Metsä Group’s goal is to ensure that Finnish forest assets transfer in a more vibrant, diverse and climate resilient condition from one generation and owner to the next. Regenerative forestry means boosting economic growth and natural assets side by side. As the members of Metsä Group’s parent company Metsäliitto Cooperative own around half of private forests in Finland, this goal is significant for all of Finland.
Regenerative forestry aims to improve the state of nature and comprehensively manage ecosystem services, that is, the benefits provided by the natural environment. This involves monitoring the state and development of nature and its services as well as reporting on the impacts observed. The goal is to exhaustively measure the impacts of wood production and create related verification for products and value chains. According to Metsä Group’s goal, the measures taken to strengthen the state of Finnish forest nature from that of today must have measurable and verifiable impacts by 2030 at the latest.
Strengthening biodiversity requires both nature protection and new mainstream management methods in commercial forests. Forest protection divides opinions. Metsä Group believes that additional protection is justified if it is appropriately targeted and if attention is paid to forest owners’ property rights and other legal matters.
“Metsä Group meets forest owners’ and society’s varied needs in the long and short term. In the field of forest management, we’ve been gradually developing environmental matters over several decades. Now is the time for a new significant step. Our regenerative forestry goals include strengthening the state of nature and more comprehensively managing the benefits that nature provides – from carbon sinks to pollinators and berry crops. Wood production is an important part of this extensive scheme, and it must be acceptable according to all sustainability indicators,” says Ilkka Hämälä, Metsä Group’s President and CEO.
The achievement of goals is studied and measured by Metsä Group itself and by external parties. Metsä Group is now preparing its regenerative forestry action plan and indicators. More information about these will be published during 2023.
“Our various stakeholders must be widely involved in this systematic and purposeful work. We need accurate indicators for our goals, and this is one of the areas in which we want to have independent external experts as partners,” says Timo Lehesvirta, Metsä Group’s leading nature expert.
The principles of regenerative forestry are a continuation to Metsä Group’s ecological sustainability programme for safeguarding biodiversity. They will help develop new measures for mainstreaming best forest management practices. As a result, Finnish forests will combat climate change and be more resilient to a warming climate, extreme weather phenomena and risks of damage.