UNITE is a competence center where high-quality research with societal impact is pursued. It is also one of the Academy of Finland Finnish Flagship Programmes. The name UNITE stands for “Forest-Human-Machine Interplay” and our motto is “Building Resilience, Redefining Value Networks and Enabling Meaningful Experiences”.
We want to support forest sectors transition to a climate-smart, resource-efficient, multifunctional, and humane biosociety. We aim at enhancing forest resilience, sustainable provisioning of ecosystem services for the society, adaptation to and mitigation of climate change, and meaningful living for us all and generations to come. Our goal is to make Finland the global leader in applying versatile forest bioeconomy know-how, novel geospatial technologies, advantaged decision support tools and gamification.
MORE PRECISE FOREST DATA ENABLES DIGITALISATION AND AUTOMATION
We develop innovative technologies to create an accurate digital model of the forest with the accuracy of individual trees. We create the conditions for automation of modeling, the digital twin of forests and the collection of accurate data for decision-making. We enable development by improving the usability of mobile laser scanning sensors and smart algorithms.
“More accurate forest information enables planning of forest management so that the most useful trees in terms of carbon sequestration and biodiversity can be left in the forests. We demonstrate the forest inventory down to the level of a single tree in the metsäkanta.com service and develop decision-making in the harvester in cooperation with companies”Professor Juha Hyyppä, the Finnish Geospatial Research Institute at the National Land Survey of Finland, the leader of the research theme
SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY NEEDS MORE RESEARCH KNOWLEDGE TO SUPPORT DECISION-MAKING
We develop agile and user-friendly knowledge creation methods on individual trees, the relationships between trees, and between forests and the environment, based on multitemporal remote sensing and forest data. We also produce data on forest biodiversity and the ecosystem services they provide, as well as monitoring data on changes in tree cover and landscape at varying time scales. Given the uncertainties associated with these characteristics, the knowledge can be used in decision-support tools.
“To ensure the sustainability of forestry, decision support systems need both data and research-based knowledge on which indicators are needed to describe the state of nature, water and climate, human well-being, the economy and the acceptability of forestry”Research professor Annika Kangas, the Natural Resources Institute Finland, the leader of the research theme
Risk-sensitive tools for decision-making
To support decision-making in forestry, we have developed research-based systems, models, and tradeoff analyses. Planning for the use of forests is hampered by various risks, such as wind and insect damage, and uncertainties. The effects of these will be incorporated into systems, models, and decision-making tools. A new kind of decision support tool combines the spatial and landscape level goals of forest owners.
“With the help of life cycle assessment (LCA), we comprehensively support decision-making in different and novel situations”Associate professor Antti Kilpeläinen from the University of Eastern Finland, leader of the research theme
SUSTAINABLE USE OF FORESTS REQUIRES NEW GAMIFIED APPROACHES
Solving the ecological crisis requires a wide range of new knowledge and literacy about the nature. In addition to knowledge and literacy, we need to engage people with nature and motivate them to live more sustainably. By gamifying and exploring forest experiences and interactions, we create new innovative ways to strengthen both human relationships with nature and sustainable forest management in the areas of learning, well-being, knowledge creation and business.
“With the help of robots and artificial intelligence, it is possible to find new ways of playing with and in forests, and to encourage people to co-create knowledge about nature and to experience nature together”Professor Juho Hamari, Tampere University Gamification Group, leader of the research theme
research themes and who to contact
Technology – Disruptive technologies for capturing forest ecosystem structure and functioning, leader Juha Hyyppä
Methods – Agile knowledge creation from the forest data, leader Annika Kangas
Decision support tools – Smart decision support for human actions in space and time, leader Antti Kilpeläinen
Gamification – Gameful forest interaction for meaningful experiences and practices, leader Juho Hamari
Captain of UNITE Heli Peltola