Metsä Group Plus – a management model for increasing forest biodiversity

Metsä Group Plus is a forest management model that pays increasingly close attention to forest biodiversity and forest nature in the implementation of forest work. The model includes measures that safeguard and improve the state of forest nature more comprehensively than is required by current standard practices. The use of these measures is agreed in connection with wood trade and orders for young stand management. The service is available to owner-members.

Under the model, more retention trees and high biodiversity stumps are left per hectare of forest during felling. As concerns valuable habitats and littoral forests, the model represents the highest level of requirements currently in use.

To accelerate the creation of decaying wood and to secure the living conditions of species that inhabit burnt environments, more retention tree groups will be burned. Metsä Group reserves the right to burn the groups of retention trees left on Metsä Group Plus sites before establishing a new forest. The goal is to increase the amount of burnt wood in forests, which is currently insufficient for the species that need it.

The Metsä Group Plus service follows the principles of regenerative forestry and contributes to increasing the biodiversity and vitality of Finnish forests year by year so that they are always transferred in better condition from one generation to the next. The management model helps forest owners respect nature values and promote a sustainable multi-generational approach even better when pursuing forestry.

In the Metsä Group Plus model, the forest owner decides separately for each wood trade and order for young stand management whether they want to choose the Plus model and its more comprehensive measures. Because owner-members choose the Metsä Group Plus measures separately for each transaction, the results of their choices can be seen in the forest as soon as work begins.

Metsä Group pays an additional bonus per hectare for regeneration felling carried out according to the terms of the Metsä Group Plus service. The additional bonus compensates the owner-members for the wood trade income lost because of the service. The additional bonus is similar to the bonus accumulated for wood trades and forest management service sales. The bonus can be used to pay for forest management work, or it can be paid along with the next wood trade.

Practical measures of the Metsä Group Plus management model

  Measure Current measure Metsä Group Plus Additional bonus

Regeneration felling

Clear cutting, seed-tree cutting and shelterwood cutting

Retention tree According to certification, and Metsä Group also leaves at least 20 dead trees per hectare 30/ha; >15 cm* Yes
High biodiversity stump Metsä Group’s practice: 4/ha (voluntary) 10/ha**
Waterway buffer zone Depending on waterway 10–30 m***

Intermediate felling

Thinning and felling according to continuous cover forestry

High biodiversity stump Metsä Group’s practice: 4/ha (voluntary) 10/ha** -
Waterway buffer zone Depending on waterway 10–30 m***

Young stand management

Early cleaning, pre-commercial thinning and young forest management

Protective thicket 1 per every new 3 ha area 1 per every new 1 ha area -

* All living retention trees of all species are considered retention trees, with a minimum diameter of 15 cm at a height of 1.3 m. Metsä Group reserves the right to burn the retention trees before regeneration activities.
** The crowns of trees made into high biodiversity stumps are left in the forest.
*** Depending on waterway