Forests and the economy

Forests have always had a significant role in the Finnish economy and for the Finns, even if the export products of the forest industry have varied at different times. Tar production was introduced centuries ago alongside with the hunting of fur animals, and sawmilling industry got started in the 19th century. Sawmilling grew in the 20th century, together with the extensive pulp and paper industries, which still today are the foundation of the modern industries that are based on the use of wood.

Besides export income, forests have always provided other economic benefits, including stumpage earnings, building materials, fuelwood and energy, berries and mushrooms, manufacturing of various kinds of tools and utensils, and nature-based tourism. Today the spectrum of livelihoods and sources of income that are founded on forests is broad. Forests play an important role in solving national and global challenges related to livelihoods, security of supply, climate change, biodiversity loss and human health.

Forest industry is one of the key sectors for the Finnish economy

In 2022, the value of forest industry production was around EUR 20 billion. Forest sector accounts for about 18 per cent of Finland’s export revenue. What makes forest industry even more important is the fact that the inputs and services needed in the production are of domestic origin. In 2018, services for wood harvesting and long-distance transport of wood were purchased for more than EUR 980 million. The annual appreciation of the forest sector is around EUR 9 billion (2018).

Forest sector depends on profitable forest operations

Commercial utilisation of forests is based on forest management and decisions and measures taken by forest owners. Forest operations must be economically profitable in order that investments are made in forest management and the wood markets function as they should. Forests are a significant source of income or property item for hundreds of thousands of Finnish forest owners. In 2022, the gross stumpage earnings of private forest owners rose to EUR 2.43 billion and altogether the gross stumpage earnings were EUR 2.85 billion. Forest owners invested an estimated EUR 185 million in forest management (2022 preliminary data). These investments ensure the sustainability of forest operations and opportunities to use forests also for the future generations.

The timber market working group

The timber market working group is tasked with promoting a balanced functioning of the timber market. The members of the timber market working group, appointed and led by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, represent the administration and a broad spectrum of stakeholders involved in selling and buying timber. The working group serves as a discussion forum for topical issues related to the timber market, monitors and promotes the stability, predictability and international competitiveness of the Finnish timber market and, where necessary, proposes initiatives related to these to the State and operators in the sector, serves as an advisory body in questions aimed to promote the functioning of the timber market, and monitors the ongoing development projects. The working groups brings forth the perspectives of different stakeholders on studies and reports concerning the functioning of the timber market to develop the operating environment, and promotes discussion on these. 

Multiple benefits from multiple uses of forests

Forestry operations are no obstacle to berry and mushroom picking and other use of forests for recreation. Everyman’s right, the right of public access, enables everybody to benefit from forests. Roughly 60 million kilograms of wild berries and mushrooms are picked from forests every year. The selection income was EUR 23.2 million in 2021 (Finnish Food Authority).

More information

The timber market working group (in Finnish)

Related links

Stumpage earnings

Further information

Satu Rantala, Ministerial Adviser 
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Natural Resources Department, Metsä- ja biotalousyksikkö Telephone:0295162045   Email Address: