Forestry helps to mitigate and adapt to climate change

Climate change mitigation

Forests are an important carbon sink. During the last decade, the sink effect of Finland's forests corresponded to 30–50 per cent of Finland's total greenhouse gas emissions annually. The ability of forests to act as carbon sinks can be maintained and enhanced by ensuring appropriate and well-timed management and regeneration of forests. Wood construction and wood products manufacture represent sustainable uses of natural resources and long-term carbon storage. Sustainable forest management, increased use of wood products, as well as increasing the share of wood-based energy from by-products of forest sector are good tools for climate change mitigation.

Adaptation to climate change

Climate change is expected to have a significant impact on the natural environment, the economy and society in Finland. It could to lead to rising trends in both temperature and precipitation, with precipitation totals increasing especially in winter. In turn, from the point of view of Finnish economy and society, extreme weather phenomena pose a more serious problem than gradual climatic change. Phenomena such as very warm or very cold periods, storms and floods, can be expected to increase in frequency and magnitude. Furthermore, increased occurrence and prevalence of heavy rain and shortening periods of snow and frost may follow, affecting forest management as well.

For Finnish forests, climate change has overall both negative and positive consequences. More frequent storms and drought will increase forest damage risk. Also, the conditions for the reproduction and survival of many insects and fungi will improve. One way to adapt to the changing climatic conditions is to prefer more abundant and genetically diverse tree populations, which are better able to adapt to the changing climate. Moreover, a special contingency plan has also been developed to prepare for forest damage. The health of forests and its changes are being monitored nationally on a continuous basis. 

On the other hand, climate change can also have positive impacts on Finnish forest sector, for example by increasing the growth of forests, speeding up their regeneration and leading to more reliable seed production.

Attachments
Finland's National Climate Change Adaptation Plan 2022
Finnish forests in changing climate - a working paper (2010)

Related topics
Forest fire preparedness to be intensified (Press release by Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Ministry of the Interior 27.3.2019)
Climate change adaptation
Wood construction
Wood-based energy

Related links
Finnish climate policy as infographics
Energy and climate strategy (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland)
Climate change impacts on forests (ilmasto-opas.fi)
Climate and air (Ministry of the Environment)
Forests and climate change (Finnish Forest Association)
Forest use helps to mitigate climate change – exactly how depends on circumstances (Finnish Forest Association)

Further information

Tatu Torniainen, Ministerial Adviser 
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Luonnonvaraosasto, Metsä- ja bioenergiayksikkö 0295162162  


Kaisa Pirkola, Ministerial Adviser 
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Luonnonvaraosasto, Metsä- ja bioenergiayksikkö 0295162350  


Sanna Paanukoski, Ministerial Adviser 
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Luonnonvaraosasto, Metsä- ja bioenergiayksikkö 0295162449