Metsä Group has decided to leave sturdy aspen and other sparsely occurring broadleaved trees in the forest to safeguard biodiversity. This policy supplements Metsä Group’s ecological sustainability programme, which was launched in 2020 to develop the biodiversity of commercial forests.
“As of 1 June 2022, we will only accept pine, spruce and birch, as well as aspen with a diameter less than 40 centimetres, for our new wood purchases in Finland. Sturdy aspen and other broadleaved trees that are sparsely found in forests, such as the great sallow, bird cherry, rowan and aspen, will be left in the forest. They are key tree species that support a diverse range of living organisms,” says Juha Jumppanen, EVP, Metsä Forest.
These rarer species, which are not used for industrial upgrading, have so far been harvested for energy production, except for those left as retention trees.
“Energy wood supply is not dependent on these tree species which are sparsely found in Finnish forests. By operating smartly, we can both utilise wood and develop biodiversity in Finland,” says Jumppanen.
“Pine, spruce and birch account for 97 per cent of the volume of Finnish forests. With all the other tree species accounting for the remaining three per cent, it is important to preserve and increase the volume of sparsely occurring broadleaved trees – for the sake of forest nature and our adaptation to climate change,” says Juho Rantala, Metsä Forest's SVP, Development.
The decision to leave sturdy aspen and other sparsely found broadleaved trees in the forest is part of Metsä Group’s ecological sustainability programme.
“The programme focuses on developing and implementing concrete measures that transform operating methods and safeguard and enhance forest biodiversity. The decision to preserve sparsely occurring tree species is a ground-breaking initiative in Finnish forest management,” says Jumppanen.
Preserving the vitality of forests is an important part of adapting to climate change. Species richness is believed to improve forests’ ability to remain healthy and thrive in a changing environment.
“Different trees are favoured by different species. For example, the great sallow, which flowers early in the spring, is important to pollinators. The trees that are retained form diverse forest stands that remain in place across rotation periods and contribute to the generation of decaying wood in commercial forests,” says Rantala.
Examples of Metsä Group’s other measures in Finland
- If dead wood is found on a felling site, at least 20 trunks of it are preserved per hectare.
- All individual dead broadleaved trees are left in place during felling.
We primarily recommend nature management for herb-rich forests.
- If permitted by the forest owner, we make high biodiversity stumps during felling.
- We leave protective thickets at all stages of forest management.
We promote the creation of mixed forests by offering mixed cultivation as a service.
- In peatlands, we actively offer continuous cover forestry to forest owners.
- We continue to actively train our employees in different topics related to ecological sustainability.