Finnish Forest Research Institute  Metla

Media release 26.07.2005

Increment of growing stock exceeds cutting potentials in Lapland

During the next few decades the amount of cuttings in the forests of Lapland could be increased from the present, but due to the age structure of the forests the cutting potential is still remaining significantly below the increment of the growing stock. These results were achieved in the analyses of cutting potentials made at the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla) concerning the area of the regional Forestry Centre of Lapland.

According to the 9th national forest inventory (NFI9), the amount of stem wood in the area of the regional Forestry Centre of Lapland is more than 340 million cubic metres, while the average increment during the five-year period prior to the inventory was approximately 12 million cubic metres per year. If the requirements for sustainable timber production, were disregarded, there would be 5.9 million cubic metres of timber available for cutting during the next ten-year period. If the sustainability of timber production is considered, a part of growing stock already mature for harvesting should be saved for future decades. The volume of maximum sustainable cutting during 2003–2012 is 5.1 million cubic metres of commercial timber per year.

The implemented cuttings have been more dominated by Scots pine than suggested in the estimates of cutting potential for the following ten-year period. The average removal from the forests of the regional Forestry Centre of Lapland during 1998–2002 was 3.8 million cubic metres per year, which corresponds to 75 % of the maximum sustainable cutting volume estimated for the following ten-year period. The actual cutting removal comprised 76 % Scots pine, 13 % Norway spruce and 11 % hardwood. Over the 30-year period under examination, the volume of maximum sustainable cutting comprised 68 % Scots pine, 18 % Norway spruce and 15 % hardwood, on average.

Approximately 20 % of forest land and land of low productivity are strictly protected and approximately 23 % is in limited use. Protective measures and limitations on use reduced the immediate cutting potential during the first ten-year period by 3.2 million cubic metres and the sustainable cutting potential by 2.0 million cubic metres per year. The effect of protective measures and limitations on use has already been taken into account in the estimates of cutting potentials.

The analyses of cutting potentials were made using the Finnish MELA software. The analyses were based on the data of the 9th National Forest Inventory (NFI9) carried out during 2002–2003. The estimates of cutting potentials presented above do not represent forecasts of the timber supply or probabilities of actual harvests in the future. In practice, it is the buyers of timber and forest owners who decide how forests will be cut and managed.

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