University of Oulu

Kellokumpu, V. (2022). The bioeconomy, carbon sinks, and depoliticization in Finnish forest politics. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, 5(3), 1164–1183.

The bioeconomy, carbon sinks, and depoliticization in Finnish forest politics

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Author: Kellokumpu, Ville1
Organizations: 1Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: SAGE Publications, 2021
Publish Date: 2022-01-04


The forest bioeconomy in Finland has emerged as a project that seeks to resolve emergent contradictions in the capitalist ecological regime and to reconfigure spatial, temporal, and economic relations. The bioeconomy rose to public consciousness during the 2010s, especially after its adoption as one of the spearhead projects of the 2015–2019 center-right coalition government. The forest industry’s bioeconomic plans are also an attempt to hegemonize and depoliticize a particular political view of forests in the era of climate change. In this paper, the politics of the bioeconomy and carbon sinks are scrutinized in the context of the 2019 parliamentary election season, during which forest use was a central political issue due to investments in new biorefineries. A data set of 80 newspaper articles is analyzed through critical discourse analysis. The analysis identifies three key discursive frames that legitimize the political imaginary of the bioeconomy: 1) rural reinvigoration and the defense of the nation’s peripheries through spatial populism; 2) a view of forests as high-throughput carbon conveyors that conform to the temporalities of capital; 3) the establishment of the bioeconomy as a high-value accumulation regime that can resolve the profitability crisis of the paper and pulp production model.

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Series: Environment and planning. E, Nature and space
ISSN: 2514-8486
ISSN-E: 2514-8494
ISSN-L: 2514-8486
Volume: 5
Issue: 3
Pages: 1164 - 1183
DOI: 10.1177/25148486211049322
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 519 Social and economic geography
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2021. Article reuse guidelines: