Finnish Forest Research Institute  Metla

Media release December 2. 2005

Metla is revising its operational strategy

Research will be focused on forest-based enterprise and business activities and sustainable use of forests

The research priorities of the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla) are forest-based enterprise and business activities, the social impact of forests, the structure and functions of forest ecosystems and information reserves of forestry and the forest environment.

– In our new strategy the aim is to increase the emphasis on the views of our clients and stakeholders. The strategy was created as an interactive process by Metla’s staff, clientele and stakeholders. We try to improve the social influence of our operations by directing research towards improving business operations and supporting the formulation of forest policies. Our aim is to work in a customer-oriented, inter-disciplinary and networking manner serving the entire forest sector, says Hannu Raitio, Director General of Metla.

The first priority field (forest-based enterprise and business activities) include timber trade and industry and forest-based new sources of livelihood (e.g. nature and recreational tourism), profitability of timber production, operational performance of forest management and the timber market, forest energy and wood as building material. Important research topics are also silvicultural methods, physical and chemical characteristics of wood, logistics and procedural methods of harvesting, as well as biotechnology with its applications.

Important research topics of the second priority field (social impact of forests) include the changes in the operational environment of forest policy, the future of the forest sector, and balancing the needs between the various forms of forest use. Topics of research also include the socio-economic significance of the forest sphere both at national and local levels, the growth of forest-based business and provisions for new ones, the positive attitudes towards forestry, and the meaning of forests for human health and well-being.

Important research topics of the third priority field (the structure and function of forest ecosystems) include forest development dynamics, the vital functions and output of forest trees in a changing environment, dispersion and prevention of forest damage, genetic characteristics of forest and forest breeding, biological diversity, the effects of climate change on forests, and environmental effects of forestry.

Important research topics of the fourth priority field (information reserves on forestry and the forest environment) include forest resources and forest statistics, forest economy planning methods, carbon stocks stored in forests, forest biodiversity, and forest damage.

Metla’s research activities are problem-oriented and multidisciplinary. Most of the research activities are conducted in research programmes that cross the priority boundaries. The research programmes are defined in active collaboration with information users.

Metla – The Finnish Forest Research Institute, founded in 1917 - is a specialist organisation, with a mission to enhance, through means of research, economically, ecologically and socially sustainable forestry. Metla has nine research units in locations spread over Finland and owns a network of research forests covering almost the entire country. As an organisation under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Metla is the biggest forest research organisation in Europe.

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