Our programme reinforces ecological sustainability practices

The most important goals of the ecological sustainability programme are the strengthening of forest growth and carbon storage, the protection of biodiversity in forest nature and the improvement of water protection in forest work.

Metsä Group wants to advance sustainable forestry and forest certification in its own operations. We also want to point the way in ecological sustainability and this is why Metsä Group’s Wood Supply and Forest Services have drawn up a programme of ecological sustainability. Below are examples of how the programme is reflected in our practical work.

Metsä Group Plus forest management model

Model will be introduced in June 2023. The voluntary model encourages forest owners to manage their forests more responsibly. It means more demanding care than forest certificates: for example more retention trees and high biodiversity stumps are left per hectare of forest during felling. To accelerate the creation of decaying wood and to secure the living conditions of species that inhabit burned environments, more retention trees will be burned. Metsä Group pays its owner-members a hectare based bonus for Metsä Group Plus wood to offset the costs for additional measures. Read more

We recommend nature management as a primary approach for herb-rich forests

From 2022 onwards, Metsä Group will review the herb-rich forests in forests owned by owner-members and intensify its guidance for the management of herb-rich forests. Our primary recommendation for herb-rich forests in commercial forests owned by owner-members is nature management and, for the best sites, voluntary conservation. Decisions about forest management are always made by the forest owner.

New generations of trees are planted as soon as possible

It does not pay off to delay the establishment of a new forest. For the efficient storage of carbon, the most important thing is to plant the new generation of trees as soon as possible. Improved forest reproductive material accelerates growth and partly enhances carbon storage as well. The tree species planted and sown in the forests are those that occur naturally in Finland: spruces, pines and birches. This ensures that the living conditions of other natural forest-dwelling species are retained. The particular species is always selected according to the growth location's nutrient content.


Decayed wood promotes biodiversity in commercial forests

It is important for the survival of such species that forests contain decayed wood of varying ages or, in other words, a continuum of decayed wood. As the decaying process advances, the trees are used as nutrition or shelter by one new species after another. A decaying trunk serves as host to as many as hundreds of different species over time.

While some species are happy with dead stumps that are still standing, most species need sturdy decayed wood that has toppled down. This is why both standing and fallen decayed wood is retained and left in the forest during harvesting.

We increase the volume of decayed wood in forests with high stumps

A high stump is usually made from a pulpwood-sized broad-leaved tree by cutting its trunk at a height of 2–4 metres. A high stump made from a broad-leaved tree that begins to decay in a few years benefits hole nesters, decay fungi and insects. In a regeneration felling, high stumps are left within a group of retention trees.

Protective thickets provide animals with shelter

We are leaving brush that offers protection for animals in forests at all stages of forest management. These thickets are about an acre in size, and we are leaving one of them for each beginning three hectares.
A protective thicket is created when brush and small trees are left untouched in the clearing preceding a felling. Protective thickets are also left in the management of seedling stands and young forests, and if they are located in the most difficult spots, it also reduces costs.

Improving water conservation in forest work

Waterways and their protection are the third important aspect of the ecological sustainability programme.

Methods related to the protection of waterways are developed continuously. Metsä Group participated in the PuuMaVesi project led by SYKE (the Finnish Environment Institute), which yielded promising results in the effectiveness of snags in cleaning the runoff of forest drainage.