Forest bioeconomy markets in North Karelia and China


A new report by researchers from the Natural Resources Institute Finland and the European Forest Institute assesses the current status of the bioeconomy in North Karelia in Finland and in China, and explores the potential for cooperation on bioeconomy development.

The report gives an overview on the current status of bioeconomy from a global perspective before taking a closer look at the developments in North Karelia and China. The focus is in three sub-sectors of the bioeconomy: wood products, non-wood forest products, and nature-based tourism. The report explores the current demand for products and services in the three sub-sectors, and discusses the unused potentials and opportunities for higher added value product or service development. Even though the forest resources in North Karelia enable increased production of forest products, there is relatively small number of companies with potential to expand their markets to China. There is, however, development potential in exporting know-how and expertise related to, e.g., timber construction from North Karelia to China. With regard to non-wood forest products, mostly frozen berries are exported to China currently. The non-wood forest and health product market in China is the largest in the world, which is an opportunity for the Finnish and North Karelian producers. Special attention should be addressed to development of further processed high added value berry products to the Chinese health product markets. In addition, there are opportunities for special products such as birch sap, or health products containing high-value mushroom species. The number of Chinese tourists coming to North Karelia has been low, but it has recently increased, in particular educational tourism. Considerable regional investments are expected to develop sustainable tourism and boost the attractiveness of North Karelia. Authentic, traditional, and local experiences appeal to visitors who wish to see the local culture, cuisine, and heritage. North Karelia is expected to respond to this demand and offer high standard and targeted services to the Chinese visitors.

The future activities of the KIBIO project focus on analysing the value chains of potential products and services with the aim to assess their environmental, economic, social, and policy prospects. It is expected that multi-level and inter-discipline cooperation with China facilitates developing a truly sustainable circular bioeconomy for the region of North Karelia.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused unprecedented rapid and completely exceptional changes in the global economy and in the movement and daily life of people. The state-of-the-art overview in the report reflects the time before the pandemic. Subsequent publications of the KIBIO project will, where possible, comment on the impact of the pandemic on forest bioeconomy activity between North Karelia and China.

The report Current state of forest bioeconomy markets in the region of North Karelia in Finland and China and opportunities for development is published by the Natural Resources Institute Finland in its series focusing on natural resources and the bioeconomy. The report is in Finnish with an English abstract.

 

Full reference: Wallius, V., Viitanen, J., Konu, H., Mutanen, A., Heräjärvi, H., Kurttila, M., Chen, X., Hälinen, M. & den Herder, M. 2020. Pohjois-Karjalan ja Kiinan välisen metsäbiotalouden nykytilanne ja kehitysmahdollisuudet. Luonnonvara- ja biotalouden tutkimus 23/2020. Luonnonvarakeskus. Helsinki. 55 p.

 

Download the report here.