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Browsing by master's degree program "Ympäristömuutoksen ja globaalin kestävyyden maisteriohjelma (ECGS)"

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  • Ryöppy, Selja (2022)
    A systemic change in the current modes of production and consumption, a so-called sustainability transition, is required to overcome large-scale society-transforming phenomena such as the climate change. This in turn demands changes in socio-technical systems, i.e., the networks of actors, institutions, technologies, material artefacts, and knowledge creation. In this thesis, the Finnish construction and housing sector is used as a case study, and an example of one socio-technical system. By focusing on the socio aspect of the socio-technical, I analyse how actors who are involved in the current system may inhibit or enable a sustainability transition. I seek to answer the following questions: what the relevant definitions of and foci for climate-wise action are among stakeholders in the sector in Finland; how actor-related barriers manifest themselves; and which actors could enable or speed up the transition. This thesis builds on sustainability transition theories, especially multi-level perspective and strategic niche management, to better understand actor roles and relationships. Based on a literature review, I define three actor-related barriers to transition (misaligned vision and focus, small network, and pro-regime actor resistance) and one potential enabler (intermediaries). These are then applied to the Finnish context. In this thesis, I employed stakeholder analysis as the methodology, interviewing a pre-defined set of 21 stakeholders. The results were analysed using content and social network analyses. The results suggest that although the understanding of climate-wise construction and housing is gaining a more holistic perspective, the three barriers all still manifest in the sector in Finland: all the stakeholders are engaged in energy-related topics, but hold differing foci on household choices, low-carbon materials and circularity; the network amongst actors seems relatively dense and inclusive, but improvement points emerge with closer examination; although results suggest that development has happened in the recent years, industries and incumbents are still considered too slow-moving. The importance of intermediation is also recognised by many but defining and picking potential intermediaries out of the crowd is a complex task. Overall, the sector may be moving forward in the transition, but the stakeholders create and uphold both barriers and opportunities in the process.
  • Aula, Onerva (2022)
    This study aims to understand how cities adapt to environmentally induced hazards, like floods. Extreme floods are interesting firstly, because climate change is predicted to increase flooding in several places globally in the future, and secondly, because even a small risk could be realised in the right conditions. The methods are a case study of flood adaptation in Helsinki, qualitative content analysis, interviews, and a scenario. Land use planning is chosen as the context of the case study, because densification challenges flood preparedness. The material consists of the zoning plan of Helsinki, its flood risk management related appendixes and interviews with city experts. The qualitative content analysis aims to answer the first research question: How does land use planning consider extreme floods in Helsinki? The scenario, in turn, aims to answer the second research question: In what ways might an extreme flood challenge the current land use planning in Helsinki? The interviews are mainly used to support the other methods. The results lead to one main argument, for which I present several justifications. The argument is that the flood risk management and land use planning in Helsinki, the urban structure of which is densifying, do not sufficiently consider the risk related to extreme floods, even though climate change is increasing the likelihood of such. In the end, I present some policy recommendations to change this.
  • Tammisto, Eveliina (2022)
    The climate crisis is such major environmental threat that it has negative impacts on both nature and people. Recently, the effects of climate change on people’s mental health have also been noticed. Children and adolescents are especially vulnerable group in terms of climate anxiety. The amount of climate anxiety among youth has been found to be increasing, yet the studies on it are still scarce. It is important to find out how much climate anxiety there is among youth and does it influence their behavior. The objective of this master’s thesis is to find out how much climate anxiety there is and is climate anxiety interconnected with the pro-environmental behavior among youth. Also, its aim is to find out whether attending the climate course affects the amount of climate anxiety. In addition, the study focuses on whether gender, home country and parental education level are interconnected with the amount of climate anxiety. This study was conducted as part of the D.Game project which includes a climate course for youth aged 12–18 years. Data for this research was collected through a survey during the climate course. The schools and students participating in the D.Game climate course and the climate anxiety survey were selected through an open recruitment during autumn of 2021. The data consists of 48 students who responded to the pre survey and of 13 students who responded to the post survey. The participants were 15–17 years old. On the contrary to other research, there is not much climate anxiety among youth. There is also a strong positive correlation between climate anxiety and pro-environmental behavior, which differs from other research. On the other hand, there were no significant differences in climate anxiety between the groups divided by divided by gender, home country and parental education level, which was expected result. Based on the data, the climate course did not have statistically significant effect on the amount of climate anxiety among youth. Also, there is need for further research. Larger sample could provide more valid results. The causality of the correlation between climate anxiety and pro-environmental behavior would be interesting to resolve. Whether attending to a climate course affects the amount of climate anxiety could be found out by development of climate courses and comparing different courses.
  • Repetti, Sonja I. (2022)
    My master’s thesis aims to determine the effect of salinity on phytoplankton traits related to nutrient acquisition, and particularly how this interacts with resource availability. Salinity is an important driver structuring phytoplankton communities in the Baltic Sea. Salinity can also influence nutrient uptake by increasing metabolic rates required for osmotic adjustment. Thus, interaction between salinity and nutrient availability is expected to change community structure by altering phytoplankton traits determining resource competition. This is a particularly relevant area of study for the Baltic Sea due to predicted future freshening of the sea’s upper layer. We performed a microcosm experiment using artificial communities of 10 diverse phytoplankton species grown under different combinations of salinity (0, 5, 12 and 24), Nitrogen to Phosphorus molar ratio (N:P ratio = 2, 10, 16 and 80) and light (10 and 130 µmol photon m-2 s-1) conditions. A three-way interaction among these environmental parameters influenced phytoplankton traits associated with resource competition, as well as the presence and proportions of phytoplankton taxa. Light limitation inhibited community growth under all salinity conditions, but allowed diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum to dominate. Community growth rate was higher under high light, but also more variable between salinity conditions. The strongest negative effects of nutrient limitation (N, P, and both nutrients together), both on growth rate and taxonomic diversity, were observed in the highest salinity treatment. In the freshwater treatment with the highest proportion of green algae Monoraphidium sp., N-limitation did not inhibit phytoplankton community growth and P-limitation had a more profound negative effect on community performance. Decreasing salinity appeared to decrease community C:N and C:P ratios. This shift is in opposition to the increasing C:N and C:P predicted as a consequence of other climate change-related drivers. Our results emphasise the importance of a trade-off between salinity and resource limitation in functioning of phytoplankton communities and suggest that future freshening of the Baltic Sea is likely to modify phytoplankton community composition and performance.
  • Lahti, Arttu (2022)
    The need to develop and expand urban areas is increasing in most countries, but urbanization also increases the threat for global biodiversity. Some cities have acknowledged this challenge and formed strategies and action plans for biodiversity preservation. How can we ensure that such strategies are realized in city planning? Negotiations are a crucial part of urban planning, and therefore can be a leverage point of intervention to effectively implement strategies to pro-tect biodiversity. However, little is known about the dynamics of the actual negotiation process in city planning. I applied a game theoretic approach to study how information availability influences the suc-cess and efficiency of negotiations. A role-playing game was used to simulate a negotiation on specific measures to preserve biodiversity in a residential building project. Eleven urban devel-opment specialists played the game with different sets of information. In addition to the direct outcomes of the negotiation, I analysed the post hoc discussion and arguments used to gain in-sights into perceptions of biodiversity-related negotiations in urban planning. Results indicate that information availability can increase the efficiency of negotiations. Partici-pants favour principled and integrative negotiation, but incomplete information seems to push them to take a more positional stance. The post hoc discussion also reveals some issues rele-vant to the design of urban planning process for biodiversity. The overall results suggest that a simple game-theoretic framework, implemented in (a) game-like simulation with quasi-experimental control and (b) qualitative analysis of discussions, holds potential for both under-standing (i) how decision makers frame and resolve the negotiation with conflicting interests and (ii) how to design efficient administrative processes taking into account not only the partic-ipants’ preferences but also wider public interests, such as biodiversity preservation.
  • Kolari, Tiia (2022)
    Biodiversity is essential for human wellbeing and activities as it supports a diverse set of ecosystem services. Currently, biodiversity is rapidly declining. Biodiversity loss is the second significant global risk after climate change. To reduce environmental stress, there is a need to find sustainable alternatives to unsustainable raw materials and consumables. The chemical industry has an important role in developing environmentally friendly solutions such as bio- based products and solutions, which require utilization of biomass. However, extraction of bio- based raw materials creates more pressure on biodiversity and contributes to biodiversity loss. It is essential that companies who extract natural resources are transparent about their actions concerning biodiversity. By adequately sharing information in corporate reports, companies can enhance their legitimacy. This thesis contributes to scientific discussion on biodiversity reporting which is researched to a limited extent. Material of the thesis was collected from corporate reports and interviews with globally operating chemical companies. By using qualitative content analysis, this thesis describes how chemical companies report on biodiversity as part of their corporate reporting to maintain their legitimacy and how biodiversity is perceived within the chemical industry. Biodiversity is a complex concept and intangible system, which cannot be sufficiently measured yet. This may help to explain why biodiversity reporting within the chemical industry is varying and inconsistent. There is a need to improve companies’ understanding on biodiversity to enhance biodiversity reporting. Adequate reporting can help to understand complex natural processes, enhance environmental protection, and reduce the problem of greenwashing.
  • Huttunen, Johanna (2022)
    Bumblebees are important pollinators globally and especially in Fennoscandia, yet they are declining. The amount of natural vegetation in cities is decreasing with urbanisation. Hence suitable habitats for urban bumblebees are diminishing. Brownfields can be important habitats for bumblebees in cities because they resemble natural habitats. I studied bumblebee communities in urban brownfields. My main aims were to evaluate how local and landscape scale environmental factors affect the suitability of a brownfield to be a habitat for bumblebees. I also evaluated whether certain bumblebee functional traits are filtered in the brownfields. I expected that especially local characteristics and primarily the amount of flowering plant cover and the size of a site would affect bumblebee richness and abundance. I also expected the bumblebee communities to be characterised by generalist feeders. I collected bumblebees using line tracking in 15 brownfield sites in the city of Lahti and sampled bumblebees six times during the summer of 2020. The share of ground cover types within each site was estimated, as well as the share of different habitat types within a 300 m buffer zone around the sites. The data were used to analyse which local and landscape characteristics affect bumblebee community composition, species richness, and abundance in a brownfield site. Trait analyses were used to test the relationship between bumblebee traits and environmental factors. I showed that bumblebee abundance and richness were affected by local site characteristics but not landscape-scale factors. However, community composition was associated with landscape characteristics, including forest and commercial or industrial areas. Unexpectedly, the size of a brownfield site did not affect community composition, richness, or abundance. Functional traits were filtered in brownfield sites, especially the prevalence of a short proboscis, which is linked to a generalist diet in these bees. Brownfield sites are rich in bumblebees. Brownfields are suitable habitats for bumblebees regardless of the scale of urbanisation, and even small sites can host a diversity of bumblebees. As the amount of natural habitat in urban areas is decreasing, brownfields should be considered important habitats for bumblebees and other pollinators in urban planning.
  • Råberg, Mirka (2022)
    Circular economy (CE) is often offered as a solution to mitigate climate change and more efficient resource use. However, the socio-cultural side of transformation to CE is widely overlooked in the academic literature (Kirchherr et al., 2018) and in the context of CE, consumer-citizens are often framed as “consumers”, “users” and in terms of “acceptance” of new products and modes of provision (Hobson & Lynch, 2016). In fact, taking part in CE can be quite laborious and the notion of consumption work highlights the time, skills and access needed to participate in circular consumption (Hobson et al., 2021). Existing research on CE skills are scarce, outdated and focused on only one practice at a time. The research gap of citizens’ CE skills has been identified by several researchers (e.g. Hobson et al., 2021; Wieser, 2019) and this thesis aims to fulfil the gap by adopting a qualitative approach. The data on which this research is based on, consists of semi-structured interviews with 20 Finnish citizens who have been active in implementing zero waste lifestyles and responsible consumption principles that are relevant for CE. By exploring their everyday practices related to CE, I identify six skill categories that the active citizens utilise to take part in CE. Particularly (1) manual skills were identified by the interviewees as central to performing circular activities. They include skills such as sewing and technical skills that enable repair and repurposing materials. The interviewees possess (2) divergent thinking skills and abilities to think creatively, for example about the ways you can use a certain item. They are also skilful in questioning consumption related social norms. (3) Research and communication skills are central for active citizens as they are trying to figure out the most sustainable options and inspire others with humour and positivity to take part in the circular economy. The interviewees describe often utilising (4) organising and prioritising skills that revolve around time management. They need to make decisions and prioritise certain actions that preferably are quite influential in terms of their carbon footprint. Moreover, when buying products second hand they should start looking for the items early and with rental options, the need should be anticipated and planned. Another identified set of skills are (5) household skills. They include maintenance skills of household goods and clothes, cooking skills to avoid food waste by using creativity and planning as well as recycling skills on sorting different fractions. The respondents also described (6) skills brought by experience. Knowledge on different second hand marketplaces and the skills to recognise good quality on materials and items enable circular practices. One of the main contributions of this thesis is consolidation of various sets of citizen skills relevant for the CE into a single framework. The findings further illustrate that consumer-citizens are doing a multitude of CE activities that require consumption work and certain skills. The findings provide information on how citizens engage and coordinate CE practices on the household level by prioritising and planning, a topic on which research has been lacking (Hobson et al., 2021). The skills of “thinking outside the box” are also a new set of skills that emerged from the interviews and it has a clear connection to the “unlearning” of noncircular consumption practices (Wieser, 2019). The identified skills could be taught more through formal and informal education channels, but it should be considered, how infrastructure, companies and services can ease people’s participation in CE. Findings of the thesis offer insight on the domestic reality of CE and how it could be improved in the Finnish context.
