Forest sciences on a broad front
Forest science research is conducted on a broad front. Forest science is an applied science, in which the significance of the natural sciences, humanities, business studies and technology can vary greatly across a number of sectors. In the last few years, the University of Eastern Finland's scientific success stories in the field have included research on the impacts of climate change, and on the remote sensing of forests. These areas have produced an abundance of research for a worldwide readership: partly because so much research on these topics has been published outside forest science publication series.
The School of Forest Sciences has a number of international research groups, all of which conduct leading research in their respective sectors. The Academy of Finland's assessment of research in ecology and evolutionary biology rated the work of forest ecology research teams as ‘excellent'. The unit was top-rated in many statistics. Such a description is rarely seen in Academy ratings.
Forest sciences is a broad field of science
However, forest science is much more than just ecology – in fact, it is largely a question of economics and technology. Research in forest economy has been most intense with respect to planning the multiple use of forests and optimisation. In particular, research has investigated the spatiality of forest stands and made use of the related potential. Applied economics uses solution models highly distinct from those of basic economics, even if the basic principles are the same. Research on forest technology largely focuses on logistics, a key sector in a country of long distances. If transport distances associated with bioenergy are too long, bioenergy becomes unviable in both economic and climate policy terms. In high-tech Finland, research in the field is closely related to technological development and more-intense cost optimisation.
Multidisciplinarity is a strength
Forest science is also widespread across the university's various units. For example, our bioenergy researchers engage in extensive cooperation with researchers in various faculties while, for instance, the departments of biology and environmental sciences study the forest sector in depth. Wood technology is developing into a special degree programme and the University's departments of physics, chemistry and environmental sciences are involved in extensive cooperation on this topic. Forest policy, in turn, is linked to other environmental policy, promoted and studied in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies, for example.
The strength of forest sciences at the University of Eastern Finland is largely a question of cooperation between different branches of study, facilitated by the compact structure of the Joensuu campus and the right attitude. Forest researchers have always sought international contacts on a genuine basis, because local forestry no longer exists.