A new service evaluates the impact of different land use decisions on wood production and other ecosystem services.
National forest inventory data is most visible in public debate when talking about logging volumes. Sometimes, debate over how many trees can be felled can get heated.
Different scenarios calculated by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) and based on National Forest Inventories provide tools for public debate and industrial investment plans.
Various scenarios aim to help societal dialogue.
“These are not logging plans determined by Luke; instead, they serve to identify the potential uses of forests”, points out Hannu Hirvelä, senior scientist at Luke.
One scenario is the calculation of the highest net income, which maximises net income from wood production. It indicates the maximum number of trees that can be felled from commercial forests, while still being financially profitable. However, the calculation does not take account of the sustainability of wood production. It is described by the scenario of the largest sustainable yield of commercial timber.
“The difference between these two calculations indicates what impact the requirement for sustainable wood production has on the largest yield”, Hirvelä says.
The results of National Forest Inventories could also be used more extensively in assessing the impact of planning processes. To this end, Luke has provided wood users and municipal planners with access to the VMIKaaVa service.
“The service can provide background information for the preparation of new plans regarding the impact previous land use decisions have on wood production and other ecosystem services”, says Leena Kärkkäinen, senior scientist at Luke.
This is the first service covering the whole of Finland, which helps to assess the impact of different land use decisions on the use of forests.
“When a new local plan is enforced, it may have a negative or positive impact on wood production, landscape or, say, bilberry yields. Any planning restrictions have the highest significance in the regions of Uusimaa and Tavastia Proper.”
Text: Heikki Hamunen
Picture on top of the page: Erkki Oksanen, Luke
Published in Finnish in Maaseudun Tulevaisuus newspaper on 22 of March 2021