Published 15.8.2019

Metsähallitus establishing continuous cover forestry model areas throughout Finland

Metsähallitus Forestry Ltd. is founding a total of three 5,000-hectare continuous cover silviculture model areas at Rautavaara, Suomussalmi and Savukoski.

“The various approaches used in forest management have been discussed a great deal in the public arena. We strive to be pioneers in the field of natural resources. To that end, we want to increase the practice of continuous cover forestry over extensive areas, even in conditions that are challenging to this practice. The trial is also part of the Metsähallitus climate programme,” explains Metsähallitus Forestry Ltd. Managing Director Jussi Kumpula.

The model areas were chosen because they represent state-owned commercial forests which are typical in terms of their structure and growing site distribution. These areas also have other forms of land use, including recreation, tourism and landscape value.

The primary objective of continuous cover silviculture is to ensure that the forest canopy remains intact. The main silvicultural methods used are selection cutting and small-scale canopy opening less than 0.3 hectares in area. Clear cuts are only done in the most extreme circumstances, such as in response to insect infestation or other naturally-occurring damage. New saplings are expected to grow naturally without any cultivation.

“Continuous cover silviculture is an attractive alternative for forest management and we want to increase the amount of reliable and tested data on its long-term effectiveness. It is also important to know when and why the method fails to achieve the desired result,” says Kumpula.

There is a particular need to ensure that naturally generated saplings grow into healthy, high-quality trees that will effectively bind carbon. In addition to this, the development of carbon sinks, number of trees and carbon stores are also monitored.

Model area management programmes are drafted to define the annual surface area to be managed, the management methods to be used and planned cutting volume. Other areas examined include the various forms of forest use, biodiversity, taking climate impacts into account, damage resistance and the profitability of forestry.

The monitoring period is 30 years, with results to be reported in at least five-year intervals. The objective is to work in co-operation with Natural Resources Institute Finland, the Universities of Helsinki and Eastern Finland, and Metsäteho Oy.

Further information:
Metsähallitus Forestry Ltd., Managing Director Jussi Kumpula, tel. +358 (0)400 388 614.