The aim of forest restoration is to restore the forest ecosystem, which has deteriorated as a result of forestry, to a condition similar to its natural state. Common forest restoration methods include burning, increasing the quantities of dead and decaying wood, diversification of the forest structure by adding small openings, and the closure of forest roads.

Photo: Kimmo Syrjänen
Photo: Kimmo Syrjänen

Research has shown that burning is the most effective method of restoring forest species dependent on decaying wood and fire.

The variety of polypore species recovers slowly after burning, but eventually far exceeds the richness of polypore species in commercial forests. Many threatened beetle species dependent on forest fires arrive in burned sites in the immediate aftermath of restoration. Aspen, a key species in terms of diversity, also becomes more common after restorative fires.

The afforestation of forest roads can be accelerated by breaking up the road surface, adding pine seeds to the site and spreading forest litter containing moss on the road to protect early plant growth.

Research serves practical restoration

The Natural Resources Institute Finland studies the impacts of forest restoration on biodiversity, the environment and the structure and functioning of ecosystems. The objective is to compare the effectiveness of various types of restoration methods when restoring the functions and structural features typical of ecosystems in their natural state.

In particular, the results are used for forest restoration purposes in protected areas, as well as in commercial forests. Restoration is studied in Nature Reserves, particularly in North Ostrobothnia, Kainuu and North Karelia. The first projects were initiated in the 1990s and a broader network of forest restoration test areas was established on the eastern border of Finland in 2005.

Picture on top of the page: Anne Tolvanen