Our mighty carbon sinks

​Forest owners have an exceptional position: they can mitigate climate change as consumers, as maintainers of carbon sinks and as producers of renewable resources.

17.6.2021
Krista Kimmo

​As it grows, a healthy and vital forest absorbs carbon from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. In the summer, you can almost hear the forest grow.

Fortunately, Finnish forest owners don’t need guesswork to keep their forest vital and to maintain good growth. Good forest management guidelines are based on long-term, high-quality forest research stretching over several decades. The appropriate measures and their impacts are well known.

These are the six important points:

  1. Replace a felled forest with a new one as quickly as possible to minimise the time during which the area remains treeless.
  2. Ensure proper soil preparation as this improves tree growth and boosts the carbon sink of forests in the long term.
  3. Use cultivated seedlings and seeds collected from orchards. The growth of domesticated trees is 10–30% better than that of naturally generated trees.
  4. Use a domestic tree species suitable for the location and opt for mixed forests whenever possible when regenerating a forest. This ensures that the forest remains robust and of the kind that other domestic species have adapted to. 
  5. See to timely young stand management and thinning so that trees have enough space to grow and develop into sturdy log wood.
  6. Ensure forest biodiversity at all stages of forest management. Decaying wood is as necessary as carbon sinks.

Throughout history, humans have adapted their environment. Unfortunately, our actions have had an unprecedented and impactful consequence – climate change – which affects every corner of the earth. Climate change is a threat to life on earth as we know it, which is why we are working to combat it.

Finnish forest owners can be satisfied that they and generations before them have, for decades, adopted measures to mitigate climate change. In addition to absorbing the carbon dioxide released from forest use, Finnish forests bound carbon dioxide emissions from many other industrial sectors.

For example, in the summer, it takes less than a week for our forests to grow by a volume equivalent to the annual wood consumption of Metsä Group’s Äänekoski bioproduct mill.

In addition, our forests are among Europe’s healthiest and most robust, and they serve as a huge carbon sink. From these forests, we get renewable resources for products people need, as well as wellbeing, which all Finns enjoy directly or indirectly.

 

Krista Kimmo

The writer has a Master’s Degree in Forestry and is a professional in communication, who enjoys both the forest and the sea. She has been with Metsä Group since 2015.

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