LUKE Northern and Arctic Agrosystem monitoring sites


Open-air Platform

Parent institution: Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)
Active since 2019
Active through Since establishment contionuously

Fields of study

  • Environmental sciences, Pollution
  • Soil science
  • Microbiology
  • Hydrology

Contact Information

Joki-Tokola, Erkki

The research platform consists of 20 hectares area of organic soils which is divided into six study plots. To each study plot is installed devices which collect subsurface drainage waters year-round and from one study plot also surface waters to the pumping station for sampling. Collected water samples are later analyzed for the desirable parameters of water. GHG emissions are measured also trough-out the year and separately from each study plot using chamber techniques and eddy covariance measurement. Research field is farmed using alternative crops and cultivation techniques. Obtained results give information from practicable ways to reduce environmental load from cultivated organic soils. Results are urgently needed because cultivated organic soils are seen one of the highest sources of GHG emissions. Since organic soils have a relatively low nutrient binding capacity, they may have an increased nutrient leaching risk compared to mineral soils.

The role of organic soils in Finnish agriculture is vital. Their utilization cannot be rejected in large extent. The more rational way is to find out practices and solutions for their sustainable utilization. The role of research is crucial. The existing research information is limited especially from soils which have a relatively shallow organic surface layer (< 0.8 m). Ongoing research started in 2019.

The Location

Country: Finland

Latitude: 64.68386111

Longitude: 25.10467

Nearest town: Raahe and Oulu

Distance from neaerst town: Ruukki 5, Raahe 30, Oulu 60 km

Relevant Research Questions

In 2019 finalized research platform at Siikajoki is designed for monitoring of GHG emissions and nutrient flow in subsurface drainage waters and in surface runoff waters when organic soils are farmed using alternative crop rotations and cultivation techniques. These soils are characterized by organic horizons that are most often less than one meter thick and a medium-textured subsoil that can contain sulfidic materials (AS). The need of research data arises from the fact that the existing information of the environmental load of farmed peatlands with shallow peat surface layer is limited. Also the role of acid soils is in this context unclear.


The research platform for organic soils can be modelled operate as a practical farm. It speeds up the transfer of research information not only to farmers but also to authorities responsible for giving future outlines for utilization of organic soils in agriculture. This operation model is also a relatively cost-effective, since research field is cultivated for needs of several individual projects, which makes possible to share maintenance costs between field experiments. Since projects can be planned to include also cattle feeding trials it gives an opportunity for studies which may cover the entire production chain. The utilization of the platform was designed from the beginning to be shared between several organizations. As a relatively unique research platform it has interested universities and R&D organizations and it is already now used by several organizations.


The main limitation is lack of experts. It is partly due to the nature of available research funding, which is given for a relatively short periods of time and does not ensure the continuation of jobs. The shortage of expert has in some extent been solved with starting a close co-operation with other research organizations. However, there is undeniably need for the following jobs: Researcher, who could co-ordinate co-operation in both ongoing research projects and in new projects when funding is applied. There is a need also for research technology orientated expert and for person in maintenance, data collection and handling.

Experimental Capabilities

Experimental Facilities

Collection of drainage water (subsurface drainage water and surface runoff) automatic water sampling proportionally to the discharge volume, discharge volume is viewed on-line in the Internet, water analyses, GHG emissions (CO2, CH4, NO2) with chamber and eddy covariance measurements, nutrient inputs and outputs in crop production, complete weather data, cattle feeding trials, option for studies in greenhouse and utilisation of growth chambers.

Experiments duration: Weeks, Months, Years, Decades;

Experimental Aerea

Total area: 700000 m²

Total area 70 ha, platform for organic soils 20 ha, area for other field experiments 50 ha

Available area: 0 m²

Varies annually, in case of limited field area we have rented extra field from the neighboring farmers.

Experimental Unit Size

unit size: 0 m²

It varies from 20 to 2000 m2. Plot size in small-scale field trials are typically 20 m2, plot size in organic soils field is 20000 m2


Replicates number: 4

at least 4

Temporary storage

  • Drying oven
  • Liquid N
  • Refrigerator
  • Dark room
  • Freezer

Available Instruments

  • Basic field sample instruments
  • Weather station: temp, prec, humidity, soil temp, wind speed
  • Automatic drainage water collection and automatic water sampling.
  • Equipments needed in measuring of GHG emissions
  • Devices for monitoring ground water level
  • Soil moisture sensors
  • Soil frost monitoring

Electricity available on site.

Distance from Laboratory facilities


Years measured: Mean values years 1981-2010


Mean Temperature: 2.6 °C

February Mean Temperature: -9 °C

July Mean Temperature: 15.9 °C


Mean Annual Speed: 3 m/s

Max. Annual Speed: m/s

Dominant Direction: 135 deg


Precipitation type: Both;

Total annual precipitation: 540 mm

Mean snow cover duration: days

Soil Types

State Variables

Continuously Measured

  • Air temperature
  • Air humidity
  • Atmospheric pressure
  • Canopy temperature
  • Fluorescence
  • Incident shortwave radiation
  • Soil temperature
  • Soil water content
  • Species richness

Spot Measured

Environmental Pressures

Variable Ecosystem Status
CO2 Agrosystem Active
Warming Agrosystem Active
Precip Agrosystem Active
Hydro Agrosystem Active
UV Agrosystem Active
Soileutroph Agrosystem Active
Watereutroph Agrosystem Active
Airpoll Agrosystem Active
Soilerosion Agrosystem Active
Management - Nutrients (levels or nutrient type) Agrosystem Active
Management - tilling or other physical manipulation Agrosystem Active
Management - pesticides (or other non-nutrient chemicals) Agrosystem Active
Management - conventional vs. organic or other eco-friendly practice Agrosystem Active
Management - rotation practice Agrosystem Active
Management - species and/or ecotype combinations Agrosystem Active
Management - traditional (or native) vs. new (or non-native) species Agrosystem Active
Pests Agrosystem Active
Biodiversity Agrosystem Active

On site Staff and Accomodation

Peak season staff

Up to 15 people

Off season staff

Up to 12 people

Visiting personnel

No visitors allowed.

No beds on site

Showers on site

Showers on site

Laundry on site

Laundry on site