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Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry provides EUR five million in funding for research and innovation projects that promote climate change resilience in agriculture, forestry and other types of land use

Publication date 11.2.2022 11.13
Press release
Talvinen suometsä, jossa mäntyjen edessä näkyy auringossa kimmeltävä hanki

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry funds five new research and innovation projects from the Catch the Carbon package of climate measures for the land use sector that is based on the Government Programme. These multidisciplinary projects will study and develop the comprehensive resilience of agriculture, forestry and other types of land use. After these funding decisions, the total number of Catch the Carbon project rises to 80, of which 15 are research and innovation projects.

In addition to reducing emissions and strengthening carbon sinks and reservoirs, the new projects to be funded will also strengthen other elements of sustainable development – biodiversity, a circular economy and social and economic sustainability. The funding amounts granted for the period 2022-2024 vary from approximately EUR 860,000 to EUR 1,100,000.

“Climate measures targeting agriculture, forestry and other types of land use require multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral research. The new projects to be launched soon are a fine addition to the themes of the projects already under way in our research and innovation programme,” says Marjaana Suorsa, Programme Manager of the Catch the Carbon programme at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

The new projects will promote e.g. the utilisation of biowaste streams from communities and plant production as carbon products in agriculture. A knowledge base and practical instructions will be produced through co-creation with municipalities for the implementation of carbon sinks in municipalities and carbon offsetting in land use operations. The projects will also study the carbon balance of ash-fertilised peatland forests and sphagnum moss as a growth medium that could replace peat.

“Close stakeholder cooperation will ensure that information is effectively transmitted to serve as the basis for decision-making and to practical actions,” Suorsa says.

Applications of a very high standard

The Catch the Carbon package, launched in spring 2020, is composed of cross-sectoral measures, development projects, an information programme and research and innovation programme that promote climate change resilience of agriculture, forestry and other types of land use. The aim of the research and innovation programme is to produce new research information that anticipates changes in the operating environment and proposals for solutions that will promote climate action in the land use sector and the sustainable use of renewable natural resources.

A total of 93 applications were submitted in the supplementary call for proposals under the Catch the Carbon package that was opened in October 2021. Of these, 38 applications concerned the research and innovation projects and 55 applications concerned the development projects.

The research and innovation project applications were evaluated by an external scientific panel of experts with nine members, chaired by Doctor of Agriculture and Forestry Sirpa Kurppa. The main selection criteria were the scientific quality and the potential to produce effective solutions to achieve Finland’s carbon-neutrality target. All of the projects to be funded will also employ researchers in the early stages of their research careers, in accordance with the objective set for the programme. 

“The project proposals that were submitted proved once again the high level of climate expertise among Finnish researchers and experts. Now it is important to make sure that the information produced in the projects will be utilised in the best possible way,” says Mikko Peltonen, Research Director at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

The funding decisions on the new development projects will be made within the next few weeks. The decisions on the projects under Finland’s Sustainable Growth Programme that support climate change resilience of forestry and forest biodiversity (RRF) should be made in early March.

New research and innovation projects to be funded

Organic side streams into sustainable products through digitalisation (BioDigi)

  • Project leader: Satu Ojala / University of Oulu

  • Members of the consortium: University of Oulu, Natural Resources Institute Finland, University of Vaasa

Possibilities of municipalities to use offsetting based on net carbon sinks in the land use sector

  • Project leader: Mikael Hildén / Finnish Environment Institute

  • Members of the consortium: Finnish Environment Institute, Natural Resources Institute Finland, University of Helsinki, City of Turku, City of Espoo, City of Lahti, City of Joensuu

Carbon balance and the factors affecting it in ash-fertilised peatland forests (SuoHiTu)

  • Project leader: Raija Laiho / Natural Resources Institute Finland

  • Members of the consortium: Natural Resources Institute Finland, University of Eastern Finland, Finnish Forest Centre

Sphagnum moss as a climate-smart growth medium – opportunities for comprehensively sustainable harvesting (Rahkoo)

  • Project leader: Anna Laine-Petäjäkangas / Geological Survey of Finland

  • Members of the consortium: Geological Survey of Finland, Finnish Environment Institute, Natural Resources Institute Finland

Adaptive mitigation: working together on carbon sequestration in forests (HIILIPOLKU)

  • Project leader: Liisa Ukonmaanaho / Natural Resources Institute Finland

  • Members of the consortium: Natural Resources Institute Finland, Finnish Meteorological Institute

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 about the projects that have already been funded at mmm.fi/en/climate-plan-for-the-land-use-sector

Inquiries:

Marjaana Suorsa
Programme Manager, Catch the Carbon research and innovation programme
tel. +358 29 516 2228
[email protected]

Reetta Sorsa
Chief Specialist, Coordinator of the Catch the Carbon programme
tel. +358 29 516 2087
[email protected]

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