ISTO - Climate Change Adaptation Research Programme

Background and Goals

The objective of this five-year research programme is the introduction of the Finnish National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change. The program developed in 2005 as a cooperation between various ministries, taking into account research needs identified during the development of the strategy, as well as relevant research programmes. The programme began in 2006.

ISTO comprises the following projects:


  • ACCLIM - Climate extremes in present day climate and current projections of climate change
  • EXTREME II - Impacts of natural hazards on infrastructure in a changing climate


  • What can provenance trials tell about the acclimation of trees to a changing climate?
  • Pine reforestation material for the year 2050?
  • Regional scenarios of forest resources in a changing climate - planning for adaptive forest management and risks
  • The effect of climate change on biotic damages in boreal forests
  • Growing of forest stands in a changing climate - development of a general model system and its application to pine stands


  • ILMASOPU - Adaptation of the agricultural sector to climate change


  • Biodiversity and climate change: Efficiency of the network of nature reserves and grazed meadows in maintaining species populations

Extreme weather events, droughts and floods:

  • WaterAdapt - Finland's water resources and climate change - effects and adaptation
  • Land use and technical planning in managing flood risks
  • TOLERATE - Towards levels of required adaptation to cope with extreme weather events
  • EXTREFLOOD II - Minimising flood damages: Flood scenarios, damage assessments and risk maps

Urban planning and built environment:    

  • Adaptation of built environment to flood effects caused by climate change   
  • Climate change considerations in urban planning

International dimension:

  • IMPLIFIN - Implications of international climate change impacts for Finland

Content time


Research area/region

  • Finland

Steps in the process of adaptation to climate change

Step 1: Understand and describe climate change

Approach and results 

see the Climate-Projects:

  • ACCLIM - Climate extremes in present day climate and current projections of climate change;
  • EXTREME II - Impacts of natural hazards on infrastructure in a changing climate;
Parameter (climate signals)
  • River flooding
  • Heat waves
  • Altered rainfall patterns
  • Higher average temperatures
  • Extreme precipitation (incl. hail, snow)
  • Storm
  • Dry periods

Step 2a: Identify and assess risks - climate effects and impact

Approach and results 

Climate effects will be addressed for: Forestry, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Watermanagement (extreme weather events, droughts and floods), urban planning and built environment

Step 3: Develop and compare measures

Measures and/or strategies 

The individual projects consider for example the following adaptation measures:

  • More diverse forest management that considers the different uses of the forest.
  • Ensuring soil fertility and productivity, water resources management, the risk of leaching and nutrient balance, improving the profitability of sustainable farming systems, strategic plant breeding and agricultural policy instruments.
  • An important adaptation measure in land use is the determination of flood risks and spatial planning that also contributes to long-term climate change mitigation. Land use planning should aim at achieving a good habitat, which can be measured by various factors.
  • Early detection of invasive species, monitoring and risk assessment of species that could represent a threat to the local ecosystem.
  • Ensuring the conditions for the reproduction and rearing of fish populations. Adaptations in the fisheries sector should also consider the impact of harmful/toxic algae, the review of the fish population and habitat management measures, as well as the use of introduced species.
Time horizon
  • 2071–2100 (far future)


Funding / Financing 

The projects (16 in all) are being financed by the Environmental Cluster Programme of the Ministry of the Environment, as well as by the Ministry for Agriculture and Forestry and the Ministry for Transport and Communications.

Project management 

Finnland: Ministry of the Environment, Ministry for Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry for Transport and Communications


This work is being carried out in cooperation with relevant research institutes and further partners; it is aimed here to ensure cooperation between science and politics. A steering committee made up of representatives from the relevant ministries and scientific / financing institutions is responsible for managing the scientific studies, monitoring progress and organising their analysis.


Finnish Meteorological Institute
Postfach 30
FI-00101 Helsinki

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Fields of action:
 agriculture  biological diversity  buildings  civil protection and disaster management  fishery  human health and care  spatial planning, urban and settlement development  transport and transport infrastructure  water regime and water management  woodland and forestry  cross sectoral