Researchers specialised in climate change and biodiversity

This list of researchers is not comprehensive, but simply an overview. You can find contact details for all the University of Helsinki staff in our People Finder, and our Research Portal includes even more detailed information about e.g. our researchers' publications and fields of specialisation.

The University’s communications specialists are also happy to help look for our experts.

Finnish Climate Change Panel and UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

  • Markku Kanninen, professor of tropical silviculture: Climate-change challenges for tropical forests and other natural resources. Manninen has contributed to the activities of the IPCC from 1991 onwards and has served as a member of the Finnish Climate Change Panel from 2011.
  • Pekka Kauppi, professor of environmental science and policy: Forest ecosystem services and sustainable forestry. Kauppi is an active contributor in the IPCC.
  • Markku Ollikainen, professor of environmental economics: Environmental issues, including emissions trading, energy policy and land use. Ollikainen has served as chair of the Finnish Climate Change Panel from 2014 onwards.

Past, present and future climate

  • Jussi T. Eronen, associate professor of long-term sustainability science (@Jussi_T_Eronen): Research on climate-ecosystem interaction from the past to the future. Long-term dynamics of socio-ecological systems, including the effect of changes to biodiversity on societies and communities
  • Mikael Fortelius, professor of evolutionary palaeontology: Effects of climate change on ecosystems on a scale of millions of years, links between climate change and evolution
  • Veli-Matti Kerminen, professor: Aerosols and their cooling effect
  • Atte Korhola, professor of environmental change, vice-dean (@AtteKorhola): Current and past climate changes and their environmental and societal effects, especially in northern regions
  • Risto Makkonen, university researcher: Climate modelling
  • Markku Oinonen, docent: Radiocarbon dating, bioassays used, for example, to determine the amount of biological matter contained in emissions
  • Jouni Räisänen, university lecturer: Global warming, weather statistics
  • Minna Väliranta, university researcher: Research on past environmental and climate conditions and derivative research on the effects of current climate change on various natural processes, peatlands
  • Kaarina Weckström, docent: Reconstruction of long-term climate and environmental changes on the basis of marine and freshwater sedimentary archives
  • Jan Weckström, university researcher: Past and present environmental changes in northern regions, freshwater biology, diatoms
  • Petri Pellikka, professor, remote sensing, land use change, Taita research station of the University of Helsinki in Kenya, Africa, snow and glacier monitoring

Natural environment

  • Mar Cabeza, Academy of Finland research fellow, director of the Global Change and Conservation research group: Integrating climate change into conservation planning
  • Maria Hällfors, postdoctoral researcher (@MariaHallfors, @RECecochange): Effects of climate change on plant phenology and distribution, assisted migration
  • Merja Kontro, university lecturer: Groundwater and climate change
  • Helena Korpelainen, director of the Department of Agricultural Sciences, professor: Biodiversity, gene pools, plant population adaptation to climate change
  • Aleksi Lehikoinen, Academy of Finland research fellow (@AksuLehikoinen): Effects of climate change on the abundance and distribution of bird species
  • Atte Moilanen, research director: Land use, ecological compensation, species data
  • Pekka Niittynen, researcher (@PONiittynen): Effects of changes in snow coverage on the Arctic environment
  • Anne Ojala, university lecturer: Lakes, rivers and climate change
  • Leif Schulman, director of the Finnish Museum of Natural History Luomus, professor (@Leif_Sch, Director @Luomus and @lajitieto): New methods of species conservation potentially needed due to climate change, introducing climate change research at public venues.
  • Petteri Uotila, professor (@puotila): Marine environments and climate change


  • Jussi T. Eronen, associate professor of long-term sustainability science (@Jussi_T_Eronen): Research on climate-ecosystem interaction from the past to the future. Long-term dynamics of socio-ecological systems, including the effect of changes to biodiversity on societies and communities
  • Jenni Hultman, Academy of Finland research fellow (@JenniHultman): Effects of a changing climate on the microbial communities in the Arctic and their function
  • Timo Kuuluvainen, university lecturer: Interactions between forest structure, dynamics and biodiversity, ecologically sustainable use, restoration and conservation of forests
  • Alf Norkko, professor (@AlfNorkko): Marine ecosystems and climate change in the Baltic Sea and the polar regions
  • Joanna Norkko, research coordinator: Marine ecosystems and climate change in the Baltic Sea and the polar regions
  • Jouko Rikkinen, professor of botany: Biodiversity questions, specifically the biodiversity and evolutionary history of plants and fungi. Terrestrial ecosystems in Finland and the tropics
  • Jari Valkonen, professor: plant diseases and their prevention


