Securing forest ecosystem services
Benefits derived from nature are called ecosystem services. Forest ecosystem services include raw material production as well as less tangible services such as flood control and carbon sequestration. Wood is the single most important renewable raw material in Finland, the basis for our economic prosperity.
As a natural process, wood production too relies on other ecosystem services such as nutrient and water cycles. On the other hand, wood production also generates many more ecosystem services, for example carbon sequestration from the atmosphere, hunting opportunities and beautiful landscapes. Not all ecosystem services have a market price.
In order for the ecosystems to maintain their capacity to provide significant services, they must be managed correctly and their structures and processes must be protected. Human activity should therefore apply an ecosystem-wide perspective, the ecosystem approach.
The ecosystem approach, sustainable forest management and nature conservation have a common objective of promoting nature conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources. Another goal they share is to provide well-being to present and future generations alike. They are also both characterised by the multiple-use principle as well as the ecological, economic, social and cultural dimensions.
Ecosystem services are divided into four categories. The actual services include provisioning, regulating and cultural services. The fourth category is supporting services, also known as maintenance services, which are necessary for the production of the other services.
Forest ecosystem services include:
Berries, mushrooms and other natural products, game
Climate change mitigation, carbon sequestration
Air to breathe
Prevention of floods, storm damage and erosion
Maintenance of soil productivity
Pollination services, regulation of populations of organisms
Pest and disease control
Outdoor activities and recreation
Values in upbringing and education
Significance of forests in the arts, cultural heritage
Nutrient, carbon and water cycles