Published 25.6.2018

Metsähallitus implements changes in guidelines: more deadwood, special attention to timber harvesting in hiking areas

Metsähallitus has updated the Environmental Guidelines for Forestry. According to the new guidelines, deadwood is no longer harvested at all, more living retention trees are left unharvested, and no large regeneration areas are implemented in hiking areas.

“The new guidelines are aimed at promoting the deadwood continuum and diversity in multiple-use forests, and at avoiding landscape disturbances in hiking areas,” explains Antti Otsamo, Sustainable Development Manager at Metsähallitus Forestry Ltd.

The most significant change in the guidelines involves the instructions on retention trees. In the future, deadwood in Metsähallitus’ commercial multiple-use forests will be left unharvested, with the exception of large damage areas. More living retention trees, and deciduous trees in particular, will be preserved than before. In addition, the size and quantity of thickets left for game animals will be increased.

The objective is to increase the diversity of forests and the number of habitats suitable for game animals in all the stages of forest management. The deadwood continuum benefits several beetle and polypore species, as well as hole-nesting birds such as woodpeckers. Game thickets and the shrub layer are very important reproduction and shelter areas for gamefowl, for example.

Along with the guidelines, the instructions for forest management in hiking areas were also updated. In the future, methods of continuous cover silviculture will be favoured in hiking areas, which will allow the forest to constantly remain wooded. Only small procedures, such as minor regenerations of 0.3–1 ha or nature management procedures such as prescribed burnings, will be permitted in hiking areas.

The Environmental Guide for Forestry is a manual designed for the use of the Metsähallitus personnel, contractors and their employees, and the guide steers the management of multiple-use forests that are in state commercial use. The guide has already been used for 25 years. Along the years, the guidelines have been updated many times to comply with the requirements set by the operating environment, diversity and multiple use procedures.

The guide is available in Finnish at

Further information:
Metsähallitus Forestry Ltd, Sustainable Development Manager Antti Otsamo, tel. +358 40 7197 734
Metsähallitus Forestry Ltd, Environment Specialist Maarit Kaukonen, tel. +358 400 266 740