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Finland shows the way in carbon sequestration and soil research – topical themes in EU

Ministry of Agriculture and ForestryMinistry of the Environment
Publication date 27.4.2023 13.45 | Published in English on 23.5.2023 at 17.08
News item
Kuvassa suomaisemaa ja pitkospuut

During the current government term, Finland has made significant contributions to climate change resilient and sustainable solutions in the land use sector by funding more than 100 projects that produce research knowledge to serve as the basis for decision-making. Topics where groundbreaking research is done include soil studies and carbon sequestration, which are highly topical in the EU contexts as well.

At the moment legislative proposals are being prepared in the EU both on soil health and on carbon removal certification, where one of the kay aims is to support climate change mitigation and adaptation in the land use sector. To support the preparation and decision-making, research knowledge is needed to assess and verify the impact of different measures and to bring forth the special characteristics of different countries. 

Research conducted in Finland may also show the way for other Member States. During the spring, Finland’s competence in scientific research has been discussed in Brussels as well.

Means to increase carbon sequestration studied and put to practice

The topics studied in the Catch the Carbon projects include soil carbon sequestration and storage and impacts of ash fertilisation in peatland forests. The aim is to find solutions that are suitable for different kinds of sites.

The SuoHitu project examines the long-term impact of ash fertilisation in peatland forests on soil greenhouse gas emissions and balance and on biodiversity and the load on water bodies. The project, launched in 2022, has produced promising results: ash fertilisation improves soil nutrient content and strongly promotes the growth of forests, and can thus effectively increase the forest carbon sink. However, ash fertilisation may also increase emissions from the soil, which is why it is important to adopt a comprehensive approach to the greenhouse gas balance of peatland forests. Studies on the impact of ash fertilisation on soil biodiversity are still under way.

The HiiletIn project is, in turn, concerned with the potential of arable lands to increase carbon sequestration. The project analyses the carbon sequestration potential of mineral soils in the whole of Finland. The project has charted the location of potential arable lands in terms of carbon accumulation, which will enable to target different guidance instruments at suitable areas. Based on the results, there is potential for growth in the soil carbon sink especially in southern Finland.

The state of soil in Finland and its monitoring is analysed during the spring in a project launched by the Ministry of the Environment. The results will be utilised in negotiations between EU Member States on the legislative proposal concerning soil health. 

Carbon markets encourage companies to climate action

Voluntary climate action is a means that supplements political guidance in promoting climate work in Finland and globally. Different operators can use carbon credits bought from the carbon markets to make climate claims in the marketing of companies, products and services. 

The guide published by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Ministry of the Environment in February 2023 aims to improve the reliability of the Finnish carbon market and create an opportunity for companies to support voluntary climate actions by using carbon credits. The guide sums up good practices and recommendations for producing carbon credits and for making claims based on these.

The development of voluntary carbon markets has also been studied in the KolKom project, which explores their impacts on the production and value chains of the forest and agricultural sectors. The project draws up scenarios for carbon offsetting and assesses their impacts on the wood market, agricultural production, landowners' income, and the national and regional economy.

The aim of the Catch the Carbon package of climate measures coordinated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is to strengthen the competence and knowledge base related to climate work in the land use sector and support agricultural producers, forest owners and other parties who make land use decisions in developing and introducing climate change resilient practices. Read more about the package and projects.


Regulation of soil health

Hanna Mattila, Senior Specialist
Ministry of the Environment
tel. +358 295 250 426

Jaakko Nippala, Ministerial Adviser
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
tel. +358 295 162 119

Voluntary carbon markets

Lotta Heikkonen, Chief Specialist
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
+358 295 162 074

Karoliina Anttonen, Senior Officer for Legal Affairs 
Ministry of the Environment
tel. +358 295 250 065

Catch the Carbon program

Reetta Sorsa, Chief Specialist
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
+358 295 162 087