The plan includes the aim to increase the annual use of domestic wood by a quarter – or 15 million m3.

In 2005, the total value of production of the cluster was about €40bn and R&D investments totalled €350m.

The strategy includes setting up a new company, Forest Cluster Ltd, during this autumn.

According to president and CEO of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation, Anne Brunila, the company would begin in early 2007 with research programmes and their financing.

UPM‘s Jussi Pesonen said the initiative was designed to ensure “the world’s strongest and most successful forest cluster” remains in Finland.

“We need new products, new solutions and the versatile use of wood,” he said.