FO1 Wood removals

  This is a pressure (P) indicator. DPSIR = drivers, pressures, state, impact, responses. Dark red background = strong impact on biodiversity in the 20th century before 1990. Arrow = moderate increasing trend of the pressure since 1990.
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Total roundwood removals refer 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 timber and energy wood cut for household use.

The annual roundwood removals fluctuated around 50 million cubic meters at the end of the 1980s. During the recession at the beginning of 1990s roundwood removals declined notably, but increased soon again and reached 60 million cubic meters by the early 2000s. After a new temporary fall in 2009 roundwood removals have been increasing briskly again. A new all-time record of 68 million cubic meters was reached in 2015.

Total annual roundwood removals have fluctuated more in southern than in northern Finland. Over the period 1990–2015 they increased in southern Finland by 30% and by nearly 60% in northern Finland.


Log removals


Log removals increased in the 1990s partly faster than total roundwood removals. The increase in the removals of spruce logs was particularly pronounced in southern Finland, more than 50% during 1990–1999. Over the same period the removals of pine and deciduous tree logs both increased about 15%.

During the 2000s spruce log removals have declined in southern Finland and, during the past few years, also pine log removals have gone down slightly. The removals of deciduous tree logs (mainly birches) seem to fluctuate without a clear trend.

In northern Finland, excepting the rapid fluctuations in 2007–2010, there has been a rising trend in the removals of pine logs during the whole period. Spruce log removals, on the contrary, have remained at approximately the same level since 1990. The volume of deciduous tree log removals is small in northern Finland.

Energy wood


The harvesting of wood chips has increased rapidly during the 2000s. Approximately one third of the harvested wood chips consist of logging residues such the tops and branches of cut trees. 47% of the energy wood consists of small-sized trees, the by-products of thinnings in young forests. The share of small-sized trees has grown notably since 2000. Stumps and roots cover 14% of all energy wood.

The harvesting of wood chips has grown the whole 2000s, except in 2007. In 2012 wood chips were used in energy plants and private households altogether 7.6 million cubic meters. That is ten-fold compared to the year 2000.

Impact on biodiversity

During the past years the total roundwood 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 (MI1 and MI5) and dead wood (FO6), 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.

According to current forestry guidelines, there are some trees left untouched also in clearcutting areas. The amount of dead wood has grown slightly in the Southern Finland (FO6), which is probably due to new practices.

This indicator will be updated annually in April-May.  

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