  • Pörsti, Saara Kyllikki (2022)
    Climate change have widespread increasing negative health impacts on urban residents. The impacts vary in different temporal and spatial dimensions and include health impacts such as increases in heat related illnesses, respiratory issues, and vector-borne diseases. Vulnerability and exposure to those impacts depend on different interacting factors from city level systems to individual characteristics. Papers that study how cities’ moderating factors impact on different climate change induced health impacts are an important part for setting adaptation policies. Little is known how city systems and system factors (social and physical environment and policy and planning) moderate climate change induced health impacts in cities and their role in different vulnerability and exposure outcomes. With an analytical framework that utilizes systems approach and follows conceptual framework that considers city systems as moderating factors to different vulnerability and exposure outcomes, this thesis answers the questions: How are the city systems and system factors, and climate risk elements (vulnerability, exposure) related? And what are the different types of interactions that lead to vulnerability and exposure outcomes? The main data of this qualitative case study is collected with 18 expert pair-interviews. The experts are selected from four residential areas that represent different municipalities in Helsinki and Turku. The interviews are transcribed and coded with Atlas.ti. The findings of this study emphasize that moderating factors have an impact on different vulnerability and exposure outcomes. The results also show that adaptation measures that would consider cities moderating factors, would have a significant impact on reduced exposure and vulnerability to begin with. Identification of different city system, climate risk and health impact pathway synergies doesn’t promote better adaptation policies as such. Better understanding of efficient adaptation policies require further studies of the consequences resulting from the policy decisions in physical and social environment in the long run.
  • Lahtinen, Oskari (2022)
    Agriculture is emitting ~6.2 Gt CO2-Eq. annually, which accounts for ~12 % of the total annual net anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions globally. Agriculture emits N2O and CH4, and it is responsible globally for ~79% of N2O emissions and ~40% CH4 emissions. These emissions are vital since N2O and CH4 are 273- and 27-times greater GHG than CO2, respectively. There are many different food production systems developed to reduce these emissions. One of the most promising systems is agroforestry. Agroforestry is a complex system where trees and/or shrubs are interacting with crops and/or animals. Agroforestry is an old practice which can provide plenty of advantages, e.g., increased yields, increased biodiversity, and increased carbon sequestration. Therefore, the interest towards it has been increasing in the last decades. In this master’s thesis the different maize production systems in Zambia were studied. The comparison was conducted between low-input maize monoculture where only external input was maize seed for sowing; high-input maize monoculture where mineral fertilizers and seeds for sowing were used; and maize-Faidherbia albida agroforestry system where only external input was maize seed for sowing. The goal of this master’s thesis was to find out, which production system is having the lowest climate change potential in the Central Province of Zambia. To conduct this study, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) -method was used. Two cases were used in LCA, i.e., Case 1 with functional unit (FU) of 1000 kg d.m. maize grain, and Case 2 with FU of 3 ha maize field. Also, four sensitivity analyses were conducted. The result from this study indicates that agroforestry system had the lowest climate change potential in both cases, and in most of the sensitivity analyses. Only exception was found in the sensitivity analysis where above-ground biomass of F. albida was substituting hydropower. In this sensitivity analysis the monoculture without external inputs had the lowest climate change potential. Since the food production in Zambia must increase in the future to reduce the hunger, the high-input system or agroforestry system are more favourable options as they produce higher crop yields. When taking the climate change potential into account, according to the results of this thesis, the agroforestry system provides more benefits. The results of this thesis can provide new knowledge which could be used in the future decision-making processes. Yet, in the future studies, more complex agroforestry systems with more sustainability pillars should be considered to provide improved information for decision-making.
