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A long and multi-stage career

Kintukka Nature and Recreation Services started in 2015. The founder of the company, Hannu Raitio, PhD, is a biologist by training who has had a long career in forestry as a researcher, teacher and manager in scientific administration. At the end of his career, he led a major merger project that resulted in the creation of the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke). Prior to the creation of Luke, Mr Raitio initiated the creation of LYNET, a consortium of natural resources and environmental research, which was formalised by a government decree in 2009. Today it is known as TULANET - a consortium of research institutes. As Director General of Metla, he was a member of the advisory boards and boards of numerous organisations. When Luke started its operations, Mr Raitio moved from the position of Director General of Metla to the position of Director General of Luke, from which he retired in summer 2015.

Raitio started his research career working on micronutrient deficiencies in forest trees, and later on the effects of air pollution on tree health and forest health monitoring. For several years, he worked as a national coordinator of forest programmes for both the United Nations and the European Union.

Crossing boundaries

His doctoral thesis dealt with the damage to pine plantations in Hämeenkankaan. In this context, he made a thorough study of the history and use of forests in Hämeen- and Pohjankankaan. Together with the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, he was the first in Finland to initiate radioecological studies of the forest environment after the Chernobyl nuclear accident. He also initiated cooperation between forest research and medicine. He has promoted research on the interrelationship between forests and human health both in Finland and worldwide, serving as coordinator of the IUFRO Task Force on "Forest and Human Health" and as vice-president of the International Society of Nature and Forest Medicine INFOM for ten years. To develop his profession, he has also studied and trained in Green Care activities and as a forest advocate.

Hannu Raitio has an extensive list of publications. He has published scientific articles in international environmental and forestry journals and several hundred other articles and reports.

Hannu Raitio is Associate Professor of Plant Ecology at the University of Oulu. He was awarded the Emanuel Merck Prize for his work for Finland's forests in 2000 and has been awarded the Order of the Lion of Finland, 1st Class, in 2002 and the Order of the White Rose of Finland, 1st Class, in 2015. In 2019, he was named Alumni of the Year by the University of Oulu.

His hobby is local history work

Hannu Raitio has also actively contributed to the development of his own home region. Already as a schoolboy, he worked as a guide at the Parkano Local History Museum. He is a founding member of the Parkano Local History Society Parkano Society and its first chairman and a long-standing member of the board. He also served as the Parkano Society's representative on a committee appointed by the city when a forest museum was being established in Parkano. For this he was awarded the Golden Medal of Merit of the Finnish Heritage Association in 2017 and has also served as President of the Parkano Tourism Association, where he has been instrumental in promoting cooperation between Parkano and neighbouring municipalities in the tourism sector. He has also been elected Parkanoan of the Year in 2013. In 2022, the Parkano City Board of Education awarded Raitio the Parkano Medal of Merit for his work in the field of local history and culture in Parkano.

After retiring from his position as Director General of the Research Institute and becoming an entrepreneur in the tourism industry, he has been active in promoting the establishment and operation of the Lauhanvuori - Hämeenkangas UNESCO Global Geopark. He is also a Geopark Ranger.