SOBIO Days 2021

The Role of Forest in Future Biosociety
22 nd – 23 rd November 2021
Hybrid event, in Joensuu campus and online via Teams

SOBIO network and FORES doctoral programme invite scholars and students to this networking event to meet fellow biosociety researchers. In this event we will discuss the role of the forests in future bioeconomy and biosociety.

Forests are resources of a wide variety of ecological, social, cultural, and economic benefits for society, and we expect forests to perform multiple functions. There is no doubt that forests will play a significant role in the future existence of biosociety. But what will this role look like? Moving towards climate neutral economy is anticipated to increase the demand for energy and material demand of wood whiles the importance of non-wood products and amenity values are increasingly gaining importance for forests contribution to human wellbeing, both physically and psychologically. This wide variety of forest uses is accompanied by different interests, values, and principles that interest groups represent. Managing multiple tangible and intangible, often conflicting demands whiles simultaneously ensuring the preservation of biodiversity and ecological values requires different policies and good governance of forest management.

SOBIO days 2021 will focus on two topics – Forest policy and governance, and recreational use of forests. Join us in learning about the future role of forests in future biosociety by listening to expert keynotes and discussing in workshops with fellow members of the SOBIO network. We invite you to accompany the workshops either as presenters, to give a short introduction to your research topic at the pitch session (max. 5min with or without 1-3 illustrative slides) or as an attendee to hear the presenters and participate in the discussions. We strongly encourage especially the PhD and junior researchers to join and would love to hear about your research topics.


Dr Helga Pülzl, EFI: “Forest Europe and the future of pan-Europe forest policy-making”

Helga Pülzl works as Assistant Director for Policy Support at the European Forest Institute. Helga has a PhD and Masters’ degree in political science from the University of Vienna. Her main field of interest is in European and international forest governance, policy change as well as forest-related bioeconomy research, including sustainability impact assessment and sustainability indicators development. She has provided expertise to international organizations (e.g. UNECE, FAO, Forest Europe) as well as to the European Commission (e.g. DG AGRI, DG Grow, Eurostat) and national ministries (e.g. Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism) and taken part in numerous regional and international meetings (for example Expert Level Meetings of the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe since 2000, and United Nations Forum on Forests since 2002).

More about her publications. More about her assignment in EFI news page.

Professor Juho Pesonen, UEF: “Intersections of forests and tourism in Finland”

Juho Pesonen is a professor of tourism business at the Centre for Tourism Studies in the University of Eastern Finland Business School. In his research, Juho focuses on how information and communication technologies are changing the tourism business, tourists, and their behavior. He also has a keen interest in destination marketing in digital channels.

More about his career and publications in his website and UEF Connect.

Dr. Sari Pitkänen, Regional Council of North Karelia:” Topical Matters on the North Karelia Climate and Energy Programme 2030”

Sari Pitkänen works as a local forest- and climate specialist in Regional Council of North Karelia. Among her duties are preparation of the North Karelia Climate and Energy Programme, and regional and international expert work in forest bioeconomy and circular economy. Pitkänen has previously worked e.g. at the UEF as coordinator of the bioeconomy program. The career also includes positions in the service of Enso-Gutzeit (now Stora Enso) and the Finnish Forest Research Institute (now LUKE).

More about her in Regional Council of North Karelia Website.


Monday 22.11.2021: Forest policy day

Time and place | 12 – 16 (Finnish time, UTC+2h), in Aurora AU112, Joensuu campus & online in Teams

12.00 | Opening words: Kaisa Vainio, SOBIO network coordinator

12.05 – 13.00 | Keynote: Helga Puelzl: “Forest Europe and the future of pan-Europe forest policy-making” (chair: Irmeli Mustalahti)

13.00 – 13.30 | Comment speech: Sari Pitkänen:” Topical Matters on the North Karelia Climate and Energy Programme 2030” (chair: Teppo Hujala)

13:30 – 13:45 | Break

13.45 – 15.30 | Future of forests – workshop: Pitch session & discussion (chair: Moritz Albrecht, host: Denis Dobrynin)

Researchers introducing their research topics, followed by discussion.

How we estimate the tangible and intangible value of the forests depends on the involvement of various actors in decision-making as well as policy and governance tools in the regulation of forest management and forest conservation. Here we discuss the different policies and governance related to forests.

Research introductions:

  • Annukka Näyhä: Future-oriented collaborative business models as a remedy for the sustainability transition: Finnish forest-based sector as an empirical arena for the creation of a transition framework
  • Rijal Ramdani: Peatland fires and palm oil expansion in the tropics: Between responsibilization and collaborative Governance.
  • Maija Halonen: Sustainability transition in forest peripheries in Finland
  • Anna Mustonen: Land-use planning on landscape level in tackling climate and biodiversity challenges
  • Mona Nazari: The world of PES (payment for ecosystem services) with and without social media
  • Irmeli Mustalahti: Responzibilization of forest governance
  • Denis Dobrynin: Forestry on abandoned agricultural lands in Russia – plausible scenarios (preliminary results)
  • Jana Holz: Socio-ecological mentalities and forest-based bioeconomy

15.30 Conclusion | Teppo Hujala

Afternoon coffee, free networking

Tuesday 23.11.2021: Forest recreation day

Time and place | 9 – 12 (Finnish time, UTC+2h) Aurora AU112, Joensuu campus & online in Zoom

9.00 – 10.00 | Keynote: Juho Pesonen: “Intersections of forests and tourism in Finland” (chair: Henna Konu)

10.15 – 12.00 | Sustainable tourism and recreation in forest – workshop: Pitch session & discussion (chair: Teppo Hujala, host Daniela Nousiainen)

Researchers introducing their research topics covering the following theme:

How recreation, tourism and forestry can be combined in the same forest? How do the demands of the tourism business affect other forest use? What is the importance of forests for human wellbeing and recreation? How to find the balance between the different forest users? What is the intangible value of the forest? Here we discuss forests as an immaterial resource for businesses and individuals.

Research introductions:

  • Tuulikki Halla: Studying forest professionals’ relationships with forest
  • Anu Laakkonen: Enhancing sustainability of networked business in forest-based circular bioeconomy by adopting an ecosystem services approach
  • Daniela Nousiainen: Conflicts over the recreational use of forests
  • Satu Helenius: Forestry based social enterprises as business models for pluralistic value creation
  • Kaisa Vainio: Trees Near Us – about the human-tree relationships

12.00 | Conclusion, closing words: Irmeli Mustalahti.

Networking lunch at your own expense (each person will be paying for a meal of their own choice)


Organizing committee: Kaisa Vainio, Satu Helenius, Daniela Nousiainen and Denis Dobrynin

Questions about the seminar and registration can be addressed to Daniela Nousiainen,

Regarding any other questions about SOBIO: Kaisa Vainio, SOBIO coordinator,

About the organizing networks

Social Scientific Biosociety Research Network (SOBIO) is a multidisciplinary research network, which brings together scholars studying social aspects of bioeconomy. SOBIO constitutes one of the research networks of University of Eastern Finland. SOBIO works with close collaboration with LUKE and EFI.

More information:

Doctoral Programme in Forests and Bioresources (FORES) is a thematic, multidisciplinary programme covering forests and sustainable use of forests. With a strong international focus, our programme covers all fields of forest sciences and research training for postgraduate students with an interest in the forest-based bioeconomy, renewable resources and biomaterials. With a unique profile at the University of Eastern Finland, ours is the only doctoral programme in Finland focused on forests and renewable resources and biomaterials provided by them.

More information: