Felling volumes were high in 2022, even though they decreased by two per cent
Last year, stemwood removals totalled 75 million cubic metres. The felling volume of logs was 29, pulpwood 35 and energywood 11 million cubic metres. Total drain was 90 million cubic metres. In addition to removals, it included more than 14 million cubic metres of naturally died stemwood left in forests. Both removals and total drain decreased by two per cent from the previous year.
According to the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), a total of 64.3 million cubic metres of logs and pulpwood was harvested in commercial felling and for the private needs of forest owners. This shows a decrease of three per cent from the year before.
The increase in energy prices and the end of roundwood imports from Russia increased demand for energywood. The total volume of stemwood harvested directly from forests for forest chips for heat and power plants or fuelwood for use in small-scale housing increased by five per cent to 10.8 million cubic metres.
“The total felling volume of stemwood, or total removals, decreased to 75 million cubic metres, down by more than a million cubic metres from the previous year. However, removals exceeded the average level of the preceding five-year period by two per cent and were the third highest in the history of the statistics,” says Jukka Torvelainen, senior statistician at Luke.
96 per cent of the felling potential used in Southern Finland
According to Luke’s estimate, the maximum sustainable yield of commercial timber and energywood harvested from our forests is on average 80.5 million cubic metres of stemwood per year during the period of 2016–2025. Stemwood removals in the whole of Finland have been below the estimated felling potential each year since the 1970s.
“As fellings show significant variation depending on demand for forest industry products, removals and felling potential estimates should be compared over a period of several years. Since 2016, felling volumes have covered an average of 91 per cent of Finland’s felling potential, with the annual level ranging from 86 to 97 per cent,” says Torvelainen.
In Northern Finland – in the area of the three northernmost regions –removals have been significantly below the felling potential. Removals have been higher in other parts of Finland, and in 2016–2022 an average of 96 per cent of the estimated felling potential was used. The maximum sustainable yield was exceeded in six regions, by as much as 13 per cent in South Karelia. In the regions of Kanta-Häme, Pirkanmaa, Päijät-Häme, Kymenlaakso and Southern Savonia, the excess was between three and four per cent.
“In 2022, a total of 98 per cent of the felling potential was used in the regions to the south of Northern Finland,” Torvelainen says.
Industrial roundwood removals remained high
Industrial log and pulpwood removals totalled 64.0 million cubic metres. The volume remained high, even though it decreased by 1.8 million cubic metres from the previous year. It fell short of the peak year of 2018 by five million cubic metres.
In non-industrial private forests, removals decreased by four per cent from the year before. The state and companies increased spruce log removals from their forests by a fifth which increased removals from their forests by six per cent.
Log removals remained high, reaching 28.6 million cubic metres. While the felling volume of logs decreased from the previous year, it exceeded the previous five years’ average by five per cent. Pulpwood removals totalled 35.3 million cubic metres, down by three per cent from the level of previous five years.
In Northern Ostrobothnia, removals returned to the normal level
Four regions accounted for 40 per cent of domestic industrial roundwood: Northern Savonia, North Karelia, Northern Ostrobothnia and Southern Savonia. Northern Savonia and North Karelia recorded the highest roundwood removals, nearly seven million cubic metres each.
Industrial roundwood removals increased in the regions of North and South Karelia and Southern Savonia, while they decreased in other regions. In Northern Ostrobothnia, while the storm named Paula fell trees in 2021, roundwood removals returned to the normal level last year.
Record-high energywood removals
In commercial felling, 6.9 million cubic metres of energywood were harvested for heat and power plants. Stemwood, i.e. whole trees and delimbed stems, accounted for 4.4 million cubic metres of this volume.
“High demand for forest chips increased energywood removals by six per cent from the previous year. This increase came only from delimbed stems, with their volume increasing by a quarter,” says Tiina Sauvula-Seppälä, senior statistician at Luke.
Tree growth 103 million cubic metres, drain 90 million
In 2022, stemwood removals for use totalled 75 million cubic metres. In addition, eight million cubic metres of logging residues stemwood and six million cubic metres of naturally died stemwood remained in forests. The resulting total drain decreased by two per cent from the previous year to 90 million cubic metres. As the annual increment of the growing stock totalled 103 million cubic metres, the total volume of growing stock increased by roughly 14 million cubic metres.
Background to the statistics
Luke collects and publishes data on commercial felling by month and calendar year. Other items used in the calculation of total removals and drain are identified through separate surveys or in conjunction with the National Forest Inventories (NFI).
The volume of wood sawn by forest owners for their private use was previously identified for calendar year 2010, and the volume of fuelwood consumed in small-scale housing for the 2016/2017 heating season.
New calculation principles for natural drain and waste wood based on the NFI12 (2014–2018) data were adopted in the calculation of total drain in 2022. At the same time, data for 2017–2021 were revised, as the new calculation principles apply to these years better than the previous ones. The change reduced total drain by an average of 0.4 per cent during the period.