Published 5.4.2018

Metsähallitus develops forest management model that mitigate climate change

Metsähallitus’ carbon-based classification is the first of its kind in the world. The goal of the Climate Smart Forestry project was to develop the management of state-owned forests toward mitigating climate change.

The Metsähallitus Forestry Ltd. project explored the impact that forestry measures have on carbon binding and storage from a climate perspective. The project came up with a new approach – the carbon classification of forest land – to be used as a tool for practical applications.

“We wanted to profile ourselves as a pacesetter and pioneer in the field. As an operators’ organisation, we identify the factors and interdependencies affecting forest management. This is a question of managing an extensive whole,” explains Metsähallitus Forestry Ltd. Managing Director Jussi Kumpula.

Carbon classification divides forestry areas into seven classes, which emphasise the importance of either carbon binding or carbon stores. The classes include procedural recommendations for forest management that are based on calculations.

“Wherever the forest cover grows the fastest and, in turn, binds carbon the fastest, we focus on forest productivity in multiple-use forestry. In areas of slower growth and special areas, the focus is more on maintaining forest health and harmonising other types of forest use,” explains Project Manager Ilkka Vaara.

Carbon classification affects every forest compartment in state commercial use. There are 10 million compartments in total. The classification reveals each forest segment’s importance to carbon binding and storage. The classification provides criteria for the application of forest management guidelines by class.

“The groundwork for classification has been done. When there is more research data, we’ll be able to define carbon binding and storage as a whole and guidelines for different types of areas even more quickly,” says Vaara.

The Climate Smart Forestry project is part of Metsähallitus’ corporate responsibility programme, which is currently being finalised. The programme is based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. One of these goals is take urgent action against climate change and its impacts.

“As the administrator of our shared assets, Metsähallitus bears a greater responsibility for taking the needs of future generations into consideration than other forest owners. As nearly half of all state-owned land is protected, it will remain a carbon store with permanent decisions,” says Metsähallitus Director General Pentti Hyttinen.

Further information:

Project Manager Ilkka Vaara, Metsähallitus Forestry Ltd., tel. +358 (0)40 731 9280.
Managing Director Jussi Kumpula, Metsähallitus Forestry Ltd., tel. +358 (0)400 388 614.