Blog Posts Lauri Sikanen Forestry

Canada: what a great country full of all kinds of resources. The Canucks are blessed with oil, gas, gold and diamonds – you name it, they’ve got it. We Finns have only trees. (Ok, we have some gold and diamonds as well, but no oil).

Because trees and forests are so important for us, we have created (together with Sweden) a really unique way of handle this great renewable resource.

Forestry in Canada is different and because over 80 % of forests are publicly owned, we tend to think that private ownership is not important. However, like in Finland, private owners do not own bad forests. In Ontario, for example, 15% of annual cuttings are carried out in private forests covering 10% of the total forest land.

The forest bioeconomy has an enormous potential both in Canada and Finland. We can transfer our intensive forest management practices for use in carefully selected areas in Canada and we could bring Canada’s approaches to wildlife management and conservation to Finland. It would be interesting to test somewhere in Finland the Canadian approach of 200ha selective clear-cutting to imitate natural disturbances in forests. The Finnish state-owned enterprise Metsähallitus, which is responsible for the management of one third of Finland’s surface area, could test that on some areas. Finns could bring thinning cuttings and forest planning to Canada to be used in private forests.

In the Go to Canada, Go seminar on 14th March 2018, one of the main outcomes was the consensus that education and training are something we could bring to Canada from Finland.

In particular, the training of forest managers and professionals to understand different forest management approaches and especially the possibilities of Cut-to-Length harvesting, which is the way we do all harvesting in Finland. This CTL method is also conquering Canada little by little (which is good because almost all CTL machines that would meet Canadian demand are built in Finland), but the bottleneck is a lack of skilled operators and lack of expertise among foremen and managers. Finns can help in this; we are the most experienced in this training globally and we have the longest tradition in the use of the CTL method.

In the seminar, we nailed also one rule for all companies and operators aiming to enter Canadian markets. Don’t think you can do it alone, we must work together. We must sell systems instead of single machines and without good Canadian partners you fail too easily.

Luke, Team Finland and Business Finland are working together to prepare the ground and work together in turning stones and pulling strings to find opportunities for Finnish companies in Canada. R&D projects are also a good way to explore opportunities and maintain a connection between the two countries. In the future, joint R&D-projects are hopefully a mechanism to be included more intensively in Finnish export programmes.

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