FO1 Wood removals
Total roundwood removals refers to the total amount of wood that has been removed from the forest as a result of loggings. It consists of all commercially cut trees as well as the timber and energy wood cut for household use. The annual roundwood removals fluctuated around 50 million cubic meters at the end of the 1980s. At the beginning of 1990s it declined notably but increased soon again and has remained at approximately 60 million cubic meters during the past decade. In 2007 the total roundwood removals reached an all-time high at 64 million cubic meters.
During 1990–1999 the total roundwood removals increased by almost 25%. The increase was slightly faster in southern Finland (26%) than in northern Finland (21%). During 2000–2007 roundwood removals have remained almost stable in southern Finland, but have increased by over 15% in northern Finland. On the level of the whole country, roundwood removals have increased in the 2000s by four percent.
Log removals increased in the 1990s partly faster than total roundwood removals. The increase in the removals of spruce logs in southern Finland was particularly pronounced, more than 50% during 1990-1999. In northern Finland both the removals of pine and spruce logs increased in the 1990s by approximately one quarter.
During the 2000s log removals demonstrated a declining trend in southern Finland until year 2007 during which more pine logs were removed than ever before. Also spruce log removals returned to their level during the turn of the millennium while the removals of deciduous trees (mainly birches) seem to fluctuate without a clear trend.
In northern Finland the removals of pine logs have continued to increase in the 2000s. Spruce log removals have remained almost constant. Altogether log removals have increased by 20% in northern Finland since year 2000.
The harvesting of wood chips has increased rapidly during the 2000s. Approximately 65% of the harvested wood chips consist of logging residues such the tops and branches of cut trees. The remaining one third of the harvested wood chips consist of small diameter trees originating from the tending of seedling stands and thinnings of young forests (20%) as well as stumps collected from clear-cut areas (5%).
In 2007 the amount of harvested wood chips declined for the first time, being 13% lower than the previous year. This was followed by a massive increase, and in 2008 approximately 4.6 million cubic meters of wood chips were burned in heating and power plants as well as household fireplaces altogether.
Impact on biodiversity
During the past years the total roudwood removals has remained at a clearly lower level than the total increment of the growing stock. Based on these figures, the Finnish forestry may be considered sustainable. However, the steady growth of the growing stock which began in the 1960s is largely a result of the drainage of mires and other intensive forestry practices. These have resulted in the sharp decline of pristine mires and dead wood, for example. The annual increment is at its peak when the growing stock consists of young trees.
As a result of the high level of roundwood removals very few tree stands reach old-growth state in commercial forests. Intense roundwood removals and the increasing use of wood chips for fuel decreases also the amount of dead wood present in forests. In managed forests the natural drain of wood has been almost completely replaced by the drain caused by harvesting. In natural conditions living trees eventually die as a result of, for example, fungal outbreaks, storms or forest fires and are then left to decompose on the spot. The drain caused by humans leaves very little dead wood in the forest and differs very much in this respect from the natural drain. Numerous endangered species are dependent upon either old-growth forests or dead wood.
|This indicator will be updated annually in April-May.|
- Updated (14.05.2013)