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Media release June 14, 2010  
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Finland puts emphasis on renewable wooden energy in order to mitigate climate change

Finland’s forests are a substantial carbon sink. In 2008 Finland’s forests sequestrated 35 million tons of CO2. In Finland strong emphasis has been put on the mitigation issues by promoting the use of wood. These actions include the increased use of wood-based bioenergy (including biofuels) and wooden construction. Harvested wood products make up a considerable carbon store that has gradually increased since the 1990s.

In spring 2010, the Finnish Government agreed on a energy package that promotes to increase the use renewable energy, inter alia increasing the use of forest chips from 6.0 million m³ in 2009 to 13.5 million m³ per year by 2020. Safeguarding environmental conditions on the site by wooden biomass extraction need more attention and research, while the soil nutrient loss and water protection have been considered as environmental threats by the increased extraction of wooden biomass.

Effects of expected climate change on Finland’s forests

Climate change scenario projections for the northern Boreal parts of Europe suggest that by 2100 the annual mean temperature will increase by about by 2–6 degrees. The main effects of expected climate change in Finland’s boreal vegetation zone are inter alia: growing season in the northern coniferous zone is likely to lengthen; forest growth may increase; wind damage will become more prevalent; and in the temperate zone insect pests are expected to spread northwards, possible causing damage on a massive scale in the northern polar region. A consequence of climate change could be a northwards shift in the tree-line zone in the northern part of Finnish Lapland and the gradual extinction of certain species in forests in tree-line areas.

Improving ability of forests to adapt to climate change

Good and timely forest management is seen as the main way of improving the ability of forests to adapt to climate change. In forest regeneration, depending on stand conditions, both natural regeneration as well as planting and seeding with improved genetic breeding material are recommended. Awareness of the importance of forest management in adapting to climate change must be increased among members of the public, forest owners and those responsible for forest management.

These conclusions have been published in Metla’s Working Paper 159. The study is based on the Finnish COST Action FP 0707 Expected Climate Change and Options for European Silviculture (ECHOES) country report published in 2009 and is compiled with updated information. Over twenty leading Finnish scientist contributed to this publication presenting an overview on Finland’s forest in changing climate.

The report can be downloaded at: http://www.metla.fi/julkaisut/workingpapers/2010/mwp159-en.htm

Additional information:

  • Prof. Jari Parviainen, jari.parviainen @ metla.fi
  • Dr Elina Vapaavuori, elina.vapaavuori @ metla.fi
  • Prof. Annikki Mäkelä, University of Helsinki, annikki.makela @ helsinki.fi
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