Kevo Subarctic Research Institute


Open-air Platform

Parent institution: University of Turku
Active since 1958
Active through year-round

Co-located with

  • LifeWatch
  • LTER

Fields of study

  • Anthropology, Sociology, Archaeology
  • Climatology, Climate Change
  • Environmental sciences, Pollution
  • Geodesy
  • Geology, Sedimentology
  • Geophysics
  • Geocryology, Geomorphology
  • Soil science
  • Hydrology
  • Terrestrial biology, Ecology
  • Paleolimnology
  • Paleoecology
  • Limnology
  • Mapping, GIS

Contact Information

Suominen, Otso

The station has been operational since 1958. Its situated 100 km from the coast of the Arctic Ocean and about 60 km north of the continuous coniferous forest line and close to both the local pine tree line as well as the birch tree line at the forest-tundra ecotone. The station has the capacity to accommodate about 50 guests. It is open year-round and provides laboratories, a workshop, a lecture hall, and accommodation buildings.

In addition to the host university’s operations Finnish Meteorological Institute, Seismological Institute, Geodetic Institute, Environmental Institute and Natural Resources Institute have got their own monitoring and instrumentation at the station. Kevo is/has been part of SCANNET, LAPBIAT and INTERACT EU FP-financed infrastructure programs and it is a part of the FinLTSER network. Kevo Station has got a long tradition in manipulative experiments addressing cause-effect relationships of anthropogenic environmental changes. It is known for the research on plant herbivore interactions and research on palsa mires. There are long-term manipulative field experiments studying the effects of aerial pollutants and reindeer grazing. The station has got arboreta with different provenances of arctic tree line species. There is monitoring data available on population dynamics of moths, rodents, birds, plant phenology, pollen deposits, hydrological and meteorological data.

The Location

Country: Finland

Latitude: 69.7570277777778

Longitude: 27.0254722222222

Nearest town: Utsjoki

Distance from neaerst town: 20 km

Relevant Research Questions

Long-term changes in subarctic ecosystems, plant-herbivore interactions, climate change, air pollution, treeline dynamics, palsa mire dynamics, fluvial research, biodiversity.


There is a long history of research, mapping and monitoring by several institutions (i.e. lot of background data). Long term replicated manipulative experiments on reindeer grazing (since 1968) and aerial pollution (acid rain and heavy metals; since 1991). Easy access to several habitat types such as pine forest, mountain birch forest, treeless tundra, mires and bogs, rivers, streams, lakes and ponds. There is staff to assist with construction and maintenance of experimental systems, measurements, and sampling.


Situated in far north, which makes travelling to the station time consuming and costly. There are basic laboratory facilities but not sophisticated analytical devices.

Experimental Capabilities

Experimental Facilities

Mini-greenhouses (1 m3) with individually computer controlled temperature. Replicated 1 m2 warming plus herbicide treatment plots.

Experiments duration: Weeks, Months, Years, Decades;

Experimental Aerea

Total area: 10000 m²

Grazer enclosures vary from 0.04 to 0.3 hectares each. Air pollution experiment consists of 20 plots of 45 m2 Treeline arboretums about 10 hectares

Available area: 100000 m²

Experimental Unit Size

unit size: 20 m²

The above questions about area available or experimental unit vary hugely depending on the type of experiment 1 - 10 000 m2


Replicates number: 12

5-12: the number of replicates varies depending on the experiment

Cross-Ecosystem Manipulation

Forest-tundra ecotone, forest-wetland boundary

Manipulation Techniques

Simulated acid rain and/or heavy metal irrigation with replicated factorial design since 1991 (this includes increased vs. ambient precipitation experiment as well). Series of long term enclosures to study the impacts of reindeer (and moose) grazing (since 1968, 1970, 2011). Snow depth manipulation will be combined with a grazing experiment. Common garden experiments with trees. Replicated 1 m2 warming plus herbicide treatment plots.

Temporary storage

  • Dark room
  • Drying oven
  • Freeze drier
  • Freezer
  • Liquid N
  • Refrigerator
  • Other

Available Instruments

  • Basic field sample instruments
  • Balances
  • Microscopes
  • Termometers (+loggers)
  • pH-meter
  • Humidity meter

Electricity available on site.

Distance from Laboratory facilities


Years measured: 57


Mean Temperature: -1.6 °C

February Mean Temperature: -13.7 °C

July Mean Temperature: 12.9 °C


Mean Annual Speed: 2.8 m/s

Max. Annual Speed: m/s

Dominant Direction: west


Precipitation type: Both;

Total annual precipitation: 415 mm

Mean snow cover duration: days

Soil Types

State Variables

Continuously Measured

  • (aquatic) Water temperature
  • Air humidity
  • Air temperature
  • Atmospheric pressure
  • Canopy temperature
  • Other
  • Snow thickness; River/lake water level ; Wind speed ; Seismic activity ; Radioactivity ; Solar radiation (total) ; Aurora borealis

Spot Measured

  • Other
  • Phenology
  • Population densities
  • Species richness
  • Ice thickness

Environmental Pressures

Variable Ecosystem Status
Warming Forest Active
Precip Forest Active
Airpoll Forest Active
Management - grazing (pressure or animal species) Forest Active
Management - grazing (pressure or animal species) Shrubland Active

On site Staff and Accomodation

Peak season staff

Up to 11 people

Off season staff

No on-site staff.

Visiting personnel

Up to 70 visitors

Bedrooms available

Up to 70 beds

Showers on site

Showers on site

Laundry on site

Laundry on site