In 2020, roundwood consumption totalled 78.3 million solid cubic metres in Finland, which was four per cent less than during the previous year. A total of 86 per cent of roundwood was consumed in the manufacture of forest industry products, while the remaining proportion was used in energy generation at heating and power plants, and as fuelwood in small-scale housing. In addition, a total of 23.8 million cubic metres of forest industry by-products and wood residues were consumed, showing a decrease of 10 per cent from the previous year.
“The decrease in forest industry production reduced the consumption of roundwood as expected. This affected also the volumes of forest industry by-products and other industrial wood residues used as raw materials and in energy generation”, says Tuomas Niinistö, Senior Statistician at the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).
A total of 86 per cent, or 67.0 million cubic metres, of all roundwood was consumed in forest industry production. The volume of roundwood consumed in energy generation increased by five per cent from the previous year to 11.3 million cubic metres. In addition, the forest industries processed a total of 8.8 million solid cubic metres of forest industry by-products mainly in pulp production.
“When used as by-products, roundwood is consumed for the second time. These volumes are already included in the consumption of roundwood”, Niinistö says.
Share of wood imports increased
Of the roundwood consumed by the forest industries, 57.3 million cubic metres were domestic roundwood and 9.7 million cubic metres were imported. The consumption of domestic roundwood decreased by seven per cent from the previous year, while the volume of imported roundwood remained nearly unchanged. The share of the sawmilling industry from the consumption of roundwood increased by one percentage point, even though the volume decreased to 24.7 million cubic metres. Measured by quantity, roundwood consumption decreased the least in the pulp industry and relatively the most in the plywood and veneer industries. However, the pulp industry still processed nearly half of all roundwood, 32.5 million cubic metres in total.
Imported chips accounted for 2.6 million solid cubic metres of all roundwood consumed by the forest industries. Calculated on the basis of this, 1.8 million solid cubic metres of the total imports of chips (4.4 million solid cubic metres) were consumed in energy generation.
“The use of imported chips in energy generation has increased steadily over the past five years. In 2020, a total of 13 per cent more imported chips were burned than during the previous year, and their share from forest chips consumed in energy generation increased to 24 per cent”, Niinistö says.
Wood fuels consisted increasingly of forest chips
The record-warm winter of 2020 reduced the need for energy generation and also lowered the consumption of solid wood fuels. According to preliminary statistics by Statistics Finland, the consumption of renewable energy sources in 2020 surpassed the use of fossil fuels for the first time ever during the history of the statistics. Solid wood fuels and black liquor produced by the forest industries accounted for 28 per cent of the total consumption of energy (355 terawatt-hours).
Heating and power plants consumed a total of 19.4 million solid cubic metres of solid wood fuels as energy, down by six per cent from the previous year. In terms of energy content, this corresponded to 37.3 terawatt-hours. The same volume of forest chips was burned as in the year before (7.6 million solid cubic metres), while its share from the total consumption of solid wood fuels increased by 39 per cent. A total of 10.6 million cubic metres of forest industry by-products and wood residues were consumed, ten per cent less than in 2019. In 2020, the consumption of recycled wood in energy generation totalled 1.0 million cubic metres. Heating and power plants also consumed 259,000 tonnes of wood pellets and briquettes. The domestic production of pellets decreased by 11 per cent to 322,000 tonnes.
Information about the statistics
The statistics cover annual information about total wood consumption in Finland. The information is collected from Luke’s statistics of Forest industries’ wood consumