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15.2 Sustainable forest management practices and forest restoration: Recommendations for nature management in commercial forests

Nature management means maintaining and enhancing biodiversity and the benefits of nature through forest management activities. Nature management measures can protect biodiversity in commercial forests, and even small-scale measures can benefit species.

The most common measures include the conservation of habitats important for biodiversity, measures to protect the quality of small water bodies and groundwater, leaving retention trees and dead trees in the forest, and the creation of artificial stumps. The minimum requirements for nature management are defined in the Forest Act, the Nature Conservation Act and the Water Act, as well as in the criteria of forest certification schemes. Forest owners can also take additional voluntary measures.

Together with the Finnish Environment Institute, we have compiled ecological research data on nature management to support forest management recommendations. Based on the data, it is recommended, among other things, that important biotopes should be completely excluded from forestry activities and that a 25–35-metre wide protection zone should be left between small water bodies and the regeneration area.  In addition, deciduous trees and mature, large-diameter mountain-ash, goat willow, alder and aspen trees, which are important for biodiversity but of low economic value, should be left as permanent retention trees at all stages of forest management.