Värriö Subarctic Research Station

Värriö Subarctic Research Station was founded in 1967 and belongs to the Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR) at the University of Helsinki.

It is located in the Värriö strict nature reserve in eastern Finnish Lapland or – as the slogan of Salla municipality puts it – in the middle of nowhere. The station has collected exceptionally long data series on environmental factors, which reflect the changes in subarctic forests, fell ecosystems, air pollution and climate over decades. The studies at Värriö are multi- and interdisciplinary. The current research focuses e.g. on atmospheric chemistry and physics, the productivity of the subarctic ecosystems, as well as on monitoring the population and phonology of multiple species including moths, birds and mammals. The station hosts the SMEAR I measurement station representing internationally leading scientific research.

The research in Värriö is very multi- and interdisciplinary, and it connects experts from many different fields of science and also from many research institutes in Finland and beyond.

The majority of Värriö publications originates nowadays from the studies conducted at the SMEAR I measuring station . The manifold of biosphere–atmosphere interactions have been studied at the SMEAR I since 1991. They include studies on biogeochemical cycles, biosphere–aerosol–cloud–climate interactions, pollution dispersal and more.

An essential part of the research in Värriö is to continue the long data series on various environmental parameters. These include for example bird nesting, moth abundance, berry yield, meteorological variables, phenological observations and many more. All these reflect environmental changes over the decades and are a valuable part of the environmental monitoring in the subarctic region.

The natural forest surrounding the research station has offered optimal study sites for many projects in recent years. The forests have undergone many forest fires, whose scars are visible on the old tree trunks. Thus, the area is valuable for forest fire research. As there are reindeer free areas at the SMEAR I and close to the border, the effects of reindeer herding could be studied as well. The untouched landscape offers good opportunities for geologists to study the ground formations.

A seismograph station at the Värriö Subarctic Research Station detects and records seismic events in the Fennoscandian bedrock. It is a part of a network of 16 stations operated by the Institute of Seismology, University of Helsinki.

Read more info here.

Institution University of Helsinki
Country Finland
Infrastructure type Research station
Disciplines Biology and biochemistry
Environmental sciences
Earth sciences
forestry and fishery
Natural environments and wildlife
Environmental protection
Language of operation Finnish
Keywords SMEARproductivity of the subarctic ecosystemsmonitoring the population and phonology of speciesatmospheric chemistry and physics


The Värriö Subarctic Research Station can provide for the researchers:

  • Accommodation indoors or in tents up to tens of people, catering and transportation services
  • A seminar room with presentation equipment and fast internet connection
  • A sauna daily by a lake
  • Equipment for forest mensuration and sample collection
  • Basic laboratory facilities for sample pre-treatment and storage (e.g. fridge, freezer, drying oven, precision scale)
  • Outdoor gear: rubber boots, winter overalls, skis, snow shoes etc. (Contact station for details)
  • Good choice of biomes in their natural state within walking distance
  • Online and free access to the data repositories
  • Remote location far from pollution and human activities

Contact information

Värriö Subarctic Research Station
Ainijärventie 114
FI-98840 Ruuvaoja, Finland

Station office tel. +358-40-827 6535

Head of the station Professor Mikko Sipilä +358 40 709 3103
Doctoral researcher Janne Mukkala +358 40 582 9954
Research technician Tapani Tuohimaa +358-406315069
Research technician Vesa Haataja +358-405335425
Research technician Tarmo Kylli +358-406309141

SMEAR duty officer [in summer time] +358-406309245

Email addresses are of the form firstname.lastname@helsinki.fi.


If you are interested in scientific data available at the Värriö research center, fill in the form.

Värriö Subarctic Research Station is a part of the Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research INAR in the University of Helsinki.

INAR – Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research P.O. Box 64 FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland.

The contact information of the INAR personnel is available here.

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