Roughly every two years, the College of Forestry Dean leads a tour of the College’s senior stakeholders to learn about innovations in thought and practice in the world of sustainable forest management and wood product development. In May of this year, the group visited Sweden and Finland to learn about social license for forestry, and advances through the integration of digitization and artificial intelligence into assessment, harvest and supply chain practices. In Sweden, Skogforsk, the Forestry Research Institute of Sweden, and the forest owners’ association Mellanskog hosted the group. In Finland, Dr. Ritva Toivonen, Dean of Agriculture and Forestry at the University of Helsinki, hosted the group at her family forest/farm, and she and faculty members joined the group in a visit to the Metsä Bioproducts Mill at Äänekoski, the largest wood processing plant in the Northern Hemisphere, to learn about its energy generation and sidestream product development. The tour culminated with informational presentations from Trimble, Ponsse, and Collective Crunch, all companies working to integrate digitization into forestry practice and carbon assessment for greater accuracy and sustainability.
The trip was organized and run by the College of Forestry International Programs office. Thank you to Michele Justice, director of International Programs, for this summary of the trip!