An international group of experts is meeting today to seek solutions for ending the damage to forests that is increasing at an accelerating rate. The aim is to create new business from innovations. Nearly two hundred experts from around the world meet at the virtual Forest&Photonics event organised by Business Joensuu. The worst devastation of forests in the history of Europe also affects the consumption and prices of sawn timber in Finland.

Climate change is expected to further exacerbate insect and fungal damage in forests. Trees are stressed because of the rising temperatures and long periods of dry and hot weather, winds are becoming stronger and storms are becoming more common. Cooperation between several scientific disciplines is required in order to solve the pest problem and other challenges affecting the forest biosector. Nearly two hundred experts are searching for solutions for the anticipation and prevention of the growing damage in the virtual Forest & Photonics 2020 event taking place today.

– This virtual event attracts a record number of experts in photonics, information technology and forestry from around the world. For companies in the field, the event offers an opportunity to showcase their expertise and find international partners, says Timo Tahvanainen, Development Manager responsible for the forest biosector at Business Joensuu.

Open data helps to prevent forest damage

The most important thing in preventing epidemics – and forest damage – is to discover the source of the infection as quickly as possible. Even extensive forest areas can be examined quickly by means of various methods of remote sensing.

– For example, information collected by satellites and drones and open forest and environmental data can be used to identify areas plagued by forest pests at an early stage, says Tahvanainen.

Photonics solutions are used in cameras and sensors that monitor forests. The technology has been developed, for example, at the University of Eastern Finland and in companies in Joensuu, which is one of the centres of excellence in the forest biosector and photonics. The photonics sector in the region is growing, and companies already operating in the area have significant international business potential. – Business Joensuu offers a variety of services that support companies in the creation of new business and international growth, says Tahvanainen.

The webinar held on Tuesday 1 December is the first Forest & Photonics workshop organised virtually. The workshops have taken place in Koli since 2015. Work on the theme of forest damage will continue in 2021 either in virtual workshops for experts, or at a live event in Koli. The aim of the Forest & Photonics event is to find synergies between actors in the forest biosector and photonics industry, and to create new types of cooperation and new business. Business Joensuu is the main organiser of the event.

More information:

Timo Tahvanainen, Development Manager, Circular Bioeconomy, +358 50 443 29

Juha Purmonen, Development Manager, Photonics,, + 358 50 354 3832