About Me

Picture from North-Eastern Finland. Photo © Katja Seppinen

First and foremost, I'm a scientist. Exactly what kind of scientist isn't that important, but if we go down that road, I've been trained as a palaeobiologist and palaeoclimatologist, but nowadays I am working on socio-ecological systems and how human societies are using natural resources. I am drawn towards complex system theories and networks, and I'm interested about the deep roots of the systemic connections between nature, climate, human societies and resource use.

Among other things, I am founding member of BIOSand in the core team of the Scientific Consensus on Maintaining Humanity's Life Support Systems in the 21st Century. I am part of the ETE programme. I also was a Chair of the iCCB (integrative Climate Change Biology) from 2012 to 2019, and was Associate Coordinator for the NOW database between 2009-2020.



I lead the Past Present Sustainability Research Unit (PAES) at the University of Helsinki. PAES focuses on understanding the ecological and climate related interlinkages with human activities in the present day and in the long-term historic past. The research perspective is from natural sciences and is enriched by interdisciplinary Post-docs and collaborations outside the core discipline. We aim for more transdisciplinary research efforts to be able to evaluate potential future pathways for society at large. At the moment PAES is concentrating on three research fronts:

1) How biotic interactions have been changed or modified by growing human influence from local to global scales (timescale: 1000s -100s yrs)
(e.g. how has ecological community structures changed due to human influence, how have interactions and biodiversity changed etc.)

2) Long-term SES analysis of Northern Fennoscandia (timescale: 100s - 10s yrs)
(e.g. How have the local livelihoods, like reindeer herding or forest use changed in tandem with human alteration of habitats, how has infrastructure changed the natural productivity of areas etc.)

3) The historically built path-dependencies affecting the current policies in Finland and the contemporary dynamics of socio-ecological metabolism (timescale: from 2-3 yrs to decades)
(E.g. How the infrastructure / policies / decision-making frameworks are leading to path-dependencies, how path-dependencies are affecting societal transitions and long-term risks during the next 10-50 yrs)

I am also active research affiliate at BIOS, and take part in BIOS activities on a case-by-case basis as time allows.



You can access my publication list by clicking HERE. Below is a representative selection of my recents works. You can also access my publication metrics and scientific activities from the tabs on the left or below.

Toth et al. 2019 Science

Reorganization of surviving mammal communities after the end-Pleistocene megafaunal extinction

Lintulaakso et al. 2019 JBI

Land mammals form eight functionally and climatically distinct faunas in North America but only one in Europe

Eronen et al. 2017 Current Biology

Feeding ecology and morphology make a bamboo specialist vulnerable to climate change

Tallavaara et al. 2017 PNAS

Productivity, biodiversity, and pathogens influence the global hunter-gatherer population density

Barnosky et al. 2017 Science

Merging paleobiology with conservation biology to guide the future of terrestrial ecosystems

Vaden et al. 2019 ERSS

To continue to burn something?Technological, economic and political path dependencies in district heating in Helsinki, Finland

Contact information & CV

You can easiest reach me by email:


You can also take a look at my CV

More information about my scientific activities & metrics: