The amount of forest improvement work increased significantly in 2019. Ditch network maintenance in forests covered 12,000 kilometres. A total of 2,500 kilometres of forest roads were basic improved and constructed. The area of artificial regeneration increased by 4 per cent from the previous year to 100,000 hectares.
In 2019, total costs of silviculture and forest improvement work were EUR 265 million. Investments in silviculture decreased slightly from the previous year to EUR 209 million. In their place, investments in forest improvement work increased by 31 per cent in real terms to EUR 55 million.
Primary work types related to silviculture include soil preparation, artificial regeneration, early and later pre-commercial thinning, and improvement of young stands.
“Costs of early and later pre-commercial thinning and improvement of young stands were EUR 75 million, accounting for more than one third of the total costs of silviculture. Compared with last year, costs decreased by 8 per cent in real terms. Costs of artificial regeneration increased by 2 per cent from the previous year in real terms, to EUR 60 million. The value of soil preparation was EUR 38 million”, says Eeva Vaahtera, senior statistician at the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).
Forest improvement work includes fertilisation, ditch network maintenance, basic improvement and construction of forest roads, and costs from the planning of forest improvement work. In 2019, more than EUR 26 million was invested in forest roads, being 74 per cent more than in the previous year in real terms. Instead, total costs of ditch network maintenance decreased by 8 per cent in real terms to slightly more than EUR 6.5 million (deflated using the wholesale price index, 1949=100).
Pre-commercial thinning is done manually
Pre-commercial thinning and improvement of young stands were done over an area of 169,000 hectares. This area decreased by 8 per cent from the previous year. The total area of early and later pre-commercial thinning was 130,000 hectares (down by 4 per cent from the previous year). Early and later pre-commercial thinning was nearly exclusively carried out using clearing saws. The area of improvement of young stands decreased by one fifth from the previous year, to 39,000 hectares.
“Soil preparation to improve forest regeneration opportunities was carried out over 107,000 hectares, of which mounding accounted for 68 per cent. Disc trenching made up one fifth and patch scarification covered one tenth. The soil preparation area increased by 1 per cent from 2018”, Vaahtera says.
Seeding area increased
In 2019, the artificial regeneration area was 100,000 hectares, up by 4 per cent from the previous year. One fourth of this area was grown from seed. The seeding area increased by 16 per cent from the previous year, while the planting area remained unchanged. Of the planting area, spruce comprised 69 per cent, pine 27 per cent and birch 4 per cent. In seeding, the proportion of mechanical seeding increased to 83 per cent of the total seeding area, whereas 98 per cent of the planting area was planted manually.
In 2019, the amount of forest improvement work was clearly higher than in the previous year. Ditch network maintenance increased to 12,000 kilometres. A total of 2,500 kilometres of forest roads were basic improved and constructed, being 74 per cent more than in the previous year.
On the basis of notifications of forest use, the total felling area was estimated to be 711,000 hectares in 2019. Thinning and the removal of seed trees and shelterwood trees made up 78 per cent of this area. The clearcutting area was 114,000 hectares, covering 16 per cent of the total felling area. Seed tree and shelterwood felling covered 26,000 hectares.
Background to the statistics
Luke’s statistics of silviculture and forest improvement work include work carried out in private, commercial and state-owned forests. Information about workloads, unit costs and total costs is collected by means of a survey. The statistical data consists of information collected from the most significant operators in the sector and a sample of forest service enterprises. The statistics do not include work carried out independently by forest owners in their own forests, as this is not recorded in the statistics from the data collected from forest service providers.