UPM donates EUR 400,000 for top research on the overall climate impact of forests

UPM donates EUR 400 000 to the University of Helsinki to study the overall climate impact of commercial forests. The research, called Carbon Sinks+, aims to understand how commercial forests affect to climate change in ways other than as carbon sinks and stores. For example, forests also have an impact on the formation of aerosol particles and clouds, rainfall and the reflection of sunlight back into space, all of which affect to climate change.

“It is not yet known which forest or ecosystem has the greatest overall cooling effect on the atmosphere and by which mechanisms. It is known that forests act as carbon sinks, but the SMEAR (station for measuring Earth surface-atmosphere relations) study aims to find out what else commercial forests do for the climate”, explains Markku Kulmala, Professor of Aerosol and Environmental Physics at the University of Helsinki, who is leading the study.

The study will measure more than a thousand different variables, and the main measurement site will be the Hyytiälä forest station at the University of Helsinki, where measurements have been taken for decades.

“Only when we understand all these mechanisms and effects can we understand the overall impact of forests on climate change”, Kulmala concludes.

UPM wants to make a significant donation to support top research at the international level in order to gain knowledge to support its own operations.

“We are committed to managing our forests in a climate-positive way and caring for biodiversity. We want to promote cutting-edge research on the impact of forests on climate change, as our business is based on forests and their wellbeing. Commercial forests play a key role in combating climate change, and we want to contribute to understanding these impacts and provide renewable alternatives to fossil raw materials”, says Sami Oksa, Director, Stakeholder Relations at UPM Forest and Timber.

The donation is part of UPM’s Biofore Share and Care programme, which focuses on projects that are relevant to the company’s strategy and responsibility targets. Its focus areas are Reading & learning, Engaging with communities and Beyond fossils initiatives.