Sustainable forest management is rewarding

Forest grows nearly everywhere in Finland, whether or not people contribute to it. So why should we take care of forests? The goal of sustainable forest management is to keep forests robust, healthy and growing well. Forest diversity is taken into account at all stages of forest management. The main financial target is above all to obtain log wood for conversion.

Sustainable forest management practices are based on research results and on the common research-based guidelines for good forest management drawn up by the forest sector.

Forest management influences the speed of new forest growth and the tree species found in the forest. Good forest management also helps trees grow into robust log wood more quickly. By preventing forest damage, forest management also promotes the health of our forests.

The development of Finnish forests has been monitored with the aid of national forest inventories since the 1920s. Our forests now have more wood than ever during the period of monitoring.

Thanks to research-based forest management that emphasises environmental values, tens of thousands of Finns continue to earn their livelihood from the forest and forest industry.

Forest management pays attention to nature

Environment is taken into account in all our forestry measures. We are committed to the principles of regenerative forestry, which we are implementing through our ecological sustainability programme. Professional planning and implementation of forestry work helps maintain and even increase forest biodiversity in commercial forests.

Paying attention to the particularly valuable habitats defined in the Forest Act is a key way to boost the diversity of forest nature. Metsä Group also provides specialist services for forest owners interested in the voluntary protection of forests.

Retention trees left in regeneration areas are the most visible examples of nature management in commercial forests. Retention trees are a requirement in forest certification systems. Certification also requires buffer zones around waterways. Read more about our approaches to biodiversity.

Forests are always renewed after felling

To ensure the continuity of forestry, it is important to get new seedlings growing after regeneration felling. The forest owner’s responsibility for regeneration is also provided for in the Forest Act. Under the Act, a regeneration area in southern Finland must have a viable seedling stand in place at the latest ten years after the felling. In central Finland, this period is fifteen years, and in northern Finland, twenty-five years.

Forest regeneration can take place naturally or by cultivation based on the soil type and nutrient content of the growth area. The sooner regeneration measures are initiated after felling, the better the outlook is for good seedling growth.

Fallen decaying trees are retained in forest management.

We use domestic tree species in regeneration

Metsä Group uses domestic tree species in forest regeneration. The most common tree species are spruce, pine and silver birch. Our domestic tree species have adapted excellently to the changing northern conditions. They are durable and resistant to insect, snow and storm damage.

The use of domestic tree species ensures that the forest ecosystem is maintained in a form to which other domestic species have adapted, and does not give a foothold to species that do not belong in our nature. Metsä Group uses seedlings and seeds of bred origin to ensure that they grow quickly to become high-quality trees.

When establishing a new forest in Finland, you can order mixed cultivation of pine and spruce from Metsä Group. This means planting spruce and either planting or sowing pine in the regeneration area. The method is particularly suitable for areas where there is a risk of moose damage, and it also reduces the risk of other damage.

Even if a forest is regenerated by cultivating a single tree species, seedlings also emerge in forests naturally. These naturally generated seedlings add to the area’s diversity. Where possible, broadleaved trees are left among coniferous seedlings during pre-commercial thinning. They have been shown to both increase biodiversity and boost forest growth.

Young stand management and thinning maintains growth space

Forest nature changes all the time. Even though a familiar old forest may look the same year after year, the forest and its trees have their natural life-cycle. If trees are to retain their vitality, they need enough light, nutrients and growth space. If trees are spaced too densely, their diameter growth slows down, and they fail to produce economically valuable log wood for the forest owner. In a forest that is too dense, trees also die naturally.

Young stand management and thinning are used to give trees more space to grow. Young stand management ensures good seedling growth and prevents damage to trees caused by an excessively dense growth environment. The seedlings of the highest quality are left in place.

In a conifer stand, it is advisable to leave a few random silver birch grown from seed in a stand of conifers during early cleaning. A mix of different species species safeguards forest diversity, offers a range of alternatives and improves the climate resilience of forests.

Thinning means removing trees that are growing too close to one another, as well as trees that are of a poor quality. The trees left in the forest after thinning are those most likely to grow into high-quality log wood.

When the forest has been thinned to the recommended density, the most robust trees of the highest quality can make better use of the increased growth space and nutrients.

We develop new forest management methods

Forest management is long-term work, and the methods develop continually. Metsä Group and its partners jointly engage in active research and development to find increasingly good and cost-effective methods.

Inverting is a soil preparation method developed by Metsä Group that has been shown to ensure excellent growth conditions for seedlings and reduce the costs of young stand management. In inverting, the surface of the soil is broken only where the seedling will be planted. Read more about the benefits of soil preparation.

In 2020, we launched mixed cultivation, which means sowing pine seeds among spruce seedlings in a regeneration area. This produces forests that are more sustainable and diverse than forests of a single tree species. The method is particularly suitable for areas where there is a risk of moose damage, and it also reduces the risk of other damage. Read more about the method.

Metsä Group Plus is a forest management model for increasing forest biodiversity. It was introduced in summer 2023. 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.

We encourage responsible forest management

Metsä Group has undertaken to comply with the Forest Act, the recommendation for good forest management, and forest certification criteria in all its operations. This ensures that we manage forests in an ecologically, economically and socially sustainable manner. You can read more about Metsä Group’s principles for forest use and management here.

Forest certification tells global consumers of products made of Finnish wood that Finnish forest management is sustainable. Metsä Group supports both PEFC and FSC® certification, and we offer our owner-members the opportunity to join both schemes free of charge. Read more about forest certification.

Metsä Group is committed to the principles of regenerative forestry. In regenerative forestry, the state of forest nature does not deteriorate but rather grows stronger. We implement regenerative forestry principles through various measures as part of our daily work in Finnish forests.

Metsäliitto Cooperative's PEFC logo license: PEFC/02-31-03
Licence number of Metsäliitto Cooperative’s FSC group certificate: FSC-C111942

Kuusen-istutus1	Planting spruce with a pipe.