Forestry is long-term networking with multiple
Long-term sustainable wood production in private forests has
been secured by forest legislation since 1886. The obligation to
regenerate the forest after final fellings has been and remains
to this day the basic principle of the law. This principle – which
in practice amounts to an injunction against the destruction of forests – has remained in place, even though forest legislation
has been revised to accommodate new needs of society.
Government actions, legislation, national and regional forest
programmes as well as the actions of and cooperation among
private forest owners have all supported the attainment of the
goal of sustainability. The central government encourages forest
owners to use good silvicultural practices in the management
of their forests. Government support is available for safeguarding
sustainable wood production, maintenance of forest biodiversity
and improvement of the health of forests; recently it
has also been made available for the harvesting of small-sized
wood for bioenergy production.
Within the limits permitted by the law, forest owners make the
decisions regarding all measures undertaken in their forests.
Many forest owners or their family members engage in practical
silvicultural work themselves, and some owners also harvest
their own trees. However, the majority of fellings are carried
out by wood procurement organisations on behalf of forest
industry corporations under felling contracts (standing sales).
The wood procurement organisations, in turn, purchase fellingand transportation services from forest machinery entrepreneurs
and timber transportation companies, most of the latter being
The first associations of forest owners were established in Finland
in the early 1900s to promote joint action. The forest management
associations are organised regionally into unions of
forest management associations. The basic function of the associations
is to promote the profitability of forest management
undertaken by private forest owners and the attainment of other
goals they have set for their forests. The associations also provide
advisory services and education for the forest owners. The
operations of the forest management associations are financed
by service fees and statutory forest management fees paid by
the forest owners. Forest management fees account for 10% of
the associations’ income on average.
Thanks to long-term measures aiming at sustainable forest management,
the annual increment of growing stock in Finland has
over the last 40 years exceeded the drain by about one quarter,
the fellings and wood use are smaller than the increment. In fact,
the standing timber stock in Finland today is greater than it has
ever been during Finland’s independence, i.e. since 1917.