About the Project

FOBIA aims to enhance the business competitiveness of forestry service enterprises in the NPA regions of Finland, Sweden, Scotland and Ireland by: (1) identifying and implementing innovative business models; (2) providing tools for increasing operational efficiency; and (3) developing and piloting the use of digital platforms for knowledge transfer, networking and trading of services.

Forestry is an economically important industry across much of the Northern Periphery. The NPA areas of Sweden and Finland produce 30% and 60% respectively of domestic roundwood consumption, and timber harvesting alone employs around 10,000 people. In the NPA areas of Ireland and Scotland, annual timber production is forecast to increase significantly over the next 10 years (almost doubling in Ireland to reach 2.7M m3 and increasing by 30% in Scotland to 4.5M m3). Mobilising this wood flow will require considerable investment and development of forestry services.

The scale of forestry businesses providing timber harvesting and silvicultural services ranges from self-employed sole-traders and micro-enterprises, to larger companies operating dozens of machines. These businesses are required to provide an increasingly diverse range of services, as more business activities are outsourced (e.g. planning, quality control and reporting). Many forestry entrepreneurs lack the management skills required to successfully meet these increased demands, and their ability to acquire new skills is often constrained by a lack of time and the long distances involved in accessing training.

Many forestry service businesses are also experiencing declining profitability, making it difficult to recruit and retain skilled employees. FOBIA will address these barriers by developing resources and tools, available through digital platforms, to help forestry entrepreneurs improve profitability through new business models, increased operational efficiency and enhanced management skills and leadership.