SUSWOOD project

Sustainable and Environmental Friendly Wood Material Production for
Future Industrial Needs

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The Suswood project is part of the research programme on Sustainable Production and Products (KETJU), financed by the Academy of Finland. The project started in the beginning of 2007 and continues for three years.

Project partners are Mekrijärvi Research Station and Department of Geography both from University of Joensuu and the Department of Information Technologies from Åbo Akademi University.


Minutes from project meetings and other material can be found in the archive (requires login).


The SPATE-HPC simulator software is now available for download.
Forest


Project
description


Finnish forest cluster has been competitive and generated high revenue until now. The competitiveness comes from both raw wood material production and secondary processing industry. However, new regulations on environmental protection and high labour costs have forced traditional forest industries to rationalize their domestic work force and move for foreign investments. Nevertheless, the current forest management systems are designed to provide timber for sawn wood, pulp and paper industry. The aim of this project is to study how alternative forest management systems can be used to cope with the transition of traditional forest clusters and their socio-economic implementations. This will pose challenges to the current timber production infrastructures. However, innovative opportunities and options from new forest clusters, such as energy industry, could stimulate the regeneration of forest industry.

In addition to timber production for the traditional forest cluster, there is an increasing trend to collect energy wood from forests and use it as a renewable energy source. Also, specific raw wood materials are needed by potential new forest cluster industries such as pharmaceutical, chemical and biotechnology industries. This indicates that a sustainable supply of raw wood materials by assortments (i.e., sawn wood, pulp wood, firewood and energy wood) and by species is essential for traditional and new forest clusters. Nonetheless, there is little information on the sustainability of raw wood material supplies for new forest industries. In addition, more information is needed to evaluate the sustainability of energy production from energy wood and the impact of energy wood utilization on forest ecosystem and environment.

The project examines the potentials of alternative forest management systems to meet the needs for sustainable production of raw wood material as well as maintaining forest ecosystem functions. A stochastic forest dynamics simulation system for individual tree populations will be designed and implemented in order to analyze and quantify the effects of alternative forest management systems, climate conditions, etc. on the total wood production and its socio-economic implications. This fundamental research will provide scientific knowledge of tree population dynamics and its significance in balancing forest ecosystem and in sustainable raw wood material production, and their impacts on socio-economics. The research tasks will be carried out by a multidisciplinary consortium, which consists of forestry, geography, and information technology departments.