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Blog | 10/10/2019 09:53:06

UPM Forest Life — Recreating the atmosphere online

Timo Lehesvirta

Senior Manager, Sustainable Forestry Development

It is the week before Midsummer; the summer night is light and the dusk is slowly turning into dawn. It is almost 01:00, and I am walking along a familiar path in UPM’s forest in Janakkala. A Eurasian woodcock is performing a courtship ritual while a cuckoo’s call echoes from across the water. The chirping of a single song thrush signals that the dawn chorus is about to start. The soundscape is astonishing — time seems to stand still in the soothing atmosphere. Even a moment’s silence feels like a sound. Mist covers the landscape. Can we successfully recreate this atmosphere for others online?

I meet up with the person responsible for recording the sounds, Jukka Andersson. We have just four hours to record the first set of sounds before the soundscape changes at 05:00 when the chaffinches and other morning birds wake up. Before that happens, we have to record the sounds of the thrushes and cuckoos. Nature is conveniently predictable. After 02:00, all the song thrushes are singing; at 03:00, it is time to listen to the European robins. The calls of multiple cuckoos echo through the night. The sounds are recorded in vivid detail in the competent hands of Jukka. At dawn, the sun quickly evaporates last night’s dew. The sounds are now turning into a diverse concert. After 05:00, willow warblers, Eurasian blackcaps and dunnocks announce themselves. This morning, the black woodpecker that flies above our heads does not predict death as it does in Finnish folklore, but rather adds welcome notes to the soundscape with its call.

Teemu Tolppa from Metsäkonepalvelu Oy sips coffee and starts to organise a regeneration felling project with confidence and pride. It all starts with planning: It is important to stay out of protected areas and leave retention trees. The material efficiency of wood use is captured in the video. The harvesting site produces raw material for plywood, timber, pulp, paper and energy. Modern technologies come face to face as a drone captures the impressively efficient harvester in action.

From the forest to the lake

We come across an artificial osprey nest. Nesting is over and the young have already left. Our long-time partner, Juhani Koivu from the Osprey Foundation, tells us about building artificial nests in UPM’s forests and the guidelines provided to UPM on how to perform operations near the nests. There are so many stories that only a few of them can be recorded for others to hear.

A tarred rowing boat is waiting for us at the shore. The wind has finally calmed down and we can set off to the lake with the camera crew. I’m a competent rower, so I take the oars. We head off at a slow and steady pace. The smell of tar surrounds us — a sensation that will not be conveyed to the people visiting the website. Fortunately, the oars do not creak thanks to the recently greased rowlocks. The boat glides across the calm lake. We have strapped the latest camera equipment onto the traditional boat, which is a fascinating mix of old and new. A family of swans swims by on one side. I think about my job: Yesterday, I was sitting in a conference room in Europe; today I am rowing across Leppilampi Lake at dawn. 

Great adventure

Jukka Hapulahti from Hämeen metsätyö Oy is planting trees. There are 2000 seedlings per hectare. The spruce seedlings from our own tree nursery are planted in the ideal location by Jukka. Planting is the beginning of the amazing, multi-generational story of the trees. The trees we plant now will be used at the end of this century, in whatever way is deemed the best at the time.

Creating Forest Life was a great adventure and I hope the site’s users will enjoy the experience as much as I did. Forest Life has a lot of content and it can be used for many different purposes. You can learn something new or just enjoy the sounds and atmosphere of the forest. Maybe it will inspire you to take a trip to a forest near you or maybe it will pique your interest in the forest as a workplace or as an investment. We’ll let you form you own opinion about it. How does your forest look like?


Visit UPM Forest Life website


Timo Lehesvirta

Timo Lehesvirta

Senior Manager, Sustainable Forestry Development |