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Articles by Mikko Kurttila

Category: Research article

article id 7763, category Research article
Sergei Senko, Mikko Kurttila, Timo Karjalainen. (2018). Prospects for Nordic intensive forest management solutions in the Republic of Karelia. Silva Fennica vol. 52 no. 4 article id 7763. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.7763
Highlights: SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) and multi-criteria decision support analysis were combined to examine the potential for Nordic intensive forest management solutions (NIFMS) in Karelia, Russia; NIFMS looks promising for Karelian forestry; Improving quality-and-value of timber and sustained yield are the highly prioritized strengths; Unprepared forestry regulations are the main threat that needs to be taken into account.

In this study, the prospects for future forest management in Republic of Karelia, Russia were analyzed. Forestry has an important role in the economy of Karelia. However, productivity and profitability in the forestry sector are extremely low, forest stand structure and quality are weak, the commercial forest land of coniferous species has declined and the wood processing industry struggles with a deficit of raw materials. The situation is typical to many forest regions in Russia with extensive forest management cited as one reason for the current situation. In contrast, the Nordic countries have significant experience in intensive and sustainable forest management and the results have been to a large extent positive. The transfer of Nordic intensive forest management solutions (NIFMS) could improve forestry in Karelia. SWOT analysis, combined with the multi-criteria decision support (MCDS) method was used to identify local operational environments and to assign priorities. Major threats included unprepared regulations, poor road infrastructure, insecure investments, low forestry productivity, forest degradation, high investment costs and a negative attitude to intensive forestry. The main opportunities are high forest resource potential in Karelia, favorable authority development programs, proven Nordic expertise, wood-based energy development and availability of new technology. Results also showed that the main weaknesses that might influence the NIFMS in Karelia are slow return on investments, low market demand for energy wood, high costs associated with young forest thinnings, high demand for skilled specialists and a lack of investment in research and development.

  • Senko, University of Eastern Finland (UEF), School of Forest Sciences, Yliopistokatu 7, FI-80111 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: sergei.senko@uef.fi (email)
  • Kurttila, The Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Bioeconomy and environment, Yliopistokatu 6, FI-80100 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: mikko.kurttila@luke.fi
  • Karjalainen, † Deceased ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 1214, category Research article
Katri Hamunen, Outi Virkkula, Teppo Hujala, Juha Hiedanpää, Mikko Kurttila. (2015). Enhancing informal interaction and knowledge co-construction among forest owners. Silva Fennica vol. 49 no. 1 article id 1214. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.1214
Highlights: Forest owners’ own communities could complement the present expert-driven forestry extension; Enhancing informal interaction between forest owners calls for sufficiently homogeneous reference groups and also new communication contexts; New purposes of forest ownership and innovative forest management practices are suggested topics for novel owner communities; Forest professionals may initiate these communities, but the continuity depends on the owners themselves.
It is a common concern that non-resident private forest owners are less able to make informed decisions regarding their forests. Moreover, the present guidance given by forest professionals is not reaching all owners. In this study, we suggest enhancing knowledge exchange among forest owners by increasing their mutual and informal interaction that could inspire them to co-construct new knowledge. The first objective is to identify present emerging activities that constitute knowledge exchange contexts (communities) for Finnish forest owners. The second objective is to discuss the challenges of current Finnish forest extension and their implications when introducing Communities of Practice as a complementary response to existing, yet insufficient, professional-led extension. Data consist of Finnish forest owners’ and forest professionals’ (n = 43) focus group interviews. The qualitative analysis was theoretically oriented followed by data-driven coding and grouping. According to the results, the role of expert-led encounters is strong in Finland and owners’ opportunities for good mutual communication are rare. Informal communities exist mainly in the countryside among neighbouring owners and within families. To enhance knowledge sharing among owners, one needs to identify innovative topics and activities that would inspire owners to commit to their forest property and perform active silviculture. These communities would operate as creative learning environments allowing participation of different levels. When cultivating forest owners’ communities it is important to consider actors’ roles. Forest owners themselves are responsible for the functions and continuity of these communities, although forest professionals could also initiate new and sufficiently homogenous reference groups for the owners.
  • Hamunen, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), New Business Opportunities, P.O. Box 68, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: katri.hamunen@luke.fi
  • Virkkula, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Kotkantie 1, FI-90250 Oulu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: outi.virkkula@oamk.fi
  • Hujala, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), New Business Opportunities, P.O. Box 18, FI-01301 Vantaa, Finland ORCID ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7905-7602 E-mail: teppo.hujala@luke.fi (email)
  • Hiedanpää, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Economy and Society, Itäinen Pitkäkatu 3, FI-20520 Turku, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: juha.hiedanpaa@luke.fi
  • Kurttila, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), New Business Opportunities, P.O. Box 68, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: mikko.kurttila@luke.fi
article id 909, category Research article
Veikko Hiltunen, Mikko Kurttila, Jouni Pykäläinen. (2012). Strengthening top-level guidance in geographically hierarchical large scale forest planning: experiences from the Finnish state forests. Silva Fennica vol. 46 no. 4 article id 909. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.909
Different planning approaches conclude to different results. The top-down approach allocates resources efficiently from the top-level perspective, while the bottom-up approach provides optimal results for the lower levels. Integrated approach that combines the elements of these two basic approaches provides compromise solutions for decision makers. The aim of this study was to examine potential efficiency improvements in hierarchically structured large scale forest management through increased top-level guidance. The resulting effects on the acceptability of the plans on the lower level were also studied. Large scale planning typically considers forests owned by states, companies and municipalities. In the case study of the Finnish state forests, alternative country level solutions were generated by combining regional forest plans in different ways. The results showed that the currently applied bottom-up approach, which produces regionally optimal management strategies, did not result in the most efficient use of resources on the country level. However, the new country level solutions did not produce huge improvements in the country level objective values compared to the results of the current approach. Furthermore, if country level efficiency improvements were emphasized more, together with wide approval by regional stakeholders and local residents, new kind of interaction and participation between the planning levels and also between the regions would be needed.
  • Hiltunen, Metsähallitus, Viestitie 2, FI-87700 Kajaani, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: veikko.hiltunen@metsa.fi (email)
  • Kurttila, Finnish Forest Research Institute, Joensuu Unit, P.O. Box 68, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: mikko.kurttila@metla.fi
  • Pykäläinen, Finnish Forest Research Institute, Joensuu Unit, P.O. Box 68, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: jouni.pykalainen@metla.fi
article id 52, category Research article
Mirja Rantala, Teppo Hujala, Mikko Kurttila. (2012). Measuring and monitoring socio-cultural sustainability in the action of forest biodiversity cooperation networks. Silva Fennica vol. 46 no. 3 article id 52. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.52
To safeguard overall sustainability in forest resource management, the ecological, economic, social, and cultural dimensions of sustainability should all be considered. However, the socio-cultural impacts are frequently contemplated only weakly in sustainability assessments. Hitherto, attempts to operationalize socio-cultural impacts arising from economic utilization or conservation of forest resources have been perceived as vague when compared to rigorous ecological and economic indicators. One reason is that socio-cultural impacts of forest management on individuals and communities are many and by nature context- and case-specific: they need local definition, which hampers diffusion of good solutions. This study developed a multi-criteria method for measuring and monitoring socio-cultural impacts of forest resource management; the case of cooperation network projects within Forest Biodiversity Programme for Southern Finland (METSO) provided empirical data. Based on a literature review, a set of 10 criteria and 25 indicators was compiled. Cumulative utility scores, presenting networks’ contributions to socio-cultural sustainability, were generated using performance, expert evaluation and weighting data and an additive utility model. The method enables longitudinal monitoring of socio-cultural impacts, which is beneficial because outcomes are different at different time points of projects’ life cycles and some appear with a delay. The method can be used in comparing sub-utility distributions i.e. monitoring units’ performance profiles, providing valuable information for policy-makers. The multi-criteria approach and the list of socio-cultural criteria are internationally transferable to other countries and contexts such as forest bioenergy, nature tourism, watershed management, that call for analysing socio-cultural impacts of forest resource management activity on private lands.
  • Rantala, Finnish Forest Research Institute, Joensuu Unit, P.O. Box 68, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Hujala, Finnish Forest Research Institute, Vantaa Unit, Vantaa, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Kurttila, Finnish Forest Research Institute, Joensuu Unit, P.O. Box 68, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: mikko.kurttila@metla.fi (email)
article id 218, category Research article
Md. Nurul Islam, Mikko Kurttila, Lauri Mehtätalo, Arto Haara. (2009). Analyzing the effects of inventory errors on holding-level forest plans: the case of measurement error in the basal area of the dominated tree species. Silva Fennica vol. 43 no. 1 article id 218. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.218
Accurate inventory data are required for ensuring optimal net return on investment from the forest. Erroneous data can lead to the formulation of a non-optimal plan that can cause inoptimality losses. Little is known of the effect of using erroneous stand inventory data in preparing holding-level forest plans. This study reports on an approach for analyzing such inoptimality losses. Furthermore, inoptimality losses caused by measurement errors in the basal area of the dominated tree species were investigated in a case study. Based on the inventory data including routine measurements by 67 measurers, four measurer groups were created with different measurement error profiles for the basal area of the dominated tree species. This was followed by measurement error simulations for each group and by adding these to the accurate control inventory data to create erroneous data of different error profiles. Three different forest plans were then constructed by using erroneous data of each group. The plans were then analyzed and compared with plans based on correct data. The effect of measurement errors on the net present value from the whole planning period, and on the amount of remaining growing stock at the end of planning period, were analyzed and utilized in calculating the inoptimality losses. It was concluded that even errors involving dominated tree species can cause significant changes in the holding-level forest plans.
  • Islam, University of Joensuu, Faculty of Forest Sciences, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: nurul.islam@joensuu.fi (email)
  • Kurttila, Finnish Forest Research Institute, Joensuu Research Unit, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Mehtätalo, University of Helsinki, Dept. of Forest Resource Management, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Haara, University of Joensuu, Faculty of Forest Sciences, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 238, category Research article
Mikko Kurttila, Pekka Leskinen, Jouni Pykäläinen, Tiina Ruuskanen. (2008). Forest owners' decision support in voluntary biodiversity-protection projects. Silva Fennica vol. 42 no. 4 article id 238. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.238
New forest-biodiversity-protection instruments based on temporary protection periods and non-industrial private forest owners’ voluntary participation have been recently introduced and tested in pilot areas located in Southern Finland. Thanks to their several benefits, the use of voluntary instruments is becoming more common in many other countries as well. Voluntary protection here means that forest owners voluntarily set aside tracts of forest to be protected and define their compensation fees. Depending on the objectives of the forest owners, the compensation fee reflects the forest owners’ (positive) attitude towards biodiversity, scenic beauty, recreational values and/or the existence of long-term cutting possibilities. When a forest owner decides to offer part of his/her forest holding to be temporarily protected, the owner faces a new decision problem related to definition of the compensation fee, which should be based on diverse information concerning stand- and holding-level opportunity costs as well as on the biodiversity value of the stand. This article introduces three decision-support elements for assisting forest owners in defining their compensation fees. The first element relates to the assessment of the potential stand-level loss of timber harvesting income that the temporary protection of the stand may cause. The second element sets the holding-level opportunity cost of protection by utilizing the forest owners’ holding level goals, the holdings’ production possibilities and optimization methods. The third element describes the biodiversity value of the stand by means of a multi-criteria expert model. Case study material collected from the area of Central Karelia Herb-rich Forests Network pilot project is used to illustrate the characteristics of the decision-support elements and to point out some development needs for the future use of these elements.
  • Kurttila, University of Joensuu, Faculty of Forest Sciences, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: mikko.kurttila@joensuu.fi (email)
  • Leskinen, Finnish Environment Institute, Research Programme for Production and Consumption, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Pykäläinen, Metsämonex Ltd., Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Ruuskanen, University of Joensuu, Faculty of Forest Sciences, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 474, category Research article
Tero Heinonen, Mikko Kurttila, Timo Pukkala. (2007). Possibilities to aggregate raster cells through spatial optimization in forest planning. Silva Fennica vol. 41 no. 1 article id 474. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.474
This study divided the forest into raster cells and used these cells as calculation units in optimisation instead of predefined stand compartments. It was hypothesized that raster cells would result in feasible treatment units and more efficient utilization of the production potential of the forest when spatial optimisation is used to compile the plan. The optimization problems of this study included both ecological and economic objectives. The raster cells were hexagons (721 m2) and their data were derived from traditionally defined forest compartments. Three forest plans were developed by using the rasterized forest, and they were compared to the corresponding forest plans developed by using compartments. Cutting areas were aggregated in all plans, by maximizing the proportion of the boundaries between two adjacent calculation units that were both cut during the same management period, and by minimizing the proportion of cut-uncut boundaries. In the first plan, only cutting areas were aggregated. In the second and third plan, also old forests were aggregated by using two different spatial objectives. The first maximized the proportion of the boundary between adjacent calculation units that were both considered as old forest. The second objective maximized the mean of the neighbourhood minima of the calculation units’ old forest indices. The neighbourhood included the calculation unit itself and all the adjacent calculation units. The growing stock volume targets at the end of the 60-year planning period and the cutting volume targets of the three 20-year management periods were set to the same levels in all plans. The results showed that the raster approach was able to aggregate old forest patches and cutting areas similar in shape and size as the conventional approach. When the aggregation of old forest was a management objective, the total old forest area was larger in the raster forest but the mean size of the old forest patches was larger with predefined compartments. The trade-off curve between harvested volume and old forest area was further from the origin for the raster forest.
  • Heinonen, University of Joensuu, Faculty of Forestry, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: tero.heinonen@joensuu.fi (email)
  • Kurttila, Finnish Forest Research Institute, Joensuu Research Unit, P.O. Box 68, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Pukkala, University of Joensuu, Faculty of Forestry, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 396, category Research article
Timo Pukkala, Mikko Kurttila. (2005). Examining the performance of six heuristic optimisation techniques in different forest planning problems. Silva Fennica vol. 39 no. 1 article id 396. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.396
The existence of multiple decision-makers and goals, spatial and non-linear forest management objectives and the combinatorial nature of forest planning problems are reasons that support the use of heuristic optimisation algorithms in forest planning instead of the more traditional LP methods. A heuristic is a search algorithm that does not necessarily find the global optimum but it can produce relatively good solutions within reasonable time. The performance of different heuristics may vary depending on the complexity of the planning problem. This study tested six heuristic optimisation techniques in five different, increasingly difficult planning problems. The heuristics were evaluated with respect to the objective function value that the techniques were able to find, and the time they consumed in the optimisation process. The tested optimisation techniques were 1) random ascent (RA), 2) Hero sequential ascent technique (Hero), 3) simulated annealing (SA), 4) a hybrid of SA and Hero (SA+Hero), 5) tabu search (TS) and 6) genetic algorithm (GA). The results, calculated as averages of 100 repeated optimisations, were very similar for all heuristics with respect to the objective function value but the time consumption of the heuristics varied considerably. During the time the slowest techniques (SA or GA) required for convergence, the optimisation could have been repeated about 200 times with the fastest technique (Hero). The SA+Hero and SA techniques found the best solutions for non-spatial planning problems, while GA was the best in the most difficult problems. The results suggest that, especially in spatial planning problems, it is a benefit if the method performs more complicated moves than selecting one of the neighbouring solutions. It may also be beneficial to combine two or more heuristic techniques.
  • Pukkala, University of Joensuu, Faculty of Forestry, P.O. BOX 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: timo.pukkala@forest.joensuu.fi (email)
  • Kurttila, Finnish Forest Research Institute, Joensuu Research Centre, P.O. Box 68, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:

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