Calculations concerning the growth and sustainability of Finnish forests
In Finland forest resource data is collected in national forest inventories conducted on a regular basis. These inventories date back to the 1920s. According to the forest growth measurements also conducted in the inventories, in recent years the annual growing stock increment has been about 107 million cubic metres.
Besides the increment, we have detailed statistics on the wood felling volumes. In the 2010s the total roundwood removals have been 60 to 78 million cubic metres annually.
In addition to roundwood removals, the total drain in the growing stock is estimated. Total drain includes roundwood removals and the roundwood left in forests as unrecovered logging residue and dead trees. The total growth of the growing stock increased in year 2018, despite of the record amount of total removals, by approximately 13 million cubic metres.
The monitoring also covers the carbon sink of Finnish forests, which means the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide sequestered in forests and the amount of carbon sequestered in wood biomass and forest soil.
Realised roundwood removals
Roundwood removals refer to the total volume of roundwood harvested from Finnish forests.
In 2018 roundwood removals totalled 78.2 million cubic metres, of which 89 per cent (69.2 million cubic metres) was logs and pulpwood. The remaining 8.9 million cubic metres was energy wood, which means fuelwood used in private homes or small-diameter roundwood used as forest chips in heat and power plants. This means that most of the wood that ends up in energy use is included in the roundwood removals, while logging residue and stumps are not.
The total drain from Finnish forests in 2018 was 94 million cubic metres. Besides the roundwood removals, this includes the roundwood left in forests as unrecovered logging residue and dead trees.
Realised roundwood removals are smaller than maximum roundwood removals in Finland
In addition to the realised roundwood removals, estimates for the maximum sustainable roundwood removals are calculated, also concerning the coming decades. Maximum roundwood removals mean the upper limit for felling as we aim for sustainable forest management. The limit is set on the basis of economic sustainability and sustainable wood production, with due account for forest management recommendations and the protection decisions that have been made.
The estimates for the maximum sustainable felling potential by the Natural Resources Institute Finland extend to 2040. The estimate for a sustainable annual felling potential for roundwood in 2015-2024 is 84 million cubic metres. The total removals in the whole country in 2018 represented 93 per cent of the maximum sustainable felling potential.
Various scenarios for considering roundwood removals
Scenario calculations can also be used to assess the sustainable felling potential. In 2016 the Natural Resources Institute Finland and the Finnish Environment Institute made calculations concerning sustainable roundwood removals in Finnish forests. The key conclusion drawn from the scenario calculations is that the use of wood can be increased while at the same time securing forest biodiversity. To achieve this, more efficient use must be made of the available measures to protect biodiversity.