Several indicators of biodiversity have improved in Finnish forests
The research conducted under the wood processing industry's biodiversity roadmap shows that the state of biodiversity in our forests has improved by many key indicators, and the positive trend continues. The new roadmap encourages more extensive implementation of biodiversity measures and emphasises the importance of measurements and the dissemination of information.
The biodiversity roadmap of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation and the Finnish Sawmills Association is a research-based report by the wood-processing community on the state of forest nature and the effects of long-term biodiversity work in the forest sector to date, and a modelling of the future development of forest nature. It is also a shared commitment to contribute to the highlighted developments.
- The measures to strengthen nature are an integral part of forestry. The roadmap will help us better understand the effects of these measures. Research shows that the state of biodiversity has improved in many important indicators, and the trend will continue to be positive in the future as well, says Paula Lehtomäki, Director General of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.
Minister of Climate and the Environment Kai Mykkänen, who spoke at the launch of the roadmap, appreciates the active and science-based approach of the wood processing industry.
- The private sector has the ability and will to produce solutions that have a genuine impact on forest biodiversity. This will also help us achieve our national and international nature targets, Minister of Climate and the Environment Mykkänen says.
No need to reinvent the wheel – familiar actions will work
The foundation of Finnish forest biodiversity will continue to be laid by our native tree species. The roadmap highlights familiar actions that have been proven to have significant effects on biodiversity:
Increasing the amount of broad-leaved trees and mixed forests diversifies forest species and helps forests adapt to climate change.
Increasing the quantity and quality of decaying wood will benefit thousands of species that are dependent on decaying wood.
Valuable habitats are concentrations of biodiversity, the safeguarding of which maintains their diverse species.
There is enormous potential in managing herb-rich forests as well as esker forests and other forests exposed to direct sunlight, as they are home to more than half of the threatened and near-threatened forest species in Finland.
At the launch event, Juha Siitonen, Researcher at the Natural Resources Institute Finland, talked about the effects of measures to improve nature in commercial forests on the presence of threatened and near-threatened species.
- The measures taken in connection with forest management to increase the number of structural features important for biodiversity have clear positive effects on forest species. In some of the measures, the positive effects are visible soon, but in others we may need to wait for decades for the effects to appear. More research data and monitoring of these long-term effects on species are needed, says Siitonen.
With the help of measured data, it is possible to reliably monitor the state of nature and its development. This requires not only data collected by operators, but also national monitoring and inventories. As technology develops, the quality of nature information obtained from forests improves and communication becomes more efficient. There is a clear need to centralise nature information, which would serve both the private and public sectors.
The promotion of biodiversity and the use of forests can be reconciled
The wood processing industry produces numerous products that are part of people's everyday lives for the global market. The availability of wood must be secured in conjunction with safeguarding biodiversity.
- The strengthening of biodiversity is best achieved through close cooperation between industry, forest owners, scientific actors and the public sector. The means of promoting biodiversity must be understandable in practice and be fair not only to nature but also to those who utilise it in different ways, says Tino Aalto, Managing Director of the Finnish Sawmills Association.
The roadmap is an invitation for science-based development work throughout the value chain of wood processing and society at large. Engagement starts from top management of each organisation and runs through the entire organisation. Integrating nature objectives as part of the economy requires diverse cross-sectoral cooperation, which must also be carried out internationally. The aim is to strengthen research cooperation while engaging in active and constructive dialogue on our nature.
However, the promotion of forest biodiversity takes place in the forest, as part of everyday forestry. As it is, the roadmap encourages to continue and improve the work that Finnish forest owners and the entire forest sector are doing for the benefit of biodiversity.
Serving as partners in the biodiversity roadmap project are the Natural Resources Institute Finland, the University of Eastern Finland, Metsäteho Oy, Finnish Geospatial Research Institute and Tapio Palvelut Oy.
In addition to members of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation and the Finnish Sawmills Association, the project has been funded by the Union of Industries and Employers Foundation, the Marjatta and Eino Kolli Foundation and the Puumiesten ammattikasvatussäätiö foundation.
Read more about sustainable forest management in Finland from here.