FO2 Fellings

  This is a pressure (P) indicator. DPSIR = drivers, pressures, state, impact, responses.
>> Background information



According to the present standard practice in forestry, mature forest stands are felled either entirely (clear fellings) or so as to leave scattered trees for natural seeding (seed and shelter tree fellings). The seed and shelter trees are normally removed after a few years.

The aim of both of these regeneration felling practices is to remove all trees except retention trees (FO17) by one or two felling operations and to establish an even-aged seedling stand in the treated area.

In the 1990s the area of clear fellings increased by almost 30% while the area of seed and shelter tree fellings remained stable. During 2000?2011 clear fellings have fluctuated with no clear trend. In 2007 was reached an all-time record in clear felled area and in 2009 the area decreased steeply. The area of seed and shelter tree fellings has demonstrated a downward trend in the 2000s. In 2011 the felling area was only one third of the level in 2000. The share of clear fellings was 80 % in 2011, when in the beginning of 1990s it was 70 %.

Since the present methods were initiated in the 1950s regeneration fellings have been carried out on a total area of approximately 8 million hectares. This figure is not entirely exact since comprehensive statistics on regeneration fellings begin in 1966. Figures before this have been extrapolated based on the areas of artificial regeneration (FO4) and soil preparation (FO3). During the past 60 years almost half of the total area of 19 million hectares of Finland's commercial forests have been subject to regeneration fellings.


Impact on biodiversity

Present regeneration practices generate structural features in forests that are not matched by natural dynamics and thus restrict the possibilities to retain the natural diversity of forest habitats. Among other things, removing all trees brings about a great change in lighting conditions and increases the climatic variability of the site. Species living on trees (dead or living) or requiring the shading or shelter provided by the canopy cover normally disappear from felled areas.

Regeneration fellings are closely linked with other forestry practices that normally follow them in time. Soil preparation (FO3) and artificial regeneration by planting seedlings (FO4) further diminish the variability of the habitat and decrease the amount of remaining dead wood, for example. Regeneration fellings are also one of the main factors causing forest fragmentation.

The negative impacts of regeneration fellings on biodiversity are nowadays partially mitigated by leaving retention trees in felled areas (FO17). The figure on regeneration fellings includes also a small amount of fellings in which more trees and a continuous tree cover is left on the treated area. Since continuous cover forestry has remained marginal for the past 60 years, no comprehensive statistics are available on the area treated with such fellings. In continuous cover forestry trees are never entirely removed from a site, but the forest consists of several different tree generations.

This indicator will be updated annually in June-July.  

Discuss this topic

Start the discussion »

Add comment

If you have trouble reading the code, click on the code itself to generate a new random code.

Your message will be sent for moderation. New comments are usually published on the next workday.

Hide comments