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Towards Ecologically Sustainable Urban Environment – an afternoon symposium

23.4.2012 klo 12:15 - 16:30

Place: Fellmannia Kirkkokatu 27, 4th floor
On Monday 23rd of April, the Fulbright Specialist, professor Richard Pouyat (US Forest Service) and professor Tom Whitlow (Cornell University, USA), along with local urban environmental specialists will hold an academic discussion seminar in Lahti.

The aim of the symposium is to foster the exchange of current knowledge on essential ecosystem services provided by urban green spaces, such as their capability to retain, filter and purify various pollutants. In essence, to increase the resilience of urban ecosystems, research-based knowledge is needed to manage their functioning and biogeochemical cycles. This symposium also aims to provide concrete take-home messages on how to manage important ecosystem services in urban areas.

Students can get 1 cr by attending the symposium and preparing a learning diary. See instructions at below.


12.00 Opening words / Prof Heikki Setälä, University of Helsinki (=UH)
12.10 Impacts of urbanization on biogeochemical cycles and ecosystem services / Prof Richard Pouyat, United States Forest Service, Research & Development, USA
12.50 The impacts of nitrogen deposition on urban soil and vegetation / Dr Sirkku Manninen, UH
13.10 Stormwater loading in the city of Lahti / PhD student Marjo Valtanen, UH
13.30 Coffee break13.50 Clearing the air: re-thinking vegetation and urban air quality / Prof Tom Whitlow, Cornell University, USA
14.30 Urban vegetation as mitigating air pollution – studies in Lahti and Helsinki / Dr Vesa Yli-Pelkonen, UH
14.50 Ecophysiology of urban trees / PhD student Anu Riikonen, UH
15.10 Green roofs as part of urban green infrastructure / Doc Susanna Lehvävirta, UH
15.30 Forest needs in urban environments / prof Jari Niemelä, UH, with invited comments by Dos Johan Kotze, PhD student Kaisa Hauru, Dr Leena Hamberg and other experts
16.30 End of the symposium
Changes possible

Huom! Seminaarin pääkieli on englanti, mutta kysymyksiä ja kommentteja voi esittää myös suomeksi.

For coffee order please register:
Richard Pouyat              Tom Whitlow

Instructions for the assignment    

Both degree and non-degree students can get get 1 credit of the afternoon symposium by preparing  a max four (4) pages long learning diary of the presentations and  literature given in the symposium (also downloadable at You may write the diary either in English or in Finnish. The four page learning diary should be based on three presentations, with at least one of these from our international experts (Pouyat and/or Whitlow).

Send your text in one file (doc, rtf or pdf file) to kirsi.vakkilainen(at) as an email attachment by Monday 14 May 2012. Be sure to have your name (and student number / date of birth) in the file. Grading of the learning diary: 0-5 based on the understanding of the studied subjects and the ability to apply the material (5 = excellent, 4 = very good, 3 = good, 2 = very satisfactory, 1 = satisfactory and 0 = failed).

How to prepare a learning diary?

When writing a learning diary a student actively pursues to understand the subject and evaluates his/her own learning, which supports collecting information and forming a structured overview of the subject. A personal view helps in understanding and remembering because the material is analysed more deeply than just read.

Importantly, use full sentences (no bullet points). Typical contents of a learning diary: 1. what was the essential contents of the topic area, 2. what did I learn (something new, surprising, interesting?), 3. what was (still is?) unclear or contradictory and 4. to what extent the studied issues are useful and in what context they could be applied?

More information: University lecturer Kirsi Vakkilainen kirsi.vakkilainen at or Project manager Eira Rosberg eira.rosberg at

Programme in pdf





12:15 - 16:30