Natural Resources Institute Finland

Suonenjoki Unit


Enclosed Ecosystem Platform

Parent institution: Natural Resources Institute Finland
Active since 1968
Active through April-October

Fields of study

  • Environmental sciences, Pollution
  • Soil science
  • Terrestrial biology, Ecology
  • Other

Contact Information

Riikonen, Johanna


Our facility consists of a research nursery for forest tree species, a three-department glass house, six growth chambers, open compounds, well-equipped seed and molecular biology laboratories and rodent pest research facility. The research nursery produces a total of 1 million tree seedlings for research and commercial purposes yearly. The nursery was founded in 1968 and it is renovated (last renovations 2014), containing a greenhouse equipped with diverse sensors and a computer programming system, a modern sowing line and a short-day treatment facility.

The traditional greenhouses, open compounds for storing the seedlings and field areas where the field performance of the seedlings can be tested enable versatile research of whole cultivation chain of different plant species in a realistic environment. The glasshouse consists of three individually controlled (air temperature and humidity, CO2 concentration) departments, each containing six greenhouse tables that are individually controlled for light intensity and duration and for table irrigation and fertilization. The tables can be isolated for generating diverse light conditions within a department.

The new six growth chambers can be controlled for temperature and air humidity. The light intensity and wavelength combinations can be continuously adjusted by using new LED technique. This enables state-of-the-art research in the field of photobiology. Our four air-cooled testing chambers enable accurate studies on plant responses to low air temperatures.


The Location

Country: Finland

Latitude: 62.63975

Longitude: 27.05464

Nearest town: Suonenjoki

Distance from neaerst town: 5 km

Relevant Research Questions

The facility is primarily a platform for developing efficient, cost-efficient and environmentally safe seedling production and forest regeneration methods aimed to ensure rapid carbon sequestration in silviculture in the changing climate.


The nursery facility is the only research nursery in the Nordic countries studying forest tree seedlings and providing a unique possibility to study the whole cultivation chain of different plant species from sowing to testing the field performance of the plants. The researchers at the Suonenjoki Unit have leading expertise on multiple aspects of the forest cultivation chain, including seed, soil, pathology, plant physiology and molecular biology sciences. The staff has a long-term expertise in conducting experiments related to the discipline.

The growth chambers, glass house, field areas, well-equipped seed and molecular biology laboratories and the testing chambers for low temperatures included in the nursery facility enable multilevel research from large scale field and greenhouse studies to molecular-level experiments. The opportunity to individually adjust the wavelength ranges and light intensity in the growth chambers opens new possibilities to develop new methods for production of high quality seedlings.


Uncertain funding prospects due to changes in Finnish government research funding as well as possible organizational changes causes limitations.

Experimental Capabilities

Experimental Facilities

Tree seed laboratory (incl. radiography), laboratory for studying fungal pests, rodent pest research facilities

Experiments duration: Weeks, Months, Years;

Experimental Aerea

Total area: 8580 m²

Greenhouses 4000 m2, glasshouse 65 m2, growth chambers 6*1-2 m2, open compounds 4500 m2, climate chambers for low temperatures 4*1 m2.

Available area: 1030 m²

Greenhouses 500 m2, glasshouse 30 m2, open compounds 500 m2. The use of the growth chambers and climate chambers for low temperatures needs case-specific negotiations.

Experimental Unit Size

unit size: 3 m²

Growth chambers: area 1 or 2 m2, height 80 or 40 cm, depending on the number of the shelves used. Glasshouse departments: 3.6 m2 per table.


Replicates number: 6

Temporary storage

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

Available Instruments

  • Gas exchange Licor-6400 * 2
  • Chlorophyll fluorescence * 2
  • Chlorophyll content
  • PAR
  • Electrical conductivity
  • Spectroradiometer
  • red:far-red ratio
  • O2/CO2 concentration
  • Dualex (chl, flavonol, anthocyanin, N balance indexes)
  • UVC-meter

Electricity available on site.

Distance from Laboratory facilities


Years measured: 8


Mean Temperature: 4.2 °C

February Mean Temperature: -4.8 °C

July Mean Temperature: 17.3 °C


Mean Annual Speed: 1.9 m/s

Max. Annual Speed: m/s

Dominant Direction: SW


Precipitation type: Rain, Snow;

Total annual precipitation: mm

Mean snow cover duration: 0 days

State Variables

Continuously Measured

  • Air humidity
  • Air temperature
  • Atmospheric pressure
  • Incident PAR
  • Soil water content
  • Soil temperature

Spot Measured

  • (aquatic) Conductivity
  • (aquatic) pH
  • (aquatic) Water temperature
  • Canopy temperature
  • Fluorescence
  • Incident shortwave radiation
  • Phenology

Environmental Pressures

Variable Ecosystem Status
CO2 Forest Active
Warming Forest Active
Precip Forest Planned
Hydro Forest Planned
UV Forest Active
Management - Nutrients (levels or nutrient type) Forest Active
Management - tilling or other physical manipulation Forest Active
Management - pesticides (or other non-nutrient chemicals) Forest Active
Management - conventional vs. organic or other eco-friendly practice Forest Active
Management - traditional (or native) vs. new (or non-native) species Forest Active
Pests Forest Active
CO2 Agrosystem Active
Warming Agrosystem Active
Precip Agrosystem Planned
Hydro Agrosystem Planned
UV Agrosystem Active
Management - Nutrients (levels or nutrient type) Agrosystem Planned
Management - pesticides (or other non-nutrient chemicals) Agrosystem Planned
Management - conventional vs. organic or other eco-friendly practice Agrosystem Active
Management - traditional (or native) vs. new (or non-native) species Agrosystem Active
Pests Agrosystem Active

On site Staff and Accomodation

Peak season staff

Up to 17 people

Off season staff

Up to 17 people

Visiting personnel

No visitors allowed.

Bedrooms available

Up to 6 beds

Showers on site

Showers on site

Laundry on site

Laundry on site