People behind the scenes: Leena Laamanen

“Trust me, I’m a geographer.” – The phrase I use quite a lot. It mainly refers to having an internal compass and finding a way around big cities, just because the maps burn easily to my mind. But the second part works also in my work, I’m a geographer. Hi, I’m Leena.

I work as a researcher in the Marine Research Center in Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE). In my work I study the anthropological pressures and impacts in the marine environment. So, in a nutshell, looking for ways to assess how the human’s using the sea effects on the marine life and ecosystems.

Leena Laamanen in Venice.
Sometimes my work contains travelling to nice places but sometimes I get buried behind my desk. Here my work took me to Venice, 1/2018. Photo by: Lena Bergström.

Working with transboundary issues fascinates me, because nature follows no borders. And pressures from human activities do not stop at the borders. Coherent way of assessing anthropogenic pressures and impacts creates both challenges and opportunities for innovative thinking. My work in SEAmBOTH includes coordinating the data collation of the spatial data for human activities and pressures – and developing cumulative pressure and impact assessments.

2 people discussing in front of 3 computers in Leena's office.
Eventhough I work a lot on the computer, I also get to communicate and discuss a lot with experts and stakeholders. Photo by Waltteri Niemelä, SYKE.

My path to work with sustainable use of the seas started upstream of the catchment area of the Arctic Ocean. I used to do fluvial research in a research group in the University of Turku, focusing on the relationship of flowing water and river bed changes in in the northern most Finland. From there my working topic flowed downstream and southward to supporting Baltic wide Marine Spatial Planning work and developing the spatial data products for assessing cumulative pressures and impacts from the human activities. The flow continues, and now I look into the issue on several different scales: local, regional and pan-european. As that is what is natural for a geographer 😉

Written by Leena Laamanen, Finnish Environment Institute

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