Photo: Saku Ruusila
Photo: Saku Ruusila
Eco sustainability

07 April 2021


Nordic forestry has several features that are exceptional in Europe. One of them is profitable small-scale forest ownership. Despite cold climate, short growing season and long distance to the markets, forestry can be carried on profitably. Forest management and use always affect forest biodiversity and ability to sequestrate carbon. These effects raise strong discussion and sharp attitudes especially as to forest-rich Nordic countries. We listed a number of claims and standpoints about Nordic forestry and asked Pekka Kauppi, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences at the University of Helsinki, who has followed forest branch for a long time, to evaluate them.

The rate of protection in the Nordic countries is slow, compared to the rapid rate of logging. Virtually all unprotected natural forests will soon be lost. The area of protected forest land has increased many times over in the Nordic countries since the 1970’s. ‘In Finland, for instance, the area has more than tripled,’ says Pekka Kauppi. In the Nordic countries, when a forest area is protected, the protection is usually not removed later. 
This means that the rate of protection increases constantly. In 2018 the research journal Diversity and Distributions published the article Where are Europe’s last primary forests?. According to this article, it is practically groundless to say that unprotected natural forests will be lost, because Sweden has strictly protected 97.7 percent of its natural forests, and Finland 98.9 percent. These figures included not only forests that have never been harvested, but also forests that have not been touched in 60–80 years. It is complicated to compare the increases in logging and protection. 
The logging rate in cubic meters has increased 1,5 times since the beginning of 1970s, but, mainly due to sustainable forestry methods, the increase in forest growth has doubled. On the other hand, if instead of cubic meters we look at the area of fellings regeneration, which may be more relevant for nature values, the figure has remained more or less the same since the beginning of 1970s. 

For further information please contact Mr Hannes Mäntyranta, Editor in Chief: 

Salomonkatu 17-A
FI-00100 HELSINKI / Finland 
Tel. +358 (0) 9 6850880