Stakeholder views on the future of Finnish forest utilization and new wood-based products

T4.33 Ways of knowing about multiverse of human-forest relationships: methodological approaches for sustainable futures for the forests


Venla Wallius1, 2 , Annukka Näyhä1
1 University of Jyväskylä
2 European Forest Institute



Forests are an integral part of the Finnish society and culture. Still, the human-forest relationships in Finland are diverse, as all individuals have their own forest-related values and attitudes that fluctuate over time. It is generally understood that in the transition from our current fossil-based economy towards a sustainable circular bioeconomy, forests, wood and wood products play a key role. Especially novel, innovative products could be a part of the solution. However, there is not one universal, shared vision of the future of the Finnish forests and their utilization. Exploring the future visions of different stakeholders is crucial in creating consensus and supporting collaborations between various actors towards a sustainable future. The aim of this study is to explore i) how forests and their utilization is currently perceived in Finland, ii) what are the desired futures related to forest use and what are the pathways to these futures, iii) what is the perceived role of new and emerging wood-based products in the sustainability transition. To this end, we interviewed 65 stakeholders along the forest value chain and networks in Finland. Moreover, Finnish media sources were analysed to comprehend the public discussion on how forests are perceived in the society and how the new wood-based products are presented in the discussion.

The preliminary results show that forests are perceived through various lenses depending on the stakeholder group in question, and the visions of the desired future for Finnish forests differ. By some stakeholders, forests are primarily seen as a source of raw material, income and employment, but others see them mainly as biodiverse ecosystems or targets of conservation efforts. Still, novel wood-based innovations are in general believed to have high potential in the future bioeconomy. In order to create a shared understanding of the future of Finnish forests and to support the sustainability transition, more collaboration is needed.

This study is a part of the “Future-oriented collaborative business models as a remedy for the sustainability transition: Finnish forest-based sector as an empirical arena for the creation of a transition framework” project funded by the Academy of Finland, project no. 340756.