Monday February 26, 2024

2022 sees silviculture, forest dev work costs €233m

Published : 28 Sep 2023, 03:01

  DF Report
Photo: Erkki Oksanen/Luke.

Costs arising from silviculture and forest improvement work totalled EUR 233 million in 2022, according to the Natural Resources Institute Finland’s (Luke).

Of this amount, silviculture accounted for EUR 191 million and forest improvement for EUR 42 million, said Luke in a press release on Wednesday.

In nominal terms, total costs fell by 1% from the previous year, but high inflation reduced costs in real terms by up to 18%.

“One of the most significant changes was seen in the area of growth-enhancing fertilisation, which was more than half smaller than in the year before. This change can be explained by the prices of chemical fertilisers that have increased as a result of the war in Ukraine,” said Tuomas Niinistö, Senior Statistician of Luke.

Part of the costs of forest management and improvement work were covered by the Kemera subsidies for wood production granted by the state, which totalled EUR 37 million in 2022.

Spruce covered half of the artificial regeneration area

In 2022, the artificial regeneration area decreased by 3% from the previous year to 94,000 hectares. Of this, roughly three quarters were planted and one quarter was grown from seed. Of the area planted (70,000 hectares), 67% were regenerated for spruce and 28% for pine. Birch accounted for 4% of this area.

“The concerns over forest damage increased by climate change associated with the artificial regeneration of spruce forests are not reflected in the amount of artificial regeneration, at least not yet, as the percentage of spruce of the artificial regeneration area remained almost unchanged,” Niinistö said.

Forest planting nearly always took place manually. Forests grown from seed are usually regenerated for pine, and this is mostly done mechanically.

The growing conditions of naturally and artificially regenerated seedling stands can be improved by means of land shaping.

“In 2022, the most common land shaping method was mounding, whose area covered 72,000 hectares. All in all, the forest area shaped in 2022 reached 100,000 hectares, up by 6% from the previous year,” Niinistö said.

The heating up of the energywood market and the general interest in the harvesting of small-sized trees are not reflected in young stands improvement workloads, at least for the time being. In 2022, this area was 35,000 hectares, being 7% smaller than in the previous year.

The total area of early and later pre-commercial thinning, carried out almost entirely by forest workers, fell by 14% from the previous year to 113,000 hectares.

“However, the figures cannot fully explain the amount of early and later pre-commercial thinning, as this is one of the most common work types carried out by forest owners. The statistics of Luke do not include work carried out independently by forest owners in their own forests.” Niinistö said.

On the basis of notifications of forest use, the area treated with felling was estimated to be 704,000 hectares, down by 5% from the year before. Felling aimed at thinning or the removal of seed trees and shelterwood trees accounted for 75% of this area. This also includes felling aimed at continuous-cover silviculture, the area of which was 22,000 hectares. In contrast, the regeneration felling area was 161,000 hectares, with clear cutting accounting for the majority, or 139,000 hectares.