STN MULTA research consortium

Project: stn MULTA: Multi-benefit solutions to climate-smart agriculture

Duration: 2019–2025

Person in charge: Prof. Jari Liski, Finnish Meteorological Institute

Consortium: Finnish Meteorological Institute, BSAG, University of Helsinki (INAR – Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research and the departments of microbiology, economy and agriculture), Natural Resources Institute Finland LUKE, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, and University of Zurich.

Consortium PI: Prof. Jari Liski, FMI & Deputy PI: Prof. Kristiina Regina, Natural Resources Institute LUKE, Research Coordinators: Layla Höckerstedt (, FMI, and Åsa Stam (, FMI.

Funder: Strategic Research Council at the Academy of Finland

Short description:

Food system is facing a need for a systemic change. It should harness its significant potential to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions while producing healthy food sustainably to a growing population under changing environmental conditions. An unused asset of agriculture, one of the most effective natural climate solutions, is the capability of regenerating soil to sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide. Regenerative agriculture supports also other sustainability goals, such as soil health and productivity, biodiversity, water quality, resilience and food quality.

stn MULTA aims at i) designing climate-smart agricultural solutions that are widely beneficial to food systems, ii) testing their application in practical farm scale, iii) developing a verification system for the carbon sequestration and other climate impacts to be used in policy and markets and iv) developing economic measures and policies to promote the implementation of these solutions in Finland and abroad. True collaboration between different scientific disciplines and interaction specialists has been designed to reach this aim.

stn MULTA 1) studies processes of carbon sequestration and climate impacts focusing on knowledge gaps, 2) studies how these processes can be enhanced using farming practices and how these climate-smart practices can be implemented on farms , 3) develops a methodology for verifying carbon sequestration and the climate impacts for the purposes of climate and other policies and markets, and 4) studies policies and economics that support climate-smart farming and its role in the food system, climate policy and society in general.

stn MULTA utilizes co-design and interaction with committed stakeholders to ensure practicality and high societal impact of the project’s solutions. The project designs and tests the agricultural practices on its network of 108 Carbon Action farms. It works together with major food companies all interested in improving the climate footprint of their production. It discusses the results and co-designs their impact on policies of climate, environment and agriculture with politicians and civil servants in Finland and the EU. National greenhouse gas inventories are also an impact channel as many European countries use our models in their inventories already. stn MULTA contacts media proactively to disseminate the results. The project’s work is a pilot example of implementing climate-smart agriculture in food systems, and has export potential to other countries.

Work packages (WP):

  • WP1 ’’Processes in the soil’’, Doc. Jussi Heinonsalo, Department of microbiology, University of Helsinki
  • WP2 ‘’Agricultural practices’’, Dr. Risto Uusitalo, Natural Resources Institute LUKE
  • WP3 ’’Verification’’: Doc. Liisa Kulmala, FMI
  • WP4 ‘’Steering’’: Prof. Markku Ollikainen, Department of Economics and Management, University of Helsinki
  • WP5 ‘’Interaction’’: Doc. Laura Höijer, BSAG
  • WP6 ‘’Coordination’’: Prof. Jari Liski, FMI

Other sites of research and their PIs:

Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, Dr. Tuomas Mattila

INAR – Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research, Associate Prof. Annalea Lohila

University of Zürich, Prof. Anna-Liisa Laine

Press release of the project and a comprehensive list of stakeholders and researchers can be found here.

Policy Briefs

STN MULTA POLICY BRIEF 1: Farming methods need to be updated in order to manage the carbon stock in agricultural soil – achieving 4p1000 in the Finnish context

Field Observatory

Carbon sequestration on farmland and the factors that affect it, can now be monitored in real time on the new Field Observatory website. Field observatory can be used to present current levels as well as demonstrate the future potential of soil carbon sequestration.

E-college for regenerative farming

The e-college for regenerative farming provides farmers with up-to-date and science-based information on practices that improve soil, yields and the ecological status. The free online course has been conducted together with farmers, researchers and actors in the Finnish food chain. The goal is for the course to be attended by 5,000 farmers in his year, more than 10 percent of Finnish farmers.

stn MULTA kick-off meeting 16.8.2019