Greetings from President and CEO Johanna Buchert

A Year for Revising Our Strategy

In 2019, we revised Luke’s strategy, together with our personnel and stakeholders. According to our vision, renewable natural resources enable wellbeing and a sustainable future. Our new strategy focuses on a climate-smart carbon cycle, an adaptable and recoverable bioeconomy, profitable and responsible primary production, as well as the circular bioeconomy. 

Our high-quality research helps solve global challenges. We believe that agriculture, forestry and fishery play an important part in enabling the bioeconomy, securing the emergency supply, producing food for the growing population and helping mitigate climate change. These challenges place an increasing emphasis on the need for and expectations of information based on research, expertise and statistical services.

Luke’s operations are divided between research (70% of the annual volume), official and expert activities (20%), direct customer activities (5%) and statistical services (5%). Research is further divided into four research programmes: Boreal Green Bioeconomy, Innovative Food System, Blue Bioeconomy, and BioSociety.

In terms of official and expert activities, we monitor, for example, game and fish population estimates to support the sustainable use of natural resources, as well as the National Forest Inventory (VMI), forest and crop damage, and loads on watercourses caused by forestry. The approximately 60 tasks assigned for Luke in laws and agreements also cover the greenhouse gas inventory, the protection of genetic resources, and forest and fish processing.

In 2019, we also prepared a reindeer pasture inventory, calculated protection values for fish species and participated in evaluating the conservation status of different species. We improved the availability of data by opening the and services and by developing the service. Statistics of natural resources form a significant knowledge base for decision-making processes. During the year, we produced 56 different statistics, a yearbook of food and natural resource statistics and Finnish forest statistics 2019 – all hefty data packages for everyone interested.

The Boreal Green Bioeconomy programme studies the forest bioeconomy, ranging from genetics all the way to the further processing of different side streams. Inventories of forest resources in EU states were harmonised in the DIABOLO EU project coordinated by Luke. The EU-funded Efforte project aimed to find ways towards more sustainable and effective forestry without increasing loads on the environment or soil. The extensive forest inventory project (VMI2020), carried out with the Government’s key project funding, was completed, and its most visible results (VMI calculation services) were released.

Furthermore, we studied the impact of peatlands on climate change in a number of different projects to identify not only sustainable wood production in peatlands, but also the opportunities of regeneration and ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and loads on watercourses from peatland forests and fields. We conducted research on continuous cover forestry, ranging from its biological and technical foundations all the way to its financial, societal and ecological impact and operating models.

The Innovative Food System programme develops plant- and animal-based food concepts from primary production to end products. Our goal is to provide sustainable opportunities for domestic food production and to accelerate exports of innovative food and other products made from Nordic ingredients. A research package was also launched under the programme to promote the processing and development of Finnish oats.

Moreover, we studied the production and further processing of protein crops, the impact of microbes and their use in the food chain under several projects. A more sustainable milk chain is one of the focus points of our research: we aim to make milk production more sustainable by means of animal processing, domestic grass production, as well as innovative feeding and manure processing.

The Blue Bioeconomy programme promotes sustainable fishing and the maintenance of diverse fish populations and develops new ways to increase Finnish fish production. A new research platform based on a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) was opened in the Laukaa research unit. The use of an RAS can significantly reduce loads on watercourses, and Luke’s research increases productivity so that the use of an RAS can speed up Finnish aquaculture production towards self-sufficiency.

An extensive H2020 project was launched, coordinated by Luke, to combine selective fish breeding with optimised feeding from the perspectives of fish health and production. During the year, we also studied the further processing of low-value fish and gutting waste into high added-value products and tested the most promising processes on a pre-industrial scale. Research can help to build new sustainable business, which promotes circular economy, from under-used fish material.

The BioSociety programme analyses the ecological, financial and societal impact of the different forms of the bioeconomy on policies and business development, among others. We have produced information about the carbon sequestration potential of Finnish forests, different ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture and future paths towards a carbon-neutral climate.

Furthermore, we have produced methods and models for bringing different ways of using natural resources together, for example, using the Forest Indicator tool, with which we can evaluate the impact of different policies on biodiversity, climate, loads on watercourses and wood production. In addition, we have produced information about the reform of agricultural policies, the societal impact of land arrangements and links between the profitability of agriculture, manure logistics, an improved nutrient cycle and controlled clearing of forests into fields.

In terms of research, we want to assume a more active role in EU cooperation. During 2019, we were able to increase EU funding and launched 13 new H2020 projects. We have put the know-how produced through top-quality research into practice in applied research projects. As a new instrument for cooperation, we launched pre-competitive public private partnership projects. We have successfully built these for silvicultural methods and the management and use of peatlands. Demand for Luke’s service range has increased among customers, and customer-funded projects have made good progress.