On the path of natural resources research at the Kerttu Saalasti Institute at the University of Oulu

I started my work as a project researcher in the Regional Excellence (REx) research group of University of Oulu Kerttu Saalasti Institute 8.4.2024. I work as a researcher on the AGEMERA project, which is a large-scale consortium research project. The project aims to find out the potential of critical raw materials in Finland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Zambia, Poland, and Germany. The first pilot surveys on the social acceptability of mineral exploration have been carried out by the University of Lapland in 2023 in Rovaniemi and Kuusamo, Finland, and in the study area of five different countries.

I already have a long research career behind me and did my PhD in the Department of Geography at the University of Helsinki on land governance and land disputes in northern Tanzania. In recent years, I have conducted social geographical research at various universities and research institutes in Finland, Sweden, and Canada, and through the Tapaus research cooperative.

In the years 2012-2015, I examined the institutional and socio-ecological conditions of Finnish predator policy throughout natural resource management in Southwest Finland. This research examined on, what was the institutional fit and how to foster sustainable co-habitation of humans and wildlife. I conducted ethnographic fieldwork to investigate wolf fear and spatial transformations among people living in rural areas of Southwest Finland through their emotional experiences and spatial practices in their environment.

Biodiversity was highlighted in the Helsinki Zoo studies in 2016 and 2023 when I examined the zoo's global biodiversity conservation efforts. I wanted to find out an answer to the research question does visiting the zoo affects the nature conservation knowledge and nature activities of the visitors during zoo visits.

I think the theme of attachment to place is extremely important in today's world, where people are searching for their identity and place in a digital and globally changing world. The place attachment was part of the research I conducted in two suburbs of Jyväskylä in 2020-2021, where I studied place attachment through the place experiences of individuals. I strived to find answers to the meaning of place attachment for the residents of the suburbs and how place attachment shapes the residents' sense of community and socio-spatial activities.

In the AGEMERA project, I will use online surveys and personal interviews to explore and analyze in more depth the nature values of local people in Northern Finland and the meaning of place attachment with the social acceptance of mineral exploration from a socio-economic and sustainable sustainability perspective.

My assignment allows me to get to know more about the localities and nature in Northern Finland and the problematics of natural resource management. I am also excited to work with researchers from the Regional Excellence (REx) research group at the Kerttu Saalasti Institute make researchon current topics and focus on research theme in Northern Finland, namely the social acceptance of mining on municipal land.

Sanna Ojalammi, Ph.D., project researcher, University of Oulu Kerttu Saalasti Instituute, Regional Excellence (Rex) research group