  • Jaana Bäck, professor of forest-atmosphere interactions (@JaanaBack): Function of forest ecosystems and their interactions with the environment, specifically the role of forests in curbing climate change
  • Maria Brockhaus, professor of international forest policy (@brockhaus_maria): Role of forests in climate change and in curbing it
  • Jyrki Jauhiainen, university researcher (Tropical peatlands blog): Tropical peatlands, their carbon cycle, greenhouse gas balance and the climate impact of land use
  • Tuomo Kalliokoski, postdoctoral researcher (INAR, HELSUS): Carbon sinks
  • Juha Mikola, university lecturer (@JuhaMikola): Birches, treeline ecosystems and climate change
  • Kari Minkkinen, university lecturer: Climate effects of peatland use
  • Paavo Ojanen, university researcher: Climate effects of land use in peatlands, carbon cycle and greenhouse gas balance in drained peatlands
  • Olli Tahvonen, professor of forest economics and policy: Bridging environmental questions and economics
  • Anne Toppinen, professor of forest economics and marketing, director of the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science HELSUS (@annetoppinen)
  • Timo Vesala, professor of meteorology (@vesala2): Bogs and peatlands from the perspective of climate change


  • Laura Alakukku, professor of environmental technology in agriculture: Measures based on soil management technologies relating to climate change
  • Timo Hytönen, professor: Climate adaptation of plants
  • Kristina Lindström, professor of sustainable development: Sustainable agriculture in Finland and globally, soil biodiversity, legumes, nitrogen cycle
  • Jukka Rajala, researcher: Resource-efficient soil management
  • Priit Tammeorg, researcher in agricultural sciences: AgriChar research group
  • Iryna Herzon, university lecturer (@herzon_irina): Biodiversity in agricultural environment, farming in areas of high nature values, ecosystem services, agricultural and environmental policy, organic farming



  • Sirkku Juhola, professor of urban environmental policy (@UEP_group): Projects focused on, for example, cities adapting to climate change, national climate and adaptation policies and questions related to urban sustainability
  • Stephanie Hitztaler, postdoctoral researcher: Thematics of sustainable development in cities located in the Arctic
  • Merja Kontro, university lecturer: Environmental technology in cities and sustainable development
  • Jari Niemelä, rector, professor of urban ecology (@niemela_jari): ecology and biodiversity in cities, urban planning and sustainability
  • Heikki Setälä, professor of urban ecosystem research: Importance of urban green areas as providers of ecosystem services, such as stormwater management, the clean-up of air pollutants and carbon sequestration


  • Olli Tahvonen, professor of forest economics and policy: Bridging environmental questions and economics
  • Lauri Valsta, professor of the business economics of forestry (@ValstaLauri): Economics of forest management and climate change mitigation in the forest sector, including climate sink computations

Environment, climate and energy policy

  • Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen, associate professor of Russian environmental studies (@VPTynkkynen): Russian and Arctic energy, environmental and security policy
  • Sanna Kopra, postdoctoral researcher (@SannaKopra): China’s foreign, climate and environmental policy, international norms and Arctic governance
  • Janne Hukkinen, professor of environmental policy (@JIHukkinen): Multidisciplinary sustainability research combining social and natural sciences
  • Tero T. Toivanen, doctoral student (@TTToivanen): Political economy, political ecology, world politics, climate change, the Anthropocene
  • Annukka Vainio, associate professor (@annukka_vainio): Climate communications, climate attitudes and beliefs, sustainable change of behaviour
  • Barry Gills, professor: global climate and other crises


  • Sirpa Tenhunen, professor of social and cultural anthropology: Climate change and displacement in South Asia

Sustainability and environmental regulation

  • Kai Kokko, professor of environmental law: Theory of environmental law and regulatory methods curbing, among other things, climate change, emission trade, mining
  • Dayabati Roy, senior researcher: Climate action in South Asia, forest conservation and environmental policies in India, sustainable livelihoods in developing countries, and political ecology.
  • Niko Soininen, assistant professor;  Tiina Paloniitty, postdoctoral researcher, and Mari Pihalehto, doctoral student

Philosophy and ethics

  • Säde Hormio, postdoctoral researcher:   Collective agency in climate change
  • Simo Kyllönen, researcher (@KyllonenSimo): Relationship between climate ethics and economy, moral and political philosophy from the perspective of local conflicts
  • Suvielise Nurmi, researcher: Environmental philosophy, ecological ethics, moral agency, ethics education as well as children and adolescents
  • Panu Pihkala, postdoctoral researcher (@panupihkala): History and forms of Christian environmental thinking, effects of religions and worldviews on environmental attitudes, the role of psychological and spiritual matters in environmental education as well as the history of Christian ecotheology, environmental anxiety

Teaching, education and environmental education

  • Minna Autio, professor of home economics: Sustainable consumption and consumer education
  • Hannele Cantell, university lecturer: Climate education, including a bicycle model in support of climate education
  • Merja Kontro, university lecturer: Urban environmental technology, circular economy
  • Kristina Lindström, professor of sustainable development: Bachelor’s level study module on sustainable development
  • Laura Riuttanen, postdoctoral researcher: Climate education, the Climate University project of Finnish universities and universities of applied sciences
  • Sirpa Tani, professor of geography and environmental education: General environmental education

Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science HELSUS – Professors

Visit the HELSUS website.

Research groups working on climate-related topics: