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

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Private forest owners - family forests predominate

As in other countries in western Europe, forests in Finland are mainly owned by private people and families. In the principal growth area, southern and central Finland, about 3/4 of all forests are in private ownership, and in some areas in southern Finland the percentage can exceed 90%. State forests are for the most part situated in northern and eastern Finland. Private forestry is in fact the linchpin of the Finnish forest economy, as the growing stock volume, annual increment and fellings in private forests each account for between 64% and 83% of the total. Private forests produce over 80% of the roundwood purchased annually by the forest industry in Finland.

Forest land, growing stock, annual increment and commercial harvesting by forest ownership category.

 

Forest land area %

Growing stock volume on forest and low productive forest land %

Annual increment on forest and low productive forest land %

Commercial roundwood removals %

Forest ownership category

2004–2008

2004–2008

2004–2008

2000–2009

Private

60

64

73 1

83 1

State

26

21

272

9

Companies

9

9

..

8

Other (municipalities, parishes, associations and societies)

5

6

..

..

1private + other
2
state + companies


Source: Statistical Yearbook of Forestry 2009

Old and young generation of the family thinking on the
management of their own forest property.

 

Some 74% of private forests are family-owned. The average size of holdings is 30 hectares. There are 375,000 forest property entities of over two hectares. There are more forest owners than there are holdings, because spouses often have joint ownership of a holding. As estates and pools have an average of four partners, the number of people owning at least two hectares of forest is estimated to be about 737,000. In other words, one out of every eight Finns is a forest owner.

The fact that forests remain in the hands of families, passed on in inheritance from one generation to the next, is an indication of the predominance of rural habitation. With sweeping structural changes in society, however, the composition of forest owners is also changing, becoming urbanised. About 56% of forest owners live in sparsely populated areas and 44% in built-up areas, towns and cities. The number of forest owners is also growing, as holdings are split up in conjunction with the distribution of estates. Today, the largest single socio-economic group among private forest owners (about 45%) are pensioners.

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  Updated: 27.02.2012 /MLier |  Photo: Erkki Oksanen, Metla, unless otherwise stated | Copyright Metla | Feedback