Wild berries, mushrooms and herbs represent an abundant, unique, renewable, and underexploited natural commodity, unique for otherwise resource-scarce northern countries. Wild berries, mushrooms and herbs provide humans with functional health benefits from local sources, are an economically important, vitamin-rich supplement to human diets for a large part of the population, and are a base for an advanced bioeconomy such as cosmetics industry.

All scenarios of utilizing Nordic foraging resources, in particular wild berries, are under serious threats resulting from climate-change induced stresses such as invasive pest species, altered conditions including temperatures, snow cover and rainfall, and changes in abundance and species composition of pollinators. We will develop tools to mitigate the effects of such negative changes. To achieve the objectives we need to understand the underlying factors and effects of changes, and to educate the next generation of scientists and managers familiar with these issues. Ensuring sustainable production of foraged commodities in the North for the future needs a concerted multidisciplinary research effort involving ecologists, biologists, economists and other social scientists, working together with key stakeholders such as the berry industry, forest owners and managers, local village communities, policy makers public administrators, and the public media.

NOVA University network and UArctic Thematic Network on Sustainable Production and Foraging of Natural Products in the North joint PhD-course and workshop on “Invasive Pest Threats in the North” to be held in Finland in 2017.

The NOVA University Network has granted funds for a PhD-course series on “Climate Change Entomology”. The first course and an associated workshop will be organized jointly  on behalf of NOVA by the University of Helsinki, and the UArctic Thematic Network on “Sustainable Production and Foraging of Natural Products in the North“.

The topic of the course-workshop will be “Invasive Pest Threats in the North”, which is one of the core themes also in the UArctic Thematic Network.

PhD-students and advanced MSc-students from NOVA institutions are invited to attend the course, and the grant from NOVA will cover their costs. PhD-students from other universities, and researchers, can attend at own cost. Interested researchers and stakeholders are encouraged to participate in the parallel workshop as a meeting platform for further research and publication activities. The course-workshop will be held on the Viikki campus, University of Helsinki, from 25-29. September, 2017.

Contact course leader: heikki.hokkanen (at) helsinki.fi