Friday, 01 July 2016 07:35

Digital services for forest owners create an opportunity for the national economy – ”One in five forest properties have been uncared for 30 years”

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Finnish forest owners have adopted quite well the new digital services and utilize these services to take care of their forest properties. However, some forest owners still neglect their properties. A study conducted by Tieto together with the University of Jyväskylä reveals how Finnish forest owners use various services targeted to them.

A study conducted by Tieto together with the University of Jyväskylä surveyed the use of digital services among Finnish forest owners, among other things. 13,533 Finnish forest owners participated in the survey. The majority (72.9%) of all respondents utilize digital services aimed at forest owners. Moreover, one in five (20.4%) have used these services over ten times in the past year.

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”Finns are rather used to running their errands online, for example via online banking services, and the number of other types of digital services is increasing continuously. In recent years, digital services have become available to forest owners. The target of these online services is to help forest owners take care of their properties by offering transparent real-time information and a channel to plan and carry out swiftly the necessary measures,” says Jaakko Kuusisaari, Director at Tieto Forest Industry.

Even passive forest owners can be reached through digital services

In recent years, forest ownership has followed larger societal trends: forest ownership is increasing in urban areas and among pensioners and women. Over a half (55.8%) of forest owners nowadays live in cities or in other population centres. The urbanization of forest ownership leads to growing distances between one’s home and the forest property. However, most (51.5%) forest owners still live within a 50-kilometre radius from their property, whereas another rather large group (14.1%) lives over 300 kilometres from their property.

The long distances between the property and the home have traditionally made forest ownership more challenging – and possibly even been the reason behind neglect. Based on the study, the majority (65.0%) of Finnish forest owners are classified as inactive forest owners, who tend to their forests less frequently than on a monthly basis. Almost one in ten (9.3%) of the respondents are active forest owners, who tend to their forests on a weekly basis.

However, inactivity does not necessarily equal neglect these days. The study reveals that the majority (67.3%) of the inactive group has utilized digital services for forest owners. In addition, the majority (69.4%) of inactive forest owners has a forest management plan for all of their forests.

”The advantages of online services are the ease of use and accessibility – the information is only a couple of clicks away. At the same time, these services are competing for people’s time, since the surrounding world is full of information. The digital services for forest owners really have to offer the information in an interesting way,” continues Kuusisaari.

Digitalization harnesses forests for use

Approximately three quarters of Finnish forests are privately owned, which is a relatively high portion when compared globally. According to Finnish Forest Centre’s statistics, one in five forest properties have not been taken care of in the past 30 years. Not having the necessary knowledge of the economic or environmental potential of one’s forest property can lead to difficulties in making decisions regarding that property.

”Not taking care of a forest property without an informed decision equals not renovating your house; the condition and value of both will decrease rapidly,” says Veikko Iittainen, Customer chief at Finnish Forest Centre.

”Digital services inform forest owners about the potential of their properties: the owners can get a quick understanding of the forest areas that are in need of management or logging, or that are environmentally significant. Thus, forest owners can make informed decisions based on their own goals. Digital services help forest owners take measures to care for their forests and enable, for example, the planning of thinning,” continues Iittainen.

New digital services for forest owners are already available. Tieto has been developing the platform for timber trading, Metsäverkko, for Metsä Group. Read more:

Read also about how the Swedish forest industry assesses the impact of digitalization on the business on the recent IT barometer 2016:

For more information:
Jaakko Kuusisaari, Director, Wood and Fibre Solutions, Tieto Forest Industry, Tieto: jaakko.kuusisaari[at], +358 40 501 5197

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