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Questions about forestry? Joensuu has the answers!

Northern Karelia´s solid support for the forest bioeconomy, extensive base of expertise and high-performance companies are an essential component of the success story of the Finnish bioeconomy.  Organisations do not cooperate, people do. Meeting people is exceptionally easy in Joensuu thanks to the short distances between operators and the great spirit of cooperation. Indeed, the region is home to more than 600 bioeconomy experts!

An attractive centre of expertise

The successful forest bioeconomy business also needs companies that convert expertise, research and cooperation into turnover and jobs. Sustainable, intelligent and creatively renewable green growth attracts business as Joensuu renews the forest biomass value chain, diversifies clean energy production, brings the bioeconomy to the digital era, and innovates new service businesses for the forest bioeconomy.

The companies have already achieved much. For example, Fortum built the world´s first commercial pyrolysis oil production plant in Joensuu. Forest technology companies, from the small and innovative to the world´s leading forestry machine manufacturer John Deere Forestry, have drawn success from the body of expertise available in Finland´s forest capital. Enocell´s pulp mill rethought its strategy and future; the company replaced fuel oil with bioenergy and started making dissolving pulp for the textile industry from birch. 

Companies involved with the forest bioeconomy and its interfaces in the region

  • Stora Enso Oyj (pulp, sawmill, timber purchasing)
  • John Deere Forestry Oy (forestry machines)
  • UPM-Kymmene Oyj (plywood, timber purchasing)
  • Kesla Oyj (machine manufacturer for the forestry and bioenergy industries)
  • Vapo Oyj (sawmills, bioenergy, timber purchasing)
  • Pankaboard Oy (cardboard)
  • Mantsinen Group Oy (logistics and material handling machines, forestry machines, services)
  • Anaika Components Ltd. (laminated timber, timber, processed products, etc.)
  • Outokummun Metalli Oy (forestry machines)
  • Iivari Mononen Oy and Höljäkkä Oy (impregnated wood, wood products)
  • Arbonaut Oy (forestry sector ICT, GIS)
  • BioCone Oy (process technology for sawmills and the bioeconomy)
  • Pentinpaja Oy (forestry machines)

R&D organisations supporting business        

  • University of Eastern Finland, UEF
  • Karelia University of Applied Sciences
  • Natural Resources Institute Finland, LUKE
  • European Forest Institute, EFI, headquartered in Joensuu
  • Finnish Environment Institute, SYKE
  • North Karelia Municipal Education and Training Consortium, PKKY
  • Valtimo Vocational College
  • Joensuu Science Park Ltd
  • Finnish Forest Centre
  • Regional Council of North Karelia

Together, we are the country's foremost centre of expertise in the forest bioeconomy.

Diverse expertise at the University of Eastern Finland

The bioeconomy is a key area of expertise for the University of Eastern Finland. The university´s departments and units have numerous joint, multidisciplinary research subjects related to the forest bioeconomy: the forest and the raw materials harvested from it, wood and biomass, thermal processes, new biochemicals obtained from trees and other plants and their health effects, biofuels and their manufacture, study of the regulations and standards related to the bioeconomy and analytics related to environmental effects.

The School of Forest Sciences, Department of Chemistry, School of Computing, Department of Physics and Mathematics, Department of Environmental and Biological Sciences, and Departments of Social Sciences and Economics, along with the hardware infrastructure and expertise of the special SIB Labs unit operating on the Joensuu and Kuopio campuses, comprise a world-class research forum. 

Karelia University of Applied Sciences – wood construction and energy production

The Karelia University of Applied Sciences has chosen wood construction and the use of wood in building as one of its strategic focus areas. Applied research and training promotes industrial wood construction and the creation of new business opportunities in the industry.

The goal of the Sustainable Energy and Materials focus area is to develop an international standard of competence in the production and use of renewable energy and energy supply planning to consolidate the economy of Eastern Finland. Sirkkala Energy Park is a learning and service environment for the bioeconomy that studies the actual operating and maintenance costs of different forms of energy production and the cost structure of the entire operating chain from the perspectives of the total energy balance and resource efficiency.

LUKE and EFI – impactful forest research 

Joensuu is home to one of the four main offices of the Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE). The scientists and experts employed by LUKE create new solutions for the sustainable development of the Finnish bioeconomy and the promotion of new fields of business. The institute's key research areas in Joensuu include: the international forest economy, forest planning and stock-taking, forest resources and natural resource planning, forestry and its environmental impact, wood science, forest technology and energy, natural products obtained from forests, and the assessment of game and fish populations.

The European Forest Institute (EFI), headquartered in Joensuu, is the only European forest institute that produces forest research and provides policy support at European level. The role of the EFI has recently grown even bigger with the growth of expectations for Europe´s forests with regard to the bioeconomy, climate change, biodiversity and rural development.

SYKE helps municipalities achieve carbon neutrality  

The Joensuu office of the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) cooperates closely with both local and national bioeconomy research institutes and administrative bodies.

As early as 2011, Northern Karelia announced that it would no longer use fossil oil for heating. The region decided to increase the share of renewable energy from just under two thirds to more than 80 per cent by 2020. Most of the region's municipalities have already joined SYKE´s Towards Carbon-Neutral Municipalities project (HINKU).