Forest Bioenergy Production, Finland

By: Heli Saarikoski (SYKE), Suvi Vikstrom (SYKE)
Web: Anders L. Madsen (HUGIN)
27 January 2017


The Finnish case study on forest management focused on how intensification of forest bioenergy production can influence provision of forest ecosystem services.

The research process started with a biophysical assessment on the impacts of forest bioenergy production in the Hmeenlinna case study area (Forsius et al. 2016). The results fed into a multi-criteria decision analysis process, which was carried out with regional level stakeholders to assess the trade-offs related to ES provision in alternative forest bioenergy scenarios. The analysis revealed several uncertainties and interactions in the biophysical assessment: the rotation period of forest management is long and changes take place slowly, and long-term climate trends may have important influences on the productivity of forest ecosystems. Due to the uncertainties, the research team decided to use a BBN, which can make use of expert judgements about the probability of changes in forest ecosystems.

When constructing the BBN, ten national level stakeholders from different interest groups were involved in framing the problem domain and in building an influence diagram representing related variables and their dependencies. The initial influence diagram was presented in a first workshop with the stakeholders and modified following stakeholder feedback. For instance, a number of forestry actors pointed out that some consequences on soil productivity are not likely to take place because of the new forest bioenergy extraction recommendations. The modified model was sent out for a second round of consultation and further modification. The agreed graphical model structure was then transformed into a quantitative form (BBN) by inserting probabilistic information provided through interviewing expert researchers. At a second workshop, the constructed BBN model was reviewed with both the stakeholders and researchers. The involved stakeholders will be consulted one more time before the model finds its final form.

According to the National Law for Conservation of Native Forest, the tree cover and the ecosystem services generated by forest should be maintained in time. We have modelled the capacity to generate five ecosystem services by this system, i.e., fuel-wood production, habitat quality for native fauna, grass production, protection of soil and water and recreation quality. We model how this capacity may change with different levels of use.

Interactive Front-end

Below are some HUGIN widgets for interacting with the model.

Forest Bioenergy Use

Time and Economic Variables

Environmental Impact

Ecosystem Criteria



Forsius, M., Akujrvi, A., Mattsson, T., Holmberg, M., Punttila, P., Posch, M., Liski, J., Repo, A., Virkkala, R., Vihervaara, P., 2016. Modelling impacts of forest bioenergy use on ecosystem sustainability: Lammi LTER region, southern Finland. Ecol. Indic. 65, 66-75. DOI

References for those interested in BBN include:

Kjærulff, U. B. and Madsen, A. L. (2013) Bayesian Networks and Influence Diagrams: A Guide to Construction and Analysis. Springer, Second Edition.

Contact information

For further details on the model: Heli Saarikoski or Suvi Vikstrom

For further details on the use of Bayesian networks and web deployment of models contact: Anders L Madsen (alm(at)hugin(dot)com)