Elias Hurmekoski

The other day, I was confronted with the opportunity to join the Ph.D. scholars of the Foundation for European Forest Research working under the auspices of the European Forest Institute. Being a rather recent graduate from the University of Eastern Finland, School of Forest Sciences, it was an easy decision and a logical step for me to take. Although I was supposed to gain new experiences away from my past surroundings after my graduation, I now find myself back in Joensuu, the city often referred to as the forestry capital of Europe. Before my studies, I had no previous ties to the forest sector, other than being surrounded by forests which is something that is unavoidable in Finland. I was drawn to forest sciences mainly because I wanted to become responsible for managing renewable natural resources and also due to the interdisciplinary nature of that particular field of science that suited my wide-ranging interest towards multi-faceted issues.

The topic of my Ph.D. work relates to forest economics, but it will extend the scope of interest to cover elements from futures studies as well. As the working title of the project (Outlook for European Wood Products Markets and Trade) suggests, the study will concentrate on the future development of the European wood products industry. At first, special interest will be on the validity of the methods used to approach the topic, as hitherto, despite the long traditions in forest-related outlook studies and the recent efforts to take these issues into consideration, the methodological underpinnings have remained rather unquestioned. Later on, the work will concentrate on more specific topics. Although quantitative methods will be applied, point forecasts of future developments are not pursued as they are unable to account for feasible structural changes that are of particular interest to decision-makers. The work endeavors to serve both policy-making and academic research on the topic.

The moment seems suitable for this achingly interesting research, with topics ranging from arising trade-offs and complexities regarding the global operational environment to the multiple developments foreshadowing the regeneration of the forest-based sector. Major changes are already undergoing and the pace of technological and social development is unlikely to decelerate, meaning that there is increasing demand for well-performed foresight.

Visit also my staff page and my project site at EFI.