North Karelia Biosphere reserve

20th anniversary conference "pearls of the coniferous forest"

October 30 – November 2  2012 in Joensuu, Finland

NOTE: Most session presentations including summaries of the workshops are now available  and are being updated now and then. However, the conclusions and electronic conference report with abstracts will be published in early 2013. We will keep you posted! Contact us in case of urgent issues.



The International, three-day conference seeked local and regional solutions to reconcile between various human activities and nature.  We worked in six sessions: namely: Forest ecosystems, Renewable energy & climate change, Nature tourism, Green mining, Border area nature and Networks & collaboration. Border area issues were also exemplified through the border regions in general and the Green Belt of Fennoscandia, which consists of the bordering areas of Finland, Russia, and Norway.


The six themes of the congress were explored through lectures and intensive workshops in reference to sustainable development, multi-disciplinary research and various collaborative actions and networks especially on regional level. Biosphere Reserves was one example of regional, collaborative approaches.



The official first day of conference was 31.10.2012. The day began with registrations, after which participants proceeded to the opening session, to theme sessions and a later conference reception dinner by the city of Joensuu.  On the second day of the conference (1.11.2012), a specially designed conference excursion covering each theme session gave participants an insight into how various human activities and nature co-exist along the Finnish – Russian border which lies within the North Karelia Biosphere Reserve.


On the final day (2.11.2012), participants assembled according to sessions during the morning hours for workshops on key questions brought up during the conference period. Summaries on how various functions discussed in workshops could be reconciled were then concluded in the afternoon during the plenary comprising of all conference participants from all six sessions after which participants departed to their various destinations.



For more information on the conference:




“JOENSUU- the forest capital of Europe”

Over three decades now, North Karelia, and particularly the city of Joensuu, has increasingly become the centre of expertise in the forest sector. The initiations of the Joensuu Research Station of the Finnish Forest Research Institute in 1981 followed by commencement of university education in forestry in the following year of 1982 were aspects that stimulated environmental researches within this region. Joensuu is also home to the European Forest Institute which launched its operations in the year 1993. The affluence of forest resources, forest industries and forestry technology within the region has led to North Karelia being renowned as “Europe’s Forest Region” and the City of Joensuu the “Forest Capital of Europe”.


Get acquainted with the city of Joensuu live at virtual Joensuu.