Finnish Forest Research Institute  Metla

Press release 26.9.2006

Studies on Russian wood quality and harvesting methods

As part of the Euregio Karelia Neighbourhood Programme, the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla) has started a study in which the tree-length and shortwood logging methods will be compared in their effects on quality of wood raw materials, occupational safety and work ergonomy, productivity in logging and the environment. The results will also be utilized to extend the Russian forestry information service.

In collaboration with the Petrozavodsk State University , the currently used logging methods are being studied to determine their impacts on the quality of wood raw materials. Additional topics include clarifying how quality is measured at the different phases of the harvesting and logistics chain, and which quality standards are being applied in Russia . After the overall clarification, the research will be deepened by a study in which empirical data will be used to compare the effects of the logging methods. The comparison will take into consideration quality of timber, occupational safety and work ergonomy, productivity in logging and the environment.

The results on raw material quality and logging methods will be utilized to extend the Russian forestry information service. Information in Russian about the requirements set by the Finnish companies for the quality in logging work and on timber assortments applied will help in spreading knowledge in Russia to support the activities.

The future cooperation between Finnish industrial enterprises and Russian partners will be geared towards trading of further processed wood products and joint production operations in Russia . The role of the quality and competitiveness of the wood raw materials and processed wood products will thus be more emphasized. Although the forest companies have gained empirical information and experiences on the differences in the quality between the Finnish and Russian wood raw materials, the impacts of, e.g., the harvesting methods on the quality are insufficiently known. Furthermore, the properties of the primary wood products have not been studied to allow reliable comparisons between Finland and Russia . The lack of this type of information is impeding investments and causing losses of earnings to the forest companies in the form of deficient quality.

Metla started a study on the characteristics of the wood products of spruce and birch from Russia already in November 2005 from the viewpoints of end-uses in construction, joinery and furniture products. In this project, versatile measurements are being made on standing and cut trees and their wood, and test sawing and rotary cutting are being performed to compare timber imported from north-western Russia and timber grown in eastern Finland . Technical defects affecting the yield, quality and value of sawn timber and veneers are being detected and measured and analyses compiled to determine the differences between Russian wood and domestic reference materials. In this research, Metla is collaborating with wood processing companies operating in eastern Finland, and on spruce also with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Kymenlaakso Polytechnic, Forestry and Wood Technology.

The technical quality and suitability of timber for the uses as industrial raw materials depend on the combination effects of the wood’s natural characteristics and the chain of logging, transportation and storage. The results of the studies on Russian logging methods and the quality of marked stands, roundwood, sawn timber and veneers are complementary to each other when the total impacts are defined from the points of view of customers and end uses.

The studies and the extension of the forestry information service will be accomplished over the period 2006-2008 in the projects of “Russian Wood Quality and Forestry Information Service” and “Comparison of Harvesting Methods – Impacts on Wood Quality and Overall Performance of Wood Harvesting Companies”, as parts of the Euregio Karelia Neighbourhood Programme.

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