Finnish Forest Research Institute  Metla
Press release 12.5.2008

Notable international recognition to Metla’s researchers

Four researchers of the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla) have received a diploma for their contribution to the 2007 Nobel peace prize. The diploma was granted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, to whom the peace prize was awarded. The researchers awarded with the prize are Professor Timo Karjalainen and Senior Researcher Jukka Alm of the Joensuu Unit of Metla, as well as Researcher Raisa Mäkipää and Senior Researcher Risto Sievänen of the Vantaa Unit of Metla.

IPCC’s task is to gather assessment reports on climate change and guidelines for the assessment of national greenhouse gas emissions together with a group of international experts. Forest research plays a key role in the climate change debate. The recipients of the Metla diploma are leading researchers in their field and part of an extensive international network. The contribution of Metla's researchers to IPCC's tasks was mainly connected with drawing up reports and guidelines.

Of the four awarded researchers from Metla, Timo Karjalainen, Professor of International Forestry, has probably had the most versatile input in the IPCC tasks. He has acted as one of the lead or co-ordinating lead authors, e.g. of a special report on land use, land-use change and forestry serving the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, published in 2000, as well as in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report published last year (partial report Mitigation/Fighting Climate Change). Mr Karjalainen has also taken part in the development of IPCC’s assessment methods for the carbon balance of wood products. He was also involved in the organisation of one of the first IPCC workshops on the assessment of forest carbon balance, held in Joensuu in 1992.

Risto Sievänen and Raisa Mäkipää acted as lead authors in the Good Practice Guidance for Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry. Jukka Alm was lead author in the editing of the latest version of the Good Practice Guidance/AFOLU (Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use) on greenhouse gas reporting. The guidelines clarified the calculation instructions with the latest research data, consisting of special inventory methods for emissions from energy production, industrial production, land use and waste management. Furthermore, the now awarded and many other Metla’s researchers have also contributed to the commenting of IPCC reports and guidelines in various stages.

The climate change issues were closely connected to, for example, the Metla Research Programme ‘Pools and fluxes of carbon in Finnish forests and their socio-economic implications’ (HMS), which was concluded in 2006. Of Metla’s current research programmes, especially ‘Functioning of forest ecosystems and use of forest resources in changing climate’ (MIL) focuses on this subject area. It studies, on the one hand, how climate change affects forests and trees and the biological reasons for forest use and, on the other hand, what it means to the Finnish economy. The latter group of questions also includes bioenergy, the production and ecological preconditions of which are extensively studied in Metla's research and development programme 'Bioenergy from Forests’ (BIO). However, many other Metla’s research programmes, such as ‘Production forestry in drained peatlands’ (SUM) also include research projects, the results of which are significant in respect of climate change. As a state authority, Metla is also responsible for the calculation and reporting of the carbon stocks and greenhouse gases in Finnish forests.

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