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LTER and LTSER sites are excellent for studying ecosystem services and climate change

The EU Life+ VACCIA project was based on nine sites of the Finnish LTER network (FinLTSER). The final report of the project is now available in the web.

Climate change is one of mankind’s greatest challenges in the years to come. The important resources and services provided by our natural environment, e.g. diverse ecosystems and sufficient good-quality water, are threatened by global warming. The effects will be seen in agriculture, forestry and fishing, in nature tourism and even in land use in and around our major cities. The vulnerability of ecosystem services provided by Finland’s natural resources, and the possibilities for adaptation by human society, were the subject of investigation in the VACCIA (Vulnerability Assessment of Ecosystem Services for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation – VACCIA) project financed by the European Union Life+ Programme. The VACCIA project was based on nine sites of the Finnish LTER network (FinLTSER). Partners in the extensive three-year (2009–2011) project, coordinated by the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), included the Finnish Meteorological Institute, and the universities of Helsinki, Jyväskylä and Oulu.

Researcher at Oulanka, FinlandThe results of VACCIA show, for example, that:

  • Changes in precipitation, evaporation, runoff and land use in the watersheds affect ecosystem services of water bodies;
  • In agriculture, climate change enables the introduction of new species but brings challenges to agricultural water protection;
  • In forests, the growth of the growing stock accelerates across the whole country;
  • Changes in temperature and stratification of lakes affect the behaviour of fish, the fishing industry and fisheries;
  • A denser urban structure decreases the amount of urban green areas providing local ecosystem services and reduces their quality and that of the urban hydrology
  • Changing climate creates challenges for operational preconditions of nature tourism in northern Finland.


The VACCIA project was presented at the ILTER´s annual meeting in Sapporo, Japan 2011. At the meeting it was also decided to start the work on the ILTER science initiative 'Ecosystem based local-scale impacts and adaptation practises in relation to global change drivers'. It is hoped that VACCIA material now available on the web could give some ideas for such work also in other parts of the LTER network and other regions. Scientific papers based on the results of the VACCIA project are currently being prepared.

For further information about VACCIA, visit, where the VACCIA Final Report and all other VACCIA products can be found.


Prof. Martin Forsius
Leader of Finnish LTER network and the VACCIA project
Finnish Environment Institute SYKE
martin.forsius [at]

Dr. Irina Bergström
Synthesis and disseminaton of the VACCIA final products
Finnish Environment Institute SYKE
irina.bergstrom [at]


Filed under: report, LTER, Finland, research