  • Pykäri, Janina (2022)
    Light is crucial for aquatic ecosystems, as photosynthesis supports the higher trophic levels. Light attenuates in water due to absorption and scattering by optically active substances (OAS), the main ones in coastal environments being chlorophyll-a (chl-a), particulate matter and coloured dissolved organic matter (CDOM). Light attenuation measurements are also important indicators of many environmental changes. Traditionally, Secchi depth has been used to monitor changes in light attenuation. However, Secchi depth (ZS) is a not an accurate estimate of light attenuation, and conversion to light attenuation coefficient (Kd) is needed to study light conditions as aquatic organisms observe them. Therefore, calibration between methods is important. In this study, light attenuation was estimated with Secchi disc, a light meter and light loggers to scrutinize the possibilities of autonomous measurements in this context. The aims of the study were 1) to compare three methods for estimating light attenuation and 2) to identify the environmental drivers affecting the relationships and accuracy of these methods, and 3) to assess the possibility of using conductivity as a proxy for light attenuation. The main hypotheses were that the differences in conversion between ZS and the two sensor-based methods in different concentrations of optically active substances can be explained by contribution of scattering to light attenuation, and that variation in different Kd-estimates is due to the different measurement spectra. The effect of three OASs (chl-a, particulate matter, CDOM) on differences among light attenuation estimates were quantified in Pohjanpitäjänlahti bay. Light attenuation was mainly controlled by CDOM, followed by particulate matter and chl-a. Conductivity was found to be a good proxy for light attenuation. However, there was a mixed signal if the differences among methods could be explained by OAS concentrations or conductivity, as the hypotheses were supported with one device pair but not with the other. Therefore, the differences among light measurement methods might stem from the characteristics of the devices or measurement errors. However, all the methods were found suitable for tracking changes in light attenuation and a summary table of the advantages and disadvantages of each method is presented to help choose a suitable method to estimate light attenuation e.g., in future studies or environmental monitoring.
  • Laine, Jere (2022)
    Cyanobacteria are an important part of the phytoplankton community and aquatic ecosystems. Cyanobacteria can form large mass occurrences, i.e. blooms, which can be toxic or cause other harm. Research and monitoring of cyanobacteria has been based on microscopy analysis. However, molecular-based methods, such as 16S rRNA sequencing are replacing microscopy analyses in the near future. The Finnish Environment Institute has stated that molecular methods are part of environmental monitoring before 2030. In this Master’s thesis the aim was to determine whether conventional microscopy analyses and 16S rRNA sequencing differ when comparing nano- and micro-sized cyanobacteria. The material was collected from a laboratory experiment of the Finnish Environment Institute’s (SYKE) MiDAS project, which was conducted in the summer of 2020. The results of the microscopy and 16S rRNA analyses differed from each other. The relative abundances of the cyanobacteria genera differed between sample types. Microscopy analyses estimated that the alpha diversity was higher compared to the results of the sequencing analyses. The main reason for the difference between the types of analyses was due to the differences in cyanobacteria belonging to the order of Synechococcales. Some of the Synechococcales species were observed only by the sequencing analyses, e.g. Snowella and some of the Synechococcales species were only observed by the microscopy analyses, e.g. Romeria and Woronichinia. It was observed that both methods are prone to identification errors. The differences between the 16S rRNA sequencing and the microscopy analyses are vastly different. It may affect on the review of long-term data of the phytoplankton community. Therefore, it is important to examine the differences between the types of analyses. Studying the dissimilarities between the types of analyses should be focused on the research of the small cell-sized colonial cyanobacteria, i.e. the species of Chroococcales and Synechococcales.
  • Kuusela, Karoliina (2022)
    Digitaalisia teknologioita hyödynnetään lisääntyvästi kansalaisosallistumisen vahvistamisessa sekä vahvan ja osallistuvan demokratian toteuttamisessa. Tämän niin sanotun e-osallistumisen tai digitaalisen osallistumisen päämääränä on aktivoida kansalaisia ja madaltaa osallistumiskynnystä sekä rohkaista heitä keskusteluun julkisen hallinnon kanssa. Teknologiset ratkaisut lupaavat tiiviimmän ja reaaliaikaisenkin keskusteluyhteyden hallinnon ja kansalaisten välillä. E-osallistuminen koetaan myös ratkaisuna maaseuduille tyypillisten niukkenevien resurssien ja pitkien etäisyyksien haasteisiin. Kiinnostus e-osallistumiseen on tutkimusten mukaan kuitenkin vähäistä. Osallistumista tukevia teknologisia ratkaisuja olisi tarjolla, mutta niiden hyödyntämiseen ei olla innostuttu kunnissa. Tässä tutkimuksessa kartoitetaan, kuinka kuntaorganisaation viranhaltijat kokevat kuntalaisten osallistumisen sekä millaisia haasteita ja mahdollisuuksia he liittävät e-osallistumisen teknologisiin ratkaisuihin. Tutkimusaineisto koostuu 11 teemahaastattelusta, jotka kerättiin Mikkelin kaupungin eri palvelualueita edustavilta viranhaltijoilta. Haastattelupuhe on sosiaalisesti rakentunutta ja aineistoa tarkasteltiin teoriasidonnaisesti kehysanalyyttisella otteella. Analyysissa selvitettiin keskeiset osallistumiseen liittyvät kehystämistavat viranhaltijoiden näkökulmasta. Haastateltavat puhuivat osallistumisesta velvollisuuksien kehyksessä ja käytäntöjen kehyksessä. Vaikka osallistumista pidettiin tärkeänä, ristivetoa esiintyi velvollisuuksien (kuntalaki ja kuntalaisten osallistumismahdollisuudet) ja käytäntöjen (nykyiset toimintakulttuurit ja niukat resurssit) välillä. Edustuksellisen päätöksenteon ja kuntalaisten osallistumisen suhde osoittautui kitkaiseksi. Myös kuntalaisten näkökulmaa ja mielekkäitä osallistumisen tapoja olisi tulosten mukaan kehitettävä. Lisäksi kuntaorganisaatioiden nykyiset toimintakulttuurit kaipaavat osallistumisen huomioon ottavaa uudistamista ja riittävän resursoinnin varmistamisen.
  • Mäki, Ilona (2022)
    Biochar is a porous, carbon-rich material, made from organic material by pyrolysis in low oxygen conditions, and it can be used to sequester carbon into the soil. This review aspires to give an overview of the economic dimensions of using biochar in Finnish (Boreal and sub-boreal) forests. A literature review was conducted to collect and summarize the information about studies and applications elsewhere, and how we could possibly apply them into Finnish forest ecosystems. This thesis is done as part of Helsus Co-Creation Lab -project, where our group was tasked with looking into how biochar could enhance biodiversity in soil and accelerate transformation to low carbon economy. From this larger topic, this paper is looking into the economic side, and whether it is economically viable to use biochar to enhance and uphold biodiversity. This is evaluated by reviewing and categorizing 164 papers and conducting a literature review. My conclusions are that the current biochar applications show lower economic efficiency than other carbon dioxide abatement technologies. The stability of biochar in soil is a key factor, as the half-lives of biochars may not be as long as commonly suggested. Furthermore, competition for biomass resource use can restrict the availability of feedstock, and make it more expensive. Subsidies for biochar application are required if biochar is to be- come a significant part of the national or global climate mitigation policy. The results in different articles are quite variable and there is currently no standard approach to them. There is a need for specific research on what kind of biochar benefits what soil and vegetation, which is expensive. A primary goal is to incorporate a consistent and standardized testing or analysis method for biochar stability into the certification programs run and administered by the International and the European Biochar Initiatives. In the foreseeable future, biochar by itself is unlikely to play a significant role in climate mitigation strategies. Biochar might be just one of several alternatives in a bundle strategy to re- duce carbon emissions. However, its potential use must still be researched more.
  • Turunen, Pauliina (2021)
    Peatlands play an important role in the carbon cycle. Natural peatlands are in general sinks of carbon dioxide (CO2) and sources of methane (CH4), whereas drained peatland forests are CH4 sinks but their CO2 emissions increase compared to natural peatlands. Rotational even-aged forestry followed by ditch network maintenance (DNM) affect the water dynamics of the soil by increasing the water table level (WTL) first during clear-cut after which the WTL is lowered by DNM. Rising of WTL causes more anaerobic conditions and risk that CH4 sink turns into CH4 emissions. Lowering the WTL causes more aerobic conditions and strengthens the CH4 sink function but also increases CO2 emissions. In continuous cover forestry (CCF) where only part of the trees are removed, WTL would be naturally maintained. This could maintain CH4 sinks while lowering CO2 emissions by keeping the WTL at an adequate depth. Net emissions of CO2 and CH4 could be expected to follow the changes in CO2 and CH4 concentrations in soil. To understand the processes isotopic values can be used to interpret the production pathways of CO2 and CH4 since different pathways produce different isotope values. In this master’s thesis the aim was to study how the concentration of CO2 and CH4 as well as CO2 isotope values change in a peat soil and how partial harvest affects them. Gas samples were collected from the peat profile (5 – 65cm) at two different drained peatland forests, Lettosuo and Paroninkorpi, from control plots and partial harvested plots during 2019 and 2020. Samples were also collected from the moss layer. In addition, WTL, temperature of peat and O2 concentrations were measured. Concentrations and isotope values were analysed the laboratory with gas chromatography and isotope analyser (Picarro G2201-i). Water table level and temperature were generally higher in partial harvested areas than in control. Highest concentrations of both CO2 and CH4 were found in the deeper layers of the soil. Partial harvest had higher CO2 and CH4 concentrations in the deep layers (50 – 65cm) than control. The differences between partial harvest and control areas could be explained with the higher WTL in partial harvest. The measured isotopic values of CO2 indicated that most of the CO2 in the soil was derived from atmosphere or heterotrophic respiration and only <<20 % of CO2 was derived from CH4 oxidation. Even though both in control and in partial harvest the CH4 concentrations in the deep soil layers were high, the oxidation processes decrease the concentrations under the atmospheric CH4 concentration maintaining the CH4 sinks in both treatments. In partial harvest the CH4 sink is not in risk due to oxidation even though the WTL is higher. This should be verified with gas flux measurements.
  • Järvinen, Riikka (2022)
    Urban greenspaces are valuable resources for humans and are an integral part of the urban landscape. They are also popular sites for various social and cultural activities, such as dog walking. Dog ownership rates are increasing globally at a rapid rate, hence increasing the dog populations within urban cities. The increasing number of dogs could potentially have negative consequences to the quality of urban parks. Furthermore, there is a lack of research on the impacts of dogs on urban environments. The aim of this study is to gain a better understanding of the impacts of dogs on path-side soils in urban greenspaces. Soil samples were collected from both Helsinki and Lahti. The impact of dog urine was studied by comparing path-side soil samples between areas with high dog activity (i.e., parks) and similar areas with low to no dog activity (i.e., cemeteries). Soil samples were collected three times during the growing season in 2021 at three different treatments: close by 1) an evergreen tree, 2) a lamppost, and 3) a lawn area. The samples were analyzed for soil pH, electrical conductivity, organic matter, soil moisture, NO3--N, and NH4+-N. Net N mineralization and net nitrification rates were also calculated. The results indicated that dog urine is a significant contributor to the input of nitrogen in urban parks. Soil NO3-N and NH4+-N concentrations were significantly higher in parks than in cemeteries and exhibited clear seasonal trends. Soil pH was generally lower and electrical conductivity higher in parks than in cemeteries. Poles and trees exhibited the greatest concentrations, suggesting that the impact of dog urine is highly localized around path-side objects. None of the treatments in cemeteries showed little to no changes throughout the growing season. Lastly, the net nitrification rates were significantly higher in parks during spring and summer. In contrast, net mineralization rates were generally higher in cemeteries than parks. These results confirm that urban planners need to take into consideration the impact of dogs to mitigate any potential negative consequences to the quality of urban parks.
  • Lukkaroinen, Teresa (2022)
    In recent years, the science community has increasingly emphasized the influence of behavior, lifestyles, and culture on greenhouse gas emissions. Finland’s emissions per capita (~10 tCO2/yr.) are amongst the highest in the world, and it has been calculated that to comply with the Paris Agreement and to limit global warming to well below 2 °C, Finnish households should reduce their carbon footprint by 70 % by 2030. This requires drastic lifestyle changes, especially regarding mobility, housing, and nutrition. However, knowing this is not enough to change behaviors. Human behavior is influenced by several different internal and external factors such as knowledge, values, and social structures. This master’s thesis is a case study conducted in the Environmental Change and Global Sustainability (ECGS) master’s program at the University of Helsinki with the aim to enrich theories about pro-environmental behavior by providing insights on the future aspirations of sustainability science students, who have both extensive knowledge and experience in the field of sustainability. The data for this study was collected through an anonymous, online questionnaire with four open-ended questions. In total, 61 out of 274 ECGS students answered the questionnaire, after which qualitative content analysis with both inductive and deductive elements was applied to analyze the results. The results confirm that ECGS students are indeed well aware of the most impactful lifestyle changes for reducing personal carbon footprint. Despite their extensive knowledge on sustainability, the students’ future aspirations still come quite close to the dominant cultural vision of a good life in Finland. The implications of these findings once again confirm the importance of facilitating sustainable ways of living through changes in societal structures, discourses, and norms.
  • Berglund, Nora (2022)
    In Finland and in many other European countries, indoor housing of dairy cattle has been increasing at the expense of grazing. According to Finnish legislation, only dairy cows housed in tie-stalls are obligated to graze for 60 days per year between May and September. Pressure to intensify production leads to increase in herd sizes, regional concentration, lack of suitable pastureland near large barns, and automation of milking. Conversely, grazing is regarded as important for animal welfare, maintenance of biodiversity and cultural landscapes. Farmer perceptions towards grazing have not been studied in Finland comprehensively, which need to be understood better in order to provide adequate support for sustainable management of grazing. The research aims at gaining understanding of the external and internal factors driv- ing the farm-level decision making related to grazing regimes. Concept of good farming ideal is used to examine farmers’ decision-making. The data was collected from 26 cattle farms with a gradient of grazing from zero to maximum. Firstly, an online questionnaire was sent out to farmers and secondly, semi-structured inter- views were conducted with 7 dairy producers, to further explore farmer views about grazing, biodiversity, and animal welfare. The results show farmers who practice grazing to perceive it more positively than the farmers who do not graze. Some of the farmers who grazed seemed to consider it almost as an intrinsic value, whereas farmers with no grazing saw it as an inef- ficient production method, which they were afraid would become an obligation. The most im- portant internal factors driving decision-making about grazing based on the questionnaire and interviews, were animal welfare, decreased workload because of grazing, infrastructure of the farm, economic aspects, and benefits of grazing to biodiversity and landscape values. Exter- nal factors found to affect the decision of grazing were incentives, regulations, and consumer expectations. Animal welfare was found to be a basis for production for many and the most important feature valued for good farming, to which grazing was seen to contribute. The re- sults imply subsidies regarding grazing should be higher for grazing to be considered profita- ble and more enjoyable by farmers.
  • Mäkinen, Theresa (2022)
    The topic of forest fires has gathered a lot of media attention in recent years as it relates closely to climate change and other sustainability issues. The media has an important role in communicating these issues as it affects, how the public percieves them, how different sustainability problems are defined and what kind of solutions are seen plausible. I became interested in how the media represents the issue of forest fires. My aim in this thesis is to find out, how the Colombian news media has framed the Amazon rainforest fires. As my material I used the news articles from the Colombian news media El Tiempo. I definined my timeframe from July 2019 to september 2019 because at that time the news subject was of high interest. After the initial search I went through the articles and left out any irrelevant ones. I was left with 24 news articles. As an analytic tool I utilized qualitative frame analysis guided by Robert Entman´s definition of frames and used ATLAS.ti to make an initial thematic coding. After that I mapped out all the actors that were cited in the news articles and divided them into groups. Using these actor groups, I searched for the frames. There were eight actor groups, politicians and political organizations being the most prominent one. Looking at how these actors talked about the forest fires, two main frames came out: populist and scientific. The populist frame concentrated mainly on Jair Bolsonaro. In this frame there was a lot of nationalist and economic arguments and responsability was directed away from him. There seemed to be a lot of enemies also. The second frame concentrated in deforestation, climate change and the forest fires being a global issue. In this frame international actors used economic and political pressure in order to affect Bolsonaro´s policy solutions. The research showed, how difficult it can be to solve shared global problem and made visible a historical political division between authoritarianism and democracy. An other important notion is the lack of marginalized groups in the news media.
  • Happonen, Jenni (2022)
    During times of complex sustainability crisis, there is an urgent need for policy measures that steer consumer-citizens towards environmental and climate friendly lifestyles, especially in rich high-consuming countries such as Finland. (Carbon)footprint calculators which have gained popularity in recent years, are considered as one potential policy measure. This explorative study aims at shedding light on what could be the role of footprinting tools in encouraging individuals towards sustainable lifestyles. The literature review delves into the previous research about the use and impacts of the footprinting tools. Empirically, I study the self-understanding and interpretations that users have about one specific consumption related carbon footprinting tool. The concept of carbon capability works as an analytical framework of the study. The concept refers holistically to the attributes and abilities of thought and action that a citizen should have in order to mitigate climate change in a meaningful way, both as an individual and as a member of society. The study asks what kind of speech related to carbon capability comes to the fore during the use of the carbon footprinting tool and what this reveals about the carbon capability of the users and the steering impact of the tool and its’ role as a carbon capability promotor. To answer these questions, I interviewed seven users of the tool “Sustainable Lifestyle Commitment” who live in Helsinki. As an analysis method, I apply theory-guided qualitative content analysis and adaptive research approach. The results highlight the diversity of interpretations given to the tool, making it difficult to demonstrate that the tool produces some certain impacts. Carbon capability approach shows that there is a need for policy measures encouraging more towards collective modes of action and societal level engagement towards sustainable living, in addition to (or in the context of) individual consumption related footprinting tools. Fairness should be an integrated part in efforts made to increase carbon capability of consumer-citizens.