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Jyrki Kangas: UNITE connects and influences

Unite flagship director Jyrki Kangas in the forest

Our Flagship “Forest-Human-Machine Interplay”, abbreviated as UNITE, is a ground-breaking, cross-disciplinary community. The name reflects our close partnership with stakeholders who engage with science. The motto of the Flagship, “Building resilience, redefining value networks and enabling meaningful experiences” further clarifies our intentions.

The UNITE Flagship brings together world-leading research groups working in forest sciences, geospatial technologies, sensor innovations, and gamification. UNITE’s emphasis is on the properties of forests, their use, services, and opportunities, and how these are connected and managed.

UNITE has enormous potential for scientific and practical impact. Our collaborators include both large and small enterprises. These hail from the forest sector and game industry, and include working life specialists, domestic and international organisations, as well as leading scientists from different parts of the world with expertise in UNITE’s themes. We aim to expand our partner networks within UNITE’s scientific and industrial ecosystem, and those interested in close collaboration are welcomed, and encouraged to join the community!

Unite impacts to society, industry, individuals and forests
Unite’s impact dimensions

Scientific and practical breakthroughs

Our anticipated advances are based on game, mobile, and laser technologies, as well as robotics and machine vision applications in forestry and forest-based services. Areas of application include, for example, the acquisition and modelling of forest information, the management of forest damage, the enhancement and management of wood procurement operations, the increase of health and well-being effects of nature, as well as forest biodiversity research. Starting in Finland, with global impacts in mind, we intend to digitalise forests and forest-based value networks.

UNITE merges science and practice. Our aim is to produce studies for which the scientific and practical impacts cannot be separated. Our achievements will serve both arenas, and our research results and developments will be readily applicable. It is here that our partnerships and close collaborations will be key, including in joint RDI activities and case studies.

UNITE and the Sustainable Development Goals

UNITE and its partners will be working on the leading edge of scientific and technological endeavour. As our scientific leaps help us navigate new territory, we aim to revolutionise business in the forest sector and improve existing activities. Delivering on several of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals is at the forefront of our minds as we are conduct our research.

A pertinent goal for us is SDG 15 to“Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss”. Additionally, SDGs 9, 13 and 3 “Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation”, “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”, and “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”, respectively, are also relevant to the ambitions of our work.

When it comes to the post-COVID-19 era, UNITE is dedicated to producing information that will help us to improve the resilience of forests, society, and people. This effort includes diversifying forest-based livelihoods, fostering the health and well-being of people via the gamification of forest experiences, along with encouraging physical activity in both real and virtual forests.

Jyrki Kangas is the director of Unite flagship