Finnish forest owner: “Forestry is something we do together.”

Private individuals own 60 per cent of Finland’s forest area. Most forest owners have multiple goals: alongside wood production, they care about natural values and the therapeutic effects of forests. Tiina Lehtolainen works as a Customer Service Manager in Metsä Fibre and tells about her forest.
  • Articles
  • |
  • |
  • 2023, Sustainability

My family farm is in Lemi in eastern Finland, where my grandparents used to live. My father and his siblings built a small cottage on family land, by a lake surrounded by forests. When I was a child, we often spent weekends there and played in the forest.

I still remember how big and sturdy the trees seemed to a little girl.

From my grandparents, the farm passed down to their children. Then, in 2016, my father made his share over to me and my brother.

The forest mattered a lot to my father. He did his own forestry work and picked berries and mushrooms. He showed us children that forests are important.

Every spring, we worked together to make firewood. My father used the saw, while the rest of us with our families helped stack the wood. In between, we would take a break to eat something and make coffee. We all have wood-heated saunas, so we use firewood throughout the year.

Forests need care

My father knew the forest like the back of his hand, and he showed us the best places for blueberries and mushrooms. I love it that he also taught my children to pick mushrooms, recognise different species of tree and wander in the woods.

He passed away in February 2021 but we were still chanterelle picking together the previous autumn. In autumn 2022, I went on my own. It felt really nice to find the places my father had pointed out.

Forests need care. In the past few years, we have planted and cleared areas together. It was amazing how much the seedlings had grown in a year after clearing, when they had enough light and space around them.

When you work hard for a young forest stand, anything that damages it feels bad. There are many moose in our area, and last winter they found a young pine stand in our forest that had just started growing. I was very sad when I saw what they had done to the saplings. Of course, they will continue to grow, but they will not be as good as before.

Protecting natural values is important

I want to safeguard the natural values of our forest. We have protected a herb-rich area as well as a crag covered by an old pine forest. We call it Pentti’s Peak, after my grandfather Pentti.

Parts of our forests are protected under METSO, which is a voluntary programme that pays compensation for protecting areas of biodiversity. We have agreed a ten-year protection period, but I am sure we will extend it after that.

I have been working at Metsä Fibre since 2003, with the last seven years as a Supply Chain Customer Service Manager. It means a lot to me that my employer invests in Finland and converts and uses sustainably produced Finnish wood.

I find that the forest relieves stress and brings peace of mind. If you live close to a forest, you can easily go there at any time. I like spending a refreshing time in my own forest, making coffee at a lean-to, and managing the forest to increase its value. Even if I do not benefit from the seedlings I plant, someone else will.


Tiina Lehtolainen
Customer Service Manager, Supply chain, Metsä Fibre

This article was originally published in Timber Magazine issue 2023.

In Finland there are more than 600,000 private forest owners

  • The average age of forest owners is 62 years.

  • 46 per cent of forest owners have inherited their forest estate.

  • Two-thirds of forest owners have multiple goals: in addition to wood production, they care about recreational values and natural values.

  • More than 90,000 of them belong to Metsäliitto Cooperative, which is Metsä Group’s parent company.

Forests cover more than 75 per cent of Finland’s land area

  • Private individuals own 60 per cent of the forest area, the state 26 per cent, and the forest industry 9 per cent.

  • The remaining 5 per cent is owned by munincipalities, congregations, joint forest partnerships, and other organisations.

  • Owners who do not live on their forest land, live an average of 205 kilometres away.

Sources: and the study ”Finnish Forest Owner 2020”.