Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and The Finnish Forest Centre
Interest in Finnish forest expertise in Portugal – Portuguese delegation visits Finland on 28–29 November

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry 28.11.2018 10.15 | Published in English on 29.11.2018 at 12.25
Press release
Interest in Finnish forest expertise in Portugal – Portuguese delegation visits Finland on 28–29 November

A delegation composed of representatives of the Portuguese Government and forest sector visits Finland this week to learn about forest management, making use of energy wood and preventing forest fires. The idea for the visit came up during Prime Minister Sipilä’s recent visit to Lisbon. Also on the agenda of the meeting of the Prime Ministers of Finland and Portugal is forest cooperation between the two countries.

At the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry the delegation will learn about advice and digital services provided to forest owners, harvesting and use of energy wood, and supply of the companies operating in the sector. On Thursday 29 November the delegation will visit various sites in Turku region to see presentations of mechanical forest treatment, harvesting of energy wood, and use of wood for energy in a heat plant.

In recent years record-high temperatures and drought have led to extensive forest fires, and now means are sought to prevent them. The risk of fires can be reduced by developing the forest management practices and removing harvesting residue left in forest after felling. Last year there was a record number of fires in Finnish forest as well, which is why there are also benefits for Finland to be gained from the exchange of information.

In Finland forest fires can in most cases be contained in a smaller area thanks to well-functioning collaboration among the authorities, varying natural conditions and long history of good forest management. We have an exceptionally dense network of forest roads through which fire-fighting equipment can be transported quickly to the location, and the roads also serve to stop forest fires from spreading. People working in forests are informed about elevated risk of forest fires so they can avoid e.g. using equipment that involve the risk of sparks.

Besides the roads and water bodies, the structure of Finnish forests limits the progress of forest fires. The small size of individual forest parcels prevents fire from spreading. In mature forest the progress of crown fire may stop or slow down as it meets an open space or seedling stand. To a certain extent wildfires in peatlands are also restricted by forest ditching. 

Inquiries:
 - concerning the general arrangements of the visit
Tatu Torniainen, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, tel. +358 29 516 2162, firstname.lastname@mmm.fi

- concerning forest management and forest fires
Markku Remes, Senior Expert of Forest Management, Finnish Forest Centre, tel. +358 44 548 8380, firstname.lastname@metsakeskus.fi

- concerning sites visited in Turku region:
Heikki Lounento, Customer Adviser, Finnish Forest Centre, tel. +358 40 525 3774, firstname.lastname@metsakeskus.fi

EU and international affairs Forests Juha Sipilä