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At an approximately one hour drive from Tampere, Finland, the Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station has undertaken forest-related research from 1910. Since 1995, the SMEAR II station started continuous measurements of ecosystem atmosphere interactions. Nowadays, the station monitors forest ecophysiology and productivity, soil and water balance, meteorology, solar and terrestrial radiation, fluxes, ambient concentrations, atmospheric aerosols, and deposition.

Artistic Practices at the Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station

Besides forest monitoring and measuring, the Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station has been connected with artistic practices, design, and cross-disciplinary research. The Station hosts an Artists In Residence Program, and different Art Installations and Projects.

We recently spoke with Dr. Andrea Botero, design researcher at the School of Arts, Design, and Architecture at Aalto University, Finland. Together with Markéta Dolejšová (Aalto), Jaz Hee-jeong Choi (RMIT-AU), and Cristina Ampatzidou (RMIT-EU) they started The Open Forest project:

"Open Forest is an experimental inquiry into various forests and forest data sets. The work consists of a series of performative actions, observations and speculative research instruments. In the project, we walk with various forests, including a highly instrumentalized forest field station in Finland, an urban forest in Australia, a protected forest area in the Czech Republic and forest gardens, or chagras, in Colombia. The work invites participants to reflect on the relationships between various entities and creatures with different connections to forests, such as scientists, citizens, city officials, sensors, environmental data, trees, and the overarching climate crisis. One of our aims is to expand the landscape in which stories about forests can be told, and care about them enacted." (Open Forest - World -Making Through Environmental Data, 2022)

Hear more from Andrea in our radio episode.

SMEAR II sensor overlooking a forest
Image of the Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station. Image source: EU-Interact.org [image]. Retrieved March 28, 2022 from https://eu-interact.org/field-sites/hyytiala-forestry-reseatch-station-smear-ii/

Carbon Tree

This website shows live data from a Scots pine tree at the Hyytiälä Forest Field Station in Finland. The Carbon Tree website shows how this medium-sized pine in Southern Finland exchanges carbon dioxide in real time. This Carbon Tree is part of 'Climate Whirl', which aims to increase public awareness of the interactions between forests and climate.

I learned about this work through design researcher Dr. Andrea Botero, who has undertaken field- and design work at the Hyytiälä Forest Field Station and is based at Aalto University.

Carbon Tree

Image showing data visualisation of carbon exchange in an individual tree. Image source: Carbon Tree [screenshot]. Retrieved January 27, 2022 from http://www.carbontree.fi/

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