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Online 9.12.2020

Launch event: Finland and U.S. cooperation in Bioeconomy

This event will be conducted online.

15:45 (FI) / 8.45 (EST)


Further information

Ms. Marika Ollaranta

marika.ollaranta (at)

Finland is experiencing a biofuel and pulp boom and the entire bio-economy value chain is in place, with strong relationships between end-users, companies and researchers. Many companies and research organizations are reinforcing and building their ties to the U.S. The United States aims for a so-called “Billion Ton Bioeconomy Vision”, i.e. an annual billion ton biomass output by 2030. At the federal level the vision is supported by a robust Bioeconomy Initiative led by the federal administration and an expert body mandated by the U.S. Congress.

In this event, Finland and two States in the U.S., Maine and Michigan, will launch industry working groups in sectors of the forest bioeconomy. These working groups will be open for companies, education and research organizations as well as industry interest groups. Finland has agreed to a partnership with the States of Maine and Michigan in the cooperation of the development of modern forest bioeconomy. Maine and Michigan, like Finland, are forested states with a long forest industry tradition. We hope that this launch event and practitioner webinar will act as an opportunity for forest bioeconomy and forestry actors to showcase their activities and boost their transatlantic connections.

Maine has set ambitious growth targets for its forest industry. FOR/Maine (Forest Opportunity Roadmap), is a broad coalition working to diversify the state's wood products businesses, attract capital investments, and develop greater economic prosperity for communities impacted by recent mill closures. FOR/Maine announced in 2018 an action plan to grow Maine's forest economy from the current $8.5 billion (annual) to $12 billion by 2025. The research supporting the plan received federal funding and was carried out by Finnish forest consulting company Indufor Group’s North American office.

Michigan’s Timber and Forest Products Advisory Council has established goals to: increase public support for forest management and use of forest products: increase sustainable timber supply from forest lands in Michigan; increase support for Michigan forest products industries and foster new industries and technologies; develop and improve domestic and export markets and improve marketing for Michigan’s wood-based products; and increase forest products industries employment in Michigan. The growth target is to increase economic contributions of the forest products industries from $20 billion today to $23 billion by 2023 with a corresponding increase in direct jobs from 40 to 46 thousand.

These partnerships, based on Memorandums of Understanding, aim to create joint research, development & innovation projects for actors on both sides of the Atlantic, with industry participation and a pathway to commercial opportunities in the global markets. Through the working groups we aim to bring together ecosystems in Finland and the U.S. and to build a strong transatlantic network with access to research and innovation funding in Finland (Business Finland Co-Creation, Co-Innovation) and the U.S. from both state and federal level programs.


15.45–16.30 / 8.45–9.30AM
Launch Event: Finland and U.S. cooperation in Bioeconomy - Welcoming words and introduction

Counselor Heli Hyypiä, Embassy of Finland to the United States
Ambassador Mikko Hautala, Embassy of Finland to the United States
Business Finland Director General Nina Kopola
Governor Janet Mills of the State of Maine (via video greeting)
Governor Gretchen Whitmer of the State of Michigan (via video greeting)
Ms. Shannon Lott, Natural Resources Deputy at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources 



16.30 / 9.30AM
The Success Factors of Bioeconomy and Forestry Networking Webinar

Introductory words and introduction of collaborators & session moderators
Ms. Heli Hyypiä, Climate & Green Economy Counselor, Embassy of Finland to the United States

16.35–17.15 / 9.35–10.15AM
SESSION ONE – Success factor 1: Efficiency in Forest Management & Policies

Introductory words by session moderator
Ms. Dana Eidsness, Director, Maine North Atlantic Development Office (MENADO)

Finnish forest, forest management and forest policy tools & Finnish Environment Center SYKE
Ms. Leena Leskinen, Business Manager, Finnish Forest Center, Metsäkeskus

Global experience on timber inventory and operational conditions analysis with LiDAR
Mr. Vesa Leppänen, Chief Technical Officer and Head of Unit for Geospatial Modeling, Arbonaut

Overview of Maine-based LiDAR research & FORest Carbon Estimation" (FORCE) project partnership with Michigan State University and University of Minnesota
Mr. Aaron Weiskittel, Director, Center for Research on Sustainable Forests

Indufor's experience supporting For/Maine with market analysis and strategic planning for investment attraction into Maine's forest bioeconomy
Mr. Jeffrey Hatcher, Managing Director, Indufor North America

Michigan Climate and Energy Initiatives
Dr. Brandy Brown, Climate and Energy Advisor, Office of Climate and Energy, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy Michigan Climate and Energy Initiatives


17.15–18.05 / 10.15–11.05AM
SESSION TWO – Success factor 2: Efficiency in Planning

Introductory words by session moderator
Dr. Donna LaCourt, Acting Program Manager, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD)

Digitalization as booster
Dr. Lauri Sikanen, Principal Scientist, Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE)

Climate change mitigation and new wood-based products
Dr. Pekka Leskinen, Head of Bioeconomy Program, European Forest Institute

Maine's Forest Opportunity Roadmap and the potential for mutual benefit from partnerships with Finland
Ms. Bri Bowman, Program Manager, Forest Opportunity Roadmap/Maine (FOR/Maine)

MIFBI mission and convener role – opportunities and challenges in the Michigan forest bioeconomy
Mr. Brian Craig, FAIA, Chair, Michigan Forest Biomaterials Institute (MiFBI)

The Finnish forest industry’s roadmap towards climate neutrality by 2035
Dr. Antti-Jussi Tahvanainen, Innovation Policy Manager, Finnish Forest Industries Federation 

Council purpose, goals, and objectives
Mr. Charlie Becker, Chair, Michigan Timber and Forest Products Advisory Council

GreenHub – regional collaboration & Circular bioeconomy in North Karelia
Mr. Timo Tahvanainen, Development Manager, Business Joensuu


18.05 / 11.05AM
18.15–19.35 / 11.15AM–12.35PM
SESSION THREE – Success factor 3: Efficiency in Education & Innovation

Introductory words by session moderator
Ms. Katja Väyrynen, Education Expert, North Karelian Municipality Education and Training Consortium Riveria

Effective learning environment and simulator pedagogy in forestry training, Forestry education export – Visit Riveria
Mr. Mikko Saarimaa, Education Manager, and Ms. Katja Väyrynen, Education Expert, Riveria

Innovations of Regional Sustainability: European University Alliance
Ms. Sanna Kasurinen, Head of Education, Karelia University of Applied Science, Towards Low Carbon Construction - Joensuu Wood City

Higher education in forestry & Future of the bio-forest economy
Dr. Jouni Pykäläinen, Professor of Forest Economics and Forest Policy, University of Eastern Finland

Industry Partnerships for Bioproducts Development at University of Maine: Product development highlights & Poland Spring partnership – Sustainable packaging solutions from wood-derived chemicals
Dr. Hemant Pendse, Director, Forest Bioproducts Research Institute at University of Maine

Mass timber construction, deconstruction and material re-use
Dr. George Berghorn, Assistant Professor, Construction Management, School of Planning, Design and Construction Michigan State University

Smart Forestry
Dr. Arto Visala, Department of Electrical Engineering and Automation, Aalto University

Academic programs, research and collaborations with industry - Sustainable Bioproducts and the Hotforest enterprise
Dr. Andrew J. Storer, Dean and Professor, College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, Michigan Technological University

FinnCERES materials cluster: redefining bioeconomy with advanced bio-based materials
Ms. Alina Ruonala-Lindgren, Co-Creation Manager, VTT Technical Research Center of Finland

Research and outreach
Dr. Jesse Randall, Upper Peninsula Forestry Innovation Center Director, Michigan State University 

Wood construction competence
Dr. Regis Rouge-Oikarinen, Project Manager, Woodpolis

ExpandFibre R&D collaboration and Ecosystem
Ms. Katariina Kemppainen, Investment Manager, Metsä Group


19.35–20.30 / 12.35–1.30PM
SESSION FOUR – Success factor 4: Efficiency in Harvesting

Introductory words by session moderator
Moderated by Ms. Ulla Lainio, Commercial Counselor, Business Finland Washington D.C.

Logging solutions & Optimizing
Mr. Turkka Lastunen, Kesla 

Logging solutions, TimberSkills & Precision Logging
Mr. Mikko Turunen, Field Sales Specialist, John Deere

Advantages of CTL in harvesting
Mr. Eero Lukkarinen, Managing Director, Ponsse

Maine Logging Economy overview
Ms. Dana Doran, Executive Director, Professional Logging Contractors of Maine

Mechanized Logging Operations Program Overview
Mr. Donald Burr, Program Coordinator, Northern Maine Community College

Overview of equipment utilization for harvesting in Maine

Rail transportation, mobility
Dr. Pasi Lautala, Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Director of Rail Transportation Program (RTP), Michigan Technological University 


20.30 / 1.30PM CLOSING

Closing Remarks by Mr. Ilkka Turunen, Science & Education Counselor, Embassy of Finland to the United States