climate change is increasing precipitation, and frost-free winters are becoming more common. For this reason, the risks of soil damage and leaching of nutrients and sediment are growing.
Our aim is to develop and provide new calculation methods and planning tools for the conservation of waters and soils, based on geographical, forest, soil and climate data.
The H2O research programme will be carried out in close cooperation with customers. Both available and new knowledge and tools will be provided to all end users.