Finland is known as a land of thousands of lakes and billions of trees. We also have no shortage of arguments, claims and debates. We have plenty of those, even more than lakes and trees.

This works in our favour; a good debate lifts the spirits and offers new ideas and information. A poor debate benefits no one and certainly does not encourage innovation.

When talking about forests, we all tend to let our emotions get to us and the debate may get exaggerated. I recognise this in myself as well. These days, social media and other types of platforms are full of bad arguments. They commonly feature claims based on false or groundless information. The forest sector has had more than its share of these arguments.

I admit that this bothers me. Tackling false information also takes a lot of time and never seems to go anywhere. That is why I thought it might be a good idea to collect some forest-related arguments we have recently seen in the public discourse as well as our responses to them:

Claim: Finnish forests no longer act as a sink.

Fact: Sink sizes vary each year, but Finnish forests continue to be a significant carbon sink.

Claim: Felling depletes the forest resources of Finland

Fact: The forest resources of Finland have increased annually for more than 50 years.

Claim: Today, the forest industry is quite an insignificant part of the Finnish economy

Fact: One in every five euros gained in Finland from the export of goods comes from the forest industry.

Claim: The forest industry causes deforestation in Finland.

Fact: Deforestation refers to converting woodland into other uses. In Finland, the Forest Act requires that forests are regenerated after felling.

Claim: A forest cannot accommodate biodiversity and commercial forestry at the same time.

Fact: Healthy, biodiverse forests are a prerequisite for forestry, and the forest industry promotes biodiversity in many different ways.

Claim: Our forests do not contain enough decaying wood.

Fact: That is true, which is why it is systematically increased through forest certification in the form of decaying wood and retention trees. 93% of the Finnish commercial forest area is certified (FSC and PEFC).

Claim: Forestry has caused some species to become endangered.

Fact: That is both correct and incorrect. About 9% of our forest species are endangered, some of them due to forestry. In other words, 91% of the assessed forest species are doing quite well in the modern combination of commercial forest and conservation.

This was a small information package on a much wider topic. Let’s continue the debates, making sure to stick to the facts instead of fiction.