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State of Finland's Forests 2012: Finnish forests and
forest management in a nutshell

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Forestry is long-term networking with multiple dimensions

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 family enterprises.

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.

 

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  Updated: 05.07.2013 /MLier |  Photo: Erkki Oksanen, Metla, unless otherwise stated | Copyright Metla | Feedback