Climate Change Adaptation Tools for Environmental Risk Mitigation of Acid Sulphate Soils (CATERMASS)


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Mid-term report of the project has been added to the dissemination page (Action 5).

CATERMASS-brochyre (pdf 511 KB)

Increasing threats to aquatic ecosystem health  induced by acid sulphate soils

Finland has 100 000 - 200 000 hectares acid sulphate soils (AS-soils) under cultivation, especially in the area of Southern Ostrobothnia. Acidity and metal load originating from these soils has substantially deteriorated the condition of rivers, lakes and coastal water areas. In general, due to changes in catchment hydrology and soil processes, climate change is likely to increase environmental damages induced by land use. Especially geochemical soil anomalies, such as soil and rock types containing exceptionally high concentrations of heavy metals, are of concern. In mininig areas crop plants are known to suffer from problems caused by metal anomalies. Further, scid and toxic runoffs from mines have deteriorated status of water bodies all over the world. The most significant environmental risks are often related to the oxidation of the metal-rich sulphide layers and exceptionally high floods. In Finland and many other areas in the world AS-soils pose a similar kind of environmental problem.

The objective of this EU Life+ project is to find tools for improving water protection in AS-soil areas. The project aims at developing methods for mitigating environmental impact of AS-soils and adapting land use and water protection to changing climate conditions. Mitigation of damages to water system, fish stocks and nature requires collation of information on the problem areas, development of acidity and metal exposure, nature of environmental risks and priorities for environmental protection, existing pollution abatement methods, and the validity of these methods under changing climate conditions in Finland.

The project is extremely demanding since drainage and cultivation practices need to be changed and developed in private agricultural/forestry lands in order to mitigate the problems Mitigation of environmental damages requires a wide,participatory-inducing and risk control oriented process that includes both natural scientific and socio-economical perspectives.

Experts and practical actors in cooperation

CATERMASS produces literature, www-material, seminars, future workshops and demonstrations to be utilized by farmers, citizens, researchers and decision makers. The following actions will be carried out:

  • Mapping and risk classification of AS-soils
  • Environmental impact assessment and risk scenarios
  • Mitigation methods and their adaptation to the changing climate conditions
  • Socio-economic impacts and participatory multicriteria analysis of adaptation tools
  • Dissemination of the best environmental practices in changing climate conditions


Project manager: Leading researcher Kari-Matti Vuori, Finnish Environment Institute, tel.+358 40 543 2227

Coordinator: Senior researcher Juha Riihimäki, Finnish Environment Institute, tel. +358 40 566 1671

Published 2013-08-12 at 10:41, updated 2023-08-01 at 15:41