Meet the FABLE Finland team
The team is led by Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), a sectoral research institute of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, works under the Ministry of agriculture and forestry of Finland. Luke has a significant role in research, development and decision support related to sustainable agriculture, food economy and forestry, all under green transition.
The team’s main areas of interest have been food security (self-sufficiency and sustainability of food production), GHG emissions from agriculture, and policy effects on agricultural production and GHG emissions. New area of research is GHG emissions from forestry, including forest management on peatlands.
Models used by the team: FABLE Calculator.
Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE)
Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE)
Transforming food and land-use systems in Finland
Finnish agriculture emits a relatively high amount of greenhouse gases (approximately 16 Mt CO2 eq./year) in comparison to its production output. This is attributed to the large number of peatlans used in agriculture and forestry, which accounts for 11% of agricultural land and produces over 50% of agricultural GHG emissions.
Despite efforts to reduce fertilization and GHG emissions from peatlands, overall emissions have remained stable since 2000, as the gradual expansion of peatland area in agricultural production has offset decreasing emissions from cattle and fertilization. While EU CAP policies mainly focus on water protection and biodiversity maintenance, few have focused on reducing GHG emissions, resulting in a decrease in biodiversity.
There is a high demand for more effective policy measures for land use change, but their implementation remains challenging under the current EU CAP, as incentives for farmers and landowners are relatively few. Some agricultural cooperatives have taken the challenge of GHG mitigation and Continuous Cover Forestry (CCF) seems to be a promising and viable means of reducing GHG emissions from forest peatlands. However, strong incentives for landowners are still missing, and in many cases, the benefits of CCF, often specific to local conditions, are not yet well understood.
Key national objectives and targets
- Finland has committed to achieving a net-zero climate target by 2035 and carbon negativeness soon after. The agriculture sector has been given a 29% reduction target for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for the period 2020-2035.
- Additionally, the country has pledged to cease biodiversity loss by 2030. Despite these targets, the government aims to maintain food security at a relatively high level without compromising self-sufficiency in food production. The Climate Food Programme of the Finnish Government is expected to be finalized soon, with guidelines and recommendations for reducing livestock products in diets.
- However, strong policy measures promoting such changes have not been specified yet. The national nutrition guidelines and recommendations, which are already adopted by public catering services, are currently being revised. The new guidelines emphasize plant-based foods and fish more than before.
The team participates in various research and development projects, providing analyses for the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland. For example, Huuskonen et al. (2023) and Miettinen et al. (2022) have provided quantitative assessments of different future visions and pathways for Finnish agriculture, with a focus on GHG emissions and other environmental effects.
The team also collaborates with other national research institutions on various projects, including the Sompa project and JustFood. Their analyses on different integrated pathways and transitions in agriculture, land use change, and forestry are utilized in national action plans for GHG mitigation and biodiversity. They also contribute to reports such as the National Communications and Biennial Reports to the Climate Convention (UNFCCC).
FABLE (2020). Pathways to Sustainable Land-Use and Food Systems. 2020 Report of the FABLE Consortium. International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), Laxenburg and Paris. 10.22022/ESM/12-2020.16896. Finland chapter.
FABLE (2019). Pathways to Sustainable Land-Use and Food Systems. 2019 Report of the FABLE Consortium. Laxenburg and Paris: International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). Pathway for India.
- Ahtikoski, A., Rämö, J., Juutinen, A., Shanin, V., & Mäkipää, R. (2022). Continuous Cover Forestry and Cost of Carbon Abatement on Mineral Soils and Peatlands. Frontiers in Environmental Science, 10. https://doi.org/10.3389/fenvs.2022.837878.
- Huuskonen A. (ed.) 2023. Suomen kotieläintuotannon tulevaisuuskuvat ja yhteiskunnalliset vaikutukset. Luonnonvara- ja biotalouden tutkimus 11/2023. Luonnonvarakeskus. Helsinki. s. 24-56. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-380-614-6.
- Lehtonen, H. 2022. Ruoantuotannon hiili-euro-ohjelma (HERO). Luonnonvarakeskuksen tekemä työ Maa- ja metsätalousministeriölle. Maa- ja metsätalousministeriön julkaisuja 2022. 67 s.
- Lehtonen, H. & Rämö, J. 2022. Development towards low carbon and sustainable agriculture in Finland is possible with moderate changes in land use and diets. Sustainability Science. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-022-01244-6.
- Lehtonen, H., Huan-Niemi, E. & Niemi, J. 2022. The transition of agriculture to low carbon pathways with regional distributive impacts. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 44(2022). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eist.2022.05.002.
- Lehtonen, H., Assmuth, A., Koikkalainen, K., Miettinen, A., Mutanen, A., Mäkipää, R., Nieminen, M., Rämö, J., Wall, A., Wejberg, H. & Viitala, E.-J. 2022. Tehokkaat ohjauskeinot maa- ja metsätalouden ilmastovaikutusten edistämiseksi. Luonnonvara- ja biotalouden tutkimus 76/2022. Luonnonvarakeskus. Helsinki. 84 s. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-380-506-4.
- Miettinen, A., Aakkula, J., Koikkalainen, K., Lehtonen, H., Luostarinen, S., Myllykangas, J-P., Sairanen, A. & Silfver, T. 2022. Hiilineutraali Suomi 2035. Maatalouden lisätoimenpiteiden ja ruokavaliomuutoksen päästövähennysvaikutukset. Luonnonvara- ja biotalouden tutkimus 73/2022. Luonnonvarakeskus. Helsinki. 69 s. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-380-500-2.
- Purola, T. & Lehtonen, H. 2022. Farm-Level Effects of Emissions Tax and Adjustable Drainage on Peatlands. Environmental Management 69, 154–168. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-021-01543-1.
- Rämö, J., Tupek, B., Lehtonen, H. & Mäkipää, R. 2023. Towards climate targets with cropland afforestation - effect of subsidies on profitability. Land use policy. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2022.106433.