Published 26.2.2024

Metsähallitus is recruiting dozens of experts to inventory primary and old-growth forests

Metsähallitus will survey primary and old-growth forests during the next two years (2024-2025). Approximately 50 fixed-term forest experts will be hired for forest inventory tasks. The area under inventory may be up to 200 to 250,000 hectares, with a focus on Lapland.

In order to make a decision on the conservation of primary and old-growth forests, information based on the measurements on the key structural features of forests, including the number of dead trees and the age of trees, is needed. The tasks of the forest inventory officers now being hired will include measuring the structural features of trees. In addition, the task is to assess and identify signs indicating the natural state of the forest and previous human activities.

The Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry are currently preparing national criteria for determining primary and old-growth forests.

“We are still waiting for a national decision on the exact criteria for identifying primary and old-growth forests. Once the criteria and the guidelines for applying them have been confirmed, we will have the capacity to start preparing for field work immediately,” says Hannu Lehtonen, Director of Forest Use and Planning at Metsähallitus Forestry Ltd.

In addition to Metsähallitus’s own information sources, information received from various stakeholders and voluntary ecological surveyors will be used in identifying the inventory sites.

“We will also inventory the areas proposed for conservation by the Luonnonmetsäryhmä (natural forest group). This requires we have received the map boundaries of the areas,” Hannu Lehtonen says. In addition to fixed-term inventory officers, the entire expertise of Metsähallitus will be utilised.

The costs of the inventory are covered by Metsähallitus Forestry Ltd’s business financing.

Finland is committed to protecting primary and old-growth forests according to the EU Biodiversity Strategy. Once state-owned forests have been inventoried, Parliament will decide on the areas to be protected on the basis of a government proposal.

In addition to conservation, the everyday management of forests plays an important role in halting biodiversity loss. Nature management measures carried out in connection with forest management, such as leaving retention trees and decaying wood, increasing the number of mixed tree stands and excluding valuable nature sites from activities, are part of everyday nature management.

Further information:

Metsähallitus Forestry Ltd, Director of Forest Use and Planning Hannu Lehtonen, tel. +358 (0)40 583 6983
Metsähallitus Forestry Ltd, Forest Resources and Planning Manager Niklas Björkqvist, tel. +358 (0)40 732 4463