Current and future products as the basis for value chains of birch in Finland
Verkasalo, Erkki; Heräjärvi, Henrik; Möttönen, Veikko; Haapala, Antti; Brännström, Hanna; Vanhanen, Henri; Miina, Jari (2017)
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Natural Resources Institute Finland, Luke
Birch-based value chains have stayed rather unchanged during the last two decades. In Finland, plywood, pulp, wood-free papers and paperboards together with sawn goods, flooring materials, furniture, facing veneers, firewood and forest residues as chips have formed the backbone for the birch uses. Valuable specialty handicraft products utilizing, for example, curly-grained or flame-grained birch have relatively small economic importance but considerable image value for birch. The most significant changes in business can be seen in the networks of primary and further manufacturing enterprises, distribution and sales companies and supplying practitioners, diversification of product segments within each sub-sector and in resources and sourcing of raw materials and primary products. Some new products such as thermally treated wood and sap products from birch have already been introduced to the market. Global competition has become stronger especially in plywood (Russian production) and fine papers (eucalypt pulps). Distribution and manufacturing chains have also changed much in the solid wood products and furniture. Current trends suggest that new innovative value chains based on side streams of primary industries and specialty products relying on the unique chemical or physical characteristics of birch are growing. Biorefinery processes provide new fibre-based products and advanced liquid and solid fuels as well as specialty chemicals for both large-volume techno-chemical industries and specialized industries in health and well-being sector, where the products are used as a variety of functional effective agents. Birch bark has shown a similar potential. Nature-based non-wood forest products, such as natural sap liquids and their derivatives, or high-value specialty mushrooms growing on stems, for example Pakuri based products, provide new value chains for human well-being as well. Traditional wood products have found new pathways in further-processed products, such as veneer in safety and credit cards, plywood in design-shaped furniture and sawn wood or plywood in antimicrobial interior products. In this paper, we present a state-of-the-art on birch products as a basis for value chains in Finland and discuss the market-driven trends, stressing new innovative value chains for the next decade. We provide an insight on the prospective development of birch product palette and role of raw materials as well as value networks and market and supply players.
- Julkaisut