Blog | 10/03/2019 11:15:03

UPM Forest Life — Your virtual forest

Matti Maajärvi

Senior Specialist, Environment, UPM Wood Sourcing and Forestry, North Europe

Around ten years ago, UPM launched the first version of UPM Forest Life, a website taking users on a virtual trip to a Finnish forest. At that time, it was an extremely modern website with all the latest bells and whistles. The website won the prestigious Webby Award in its category and gained a wide user base that included, for example, those in the French education system.

Analytics suggest that until recently, the website was still being used to a certain extent, despite being technologically outdated. However, forests and their multiple benefits have never been more relevant, which is why now is the perfect time to bring UPM Forest Life up to date.

The basic idea of the new website is the same as before: to provide information on Finnish forests and the many possibilities they offer, and outline our work as a frontrunner in sustainable forestry. We want to provide facts in a relaxed way. The content has been recreated from scratch and is presented using modern solutions. Needless to say, mobile use is a central part of the website’s functionality today, and the experience has been enhanced with a little virtual reality (VR), with the help of a separate VR application.

Forest paths provide knowledge and experiences

UPM Forest Life has three user interfaces allowing users to travel down various paths and familiarise themselves with interesting forest-related topics. The website’s main attractions are its four forest paths. The paths are digitalised trips through the forest, where the user travels to different forest areas and comes across species living there, forest professionals performing various tasks and people using the forest for a range of different purposes. The user can find out more about the things they find by watching videos and reading informational articles. In addition to sharing information, we also had the ambitious aim of making the website a memorable experience. Each forest path starts with a cinematic intro film, and the experience is enhanced with nature sounds.

Users can also access the informational content directly via the index, without having to travel down the forest paths. In the index, the informational content has been grouped into four topics: sustainable forestry, species, key biotopes and the multiple uses of the forest. Therefore, the index is a great way to explore specific subjects. In addition to the paths and the index, UPM Forest Life also has a map interface through which users can move to a specific point on the forest path with the click of a button.

Forest represents our values

For us at UPM, the forest is about multiple values and many priorities. We want to take care of them and find the right solutions for their co-existence. UPM Forest Life’s main focuses (wood, biodiversity, climate and water) reflect this mindset. The social benefits that forests provide are also clearly visible, as you meet people along the way. As in real life, these themes intermingle and permeate throughout the whole experience, without having a need to emphasise them.

UPM Forest Life’s story is ongoing, and in the future, it will continue to grow through updates and additional content. I’m pleased to have been able to be a part of this story. It’s a rare opportunity to be involved in the implementation of such a wide and complex communications project. UPM Forest Life offers a combination of informational content, visuality and atmosphere, and it also represents the direction we want to take discussion in the forest sector.

Experience all of this with your own senses! What do you think?


Visit UPM Forest Life website!


Matti Maajärvi

Matti Maajärvi

Senior Specialist, Environment, UPM Wood Sourcing and Forestry, North Europe |