Susanna Lehvävirta

My research is interdisciplinary and problem-driven. This means that as I am interested in trying to find solutions for nature conservation, the main questions of my research are often inspired by practical problems and gaps in knowledge. To find optimal solutions one usually needs a holistic approach to understand the ecosystem. Furthermore, in order to apply research results in conservation, different fields of science are often needed to understand the human society, i.e. it’s values, decision making, juridical barriers etc.

I am running four research lines:

1) Urban forest research focuses on the recreational, aesthetic and biodiversity aspects of dead wood and on the interplay between forest spatial structure and recreational use.
2) The Fifth Dimension Green roof research program carries out both problem-driven applied and basic ecological research, including e.g. societal and perspectives in the application green roofs in Finland, as well as testing the modern descendants of Island Biogeography Theory via green roofs as patches in the urban matrix.
3) ENSURE Enhancing sustainable urban development through ecosystem services investigates the production of ecosystem services (e.g. air purification, storm-water management) as well societal aspects (health in relation to green space, young people’s favorite places, and the implications of ecosystem services in urban planning.
4) Assisted migration research program explores whether species should be moved along with changing climate and if so, what would be the feasible way of doing it.

I supervise the following PhD students: Kukka Kyrö, Marja Mesimäki, Kaisa Hauru, Juha-Matti Niemi-Kapee, Malgorzata Gabrych, Silviya Bancheva, Maria Hällfors, Elina Vaara.

Research employees: Pasi Kallio (law and green roofs), Marko Ahteensuu (Ethics of assisted migration), Sami Aikio (Invasion risk and assisted migration).

World Design Capital – Helsinki (completed)

>> Published papers in peer reviewed scientific journals from 2007
Recent University post

I worked 2007-2009 as the project manager of opening the Kumpula Botanic Garden  for public and as the organizer of a European Botanic Garden’s Congress, EuroGard V.

I supervise Doctoral and Master’s Theses and give lectures on ecology, aesthetics and recreational psychology focusing on urban nature. I also like to teach methodological-philosophical issues. One of the latest innovations was a course arranged in cooperation between the Botanic Garden and MA program on Environmental Art, University of Art and Design Helsinki for students coming from the University of Arts and different disciplines at the University of Helsinki. As the end product of the course several inspiring pieces were installed for the inauguration of Kumpula in 2009.
Leisure activities

I keep myself active when off duty by dancing, singing, picking berries and mushrooms, doing yoga and meeting friends and spending time with my family.




Tel: +358 (0)9 191 50054
Mobile: +358 (0)50 576 2952

Botanic Garden, Finnish Museum of Natural History
P.O. Box 44, Jyrängöntie 2
FI-00014 University of Helsinki

PL 7 (Unioninkatu 44)



Phone: 0294150054

Mobile: +358505762952