How digitalisation enhances efficiency and sustainability in forestry

How can digitalisation enhance efficiency and sustainability in forestry?

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Forest is the foundation for Stora Enso’s business. It is where our heart lies, and so much depends on what we do with this rich resource. To work with the forest the best way, we need to know as much as possible about it. By getting more accurate data about forests, we can make better and more sustainable decisions, manage our forests better, improve our forestry operations, and provide better digital services for private forest owners.

Digitalisation has changed the way we create value for our business and our stakeholders. When we implement new tools and get more data, we can drive actual change – and that is the most significant benefit of forest digitalisation. But what does this mean in practice: how have we created new value through digitalisation?

Combining forest data from various sources: Digital twin of forest

Our Precision Forestry programme uses modern tools and technology such as drones, satellites, LIDAR and harvester machines to collect detailed forest data for monitoring and planning of forestry operations and biodiversity actions, as well as for decision making. With this granular data, we can recognize for example tree species, their height, diameter and volume, as well as harvester location or damage caused by wind or insects. By combining these multiple data layers, we can create an up-to-date and accurate digital twin of forest. This enables us and other forest owners to manage forests more precisely and at the same time maximize the value of our forest assets.

Improved efficiency

Detailed forest data has many benefits. We can increase the efficiency in our operations and reduce our CO2 emissions through enhanced digital monitoring and reporting. More accurate forest data has enabled us to, for example, increase supply chain efficiency through reduced roadside inventory levels, optimise purchase volumes, and decrease quality losses. Even small enhancements in data accuracy can have a big impact due to the scale of our operations.

Managing biodiversity and wood production side by side

Digital tools have a long-established role in planning forest management, but until recently, they have been optimised mainly for wood production. With the rise of new technologies and broader availability of biodiversity data, there is increasing potential to take a more integrated approach to forestry. By combining forest and biodiversity data from various sources, we can model and manage biodiversity and wood production side-by-side. This helps to ensure, that the decisions we make today have a positive impact both on biodiversity and the increased need for renewable materials in the future.

Enhanced forest owner experience

Nowadays, customers expect to get service digitally. If customers don’t find the service easy, they go somewhere else. The importance of accessing forest data digitally anytime, anywhere is also increasing, as the distance between the forest owner and their forests may be significant. Stora Enso provides a broad range of digital services to private forest owners in Finland. Digitalisation has enabled a smooth, fast, and personalized experience for forest owners to sell their wood and buy forest management and other services. For Stora Enso's forest experts, the new digital tools and up-to-date data mean improved productivity, efficiency and safety, as the need for forest visits decreases.

Looking for new opportunities to leverage digitalisation

Advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, increased use of data and digitalised business processes enable more efficient operations, better forest management and broader range of forest owner services. New opportunities arise all the time, and we will keep up with the changes and continue developing our digitalisation efforts to leverage the full potential and create value.

The United Nations’ International Day of Forests, celebrated on 21 March, highlights the importance of innovations, digitalisation, and new technologies in the forest industry. Sustainability and biodiversity management, combined with need for increased efficiency, are having an ever bigger role in all forest owners’ decision-making. By leveraging all digitalisation possibilities, we can maximize the value of our forests, enhance biodiversity and keep our forests healthy.

*The article image is generated by AI.