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New research and innovation programme creates solutions to climate-smart land use

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
Publication date 6.10.2020 16.45 | Published in English on 9.11.2020 at 15.10
Press release

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry intends to open a call for applications for funding for a research and innovation programme to create climate-smart land use solutions in November 2020. The programme is a key element of the package of climate measures for agriculture, forestry and other land use launched last spring. Based on the applications received, several project packages will be launched in spring 2021, funded by over one million euros each. The aim is also to open a supplementary call for applications already in 2021.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has prepared the research and innovation programme in cooperation with the research community and relevant stakeholders. The aim is to support decision-making by producing information that anticipates changes in the operating environment in how agriculture, forestry and other land use can be targeted in a more climate-smart manner, both in the short and long term. The programme will also produce information in support of the future climate change plan for the land use sector.

The aim of the extensive package of measures launched by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, forestry and other land use and maintain and strengthen carbon sinks and reservoirs. The net impact set as the target to 2035 for the additional measures is 3 Mt CO2 equivalent.

By this package of measures, which is also included in the Government Programme, the land use sector, i.e. agriculture, forestry and land use changes, will be even more closely linked to the planning and implementation of the national climate and energy policy.

Programme boosts and strengthens applied research on land use

The new interdisciplinary research and innovation programme will considerably strengthen the research related to agriculture, forestry and other land use and produce science-based solutions for targeting climate actions. At the same time the programme offers excellent opportunities for researchers to deepen and diversify their knowledge. The opportunities for post-graduate education and post-doc studies will also be promoted.

“The target of a carbon-neutral Finland by 2035 is highly ambitious, which is why scientific proof is needed on the impact of the measures,” says Johanna Kohl, Research Programme Manager at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. “Achieving the impact targets of climate measures concerning agriculture, forestry and other land use requires support from extensive and innovative interdisciplinary research across traditional sectoral boundaries.”

“Besides natural sciences, research is needed on people’s behaviour and attitudes to achieve true changes in the way we act. Agriculture and forestry will not be climate-smart without climate-smart farmers and forest owners,” Kohl says.

The programme will also link earlier research results and current and future international and national research on these topics more strongly to support decision-making. In their applications the research consortiums should state clearly the causal chains in their project proposals that promote the achievement of the climate neutrality target to 2035.

Programme composed of three main themes

The research and innovation programme will be composed of three main themes, whose targets will be further specified before the call for applications is opened.

  1. In the theme change is in the air the focus is on actions to anticipate the future that are needed for both global and local changes. The aim is to find systematic solutions for the coordination of e.g. business operations, biodiversity, resilience, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
  2. The theme boost to land use stresses the management skills and cost efficiency in land use measures that support climate change mitigation and adaptation. The key objectives include correct timing and proportions of the actions and their targeting in terms of time and place. Solutions are also sought to achieving the changes in attitudes that may be needed.
  3. In the theme wisdom from soil the focus is on soil processes. Under this theme funding is provided to research concerning both climate change mitigation and adaptation to climate change. In the management of natural processes the aim is to adopt a comprehensive approach to sustainability. Funding is also targeted to research on the permanent effects of change management – including innovative, technological and economic solutions and solutions that provide new business opportunities.

One important cross-cutting objective of the programme is making use of foresight to identify and manage risks and disturbances and to target the actions. Another cross-cutting objective is to produce and apply new research knowledge for renewing the steering instruments and incentives.

Inquiries at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry:

Johanna Kohl, Research Programme Manager, tel. +358 50 535 2118,
Reetta Sorsa, Chief Specialist, tel. +358 29 516 2118,

Food and agriculture Forests Nature and climate Research and development