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Metla Bulletin goes electronic

Hannu Raitio, Director General

You are now reading the first electronic Metla Bulletin of the Finnish Forest Research Institute. We publish a number of periodicals either alone or jointly with others (see, two scientific journals in Finnish, roughly ten electronic newsletters for the interest groups of our research programmes, and bulletins with several language versions. The publication for our English speaking interest groups, Metla Bulletin, has previously appeared as a printed journal.

However, world-wide dissemination of a printed publication is inconvenient, and due to the intervals that build up between issues, it easily happens that events and news are omitted. Therefore, we decided to make Metla Bulletin electronic. The electronic Metla Bulletin is released when needed, in practice once a month, on average. You are receiving it because your name is on our mailing list. If you wish your name to be removed from the list, please contact us through the email address given in the Bulletin.

This first electronic issue contains articles on three topics that are important from the point of view of Finnish forestry and forest research, but they also have international significance: Russian forestry, climate change and the association between forests and human health.

There is vast potential for forestry in Russia, but Russian forest policies are unbalanced. New customs decrees not only cause difficulties for roundwood buyers but in the short and medium term also endanger the development of the country’s own forestry.

Climate change is having different effects in different parts of the world. In the boreal coniferous zone it is associated with more difficult wood harvesting during winter and various new types of forest damage risk. Considerable demands are set for research.

The association between forests and human health has emerged as a significant topic in international discussion. On the one hand, forests provide various health resources, ranging from nutrition to medicinal substances, and on the other hand, forest-based diseases have become more common especially in tropical areas where forest areas have become smaller and hence, contacts between people and forest animals have become more frequent.

The International Union of Forest Research Organizations, IUFRO, initiated a programme called Forests and Human Health that focuses on this topic, which I coordinate. Among other things, we work to create a draft proposal for Forest Health Impact Assessment (HIA) in line with the WHO HIA guidelines. The Forest HIA would be used to evaluate forest-related projects and policies that may have an impact on human health.

Hannu Raitio
Director General