Forests are among the most fascinating ecosystems in the world. The structure and function of these ecosystems are based on the interaction of thousands of animal, plant, and fungal species. Forest ecology explores these interactions. Studies within the forest ecology specialisation can provide a student with a strong knowledge of population and community ecology, the ecological patterns and dynamics of forest ecosystems and issues relating to forest biodiversity and its conservation.
Forest biodiversity, with its implication of a multitude of forest organisms and habitats, can be the source of future forest products and innovations. Despite this potential, little is presently known or documented of these resources on the global scale. And, unfortunately, these ecosystems and many of their species are threatened in several parts of the world. Saving forest biodiversity and the resources it provides is currently a global challenge. In Finland, dozens of forest habitat types and hundreds of species are currently threatened.
Forest ecology research could provide the scientific knowledge to support and justify current aims to maintain biodiversity in managed forests and conservation areas. Forest ecology also includes issues pertaining to species that can occasionally have high population densities that can cause ecological disturbances. Understanding the functioning of forest ecosystem provides the basis of understanding the role of these species to forest ecosystems.
Students graduating after specialising in forest ecology have been prepared to become professionals in the environmental management of forests. They have the skills that make them competitive for domestic and international work in many areas, including forest planning, administration, and research. Jobs and tasks related to the planning, management, and administration of forest conservation areas and national parks have typically been fulfilled by forest ecology graduates.
Matti Koivula, senior researcher, forest ecology
Jari Kouki, professor, forest ecology
Tarja Lehto, senior researcher, forest soil science
Eeva-Stiina Tuittila, professor, forest soil science and peatland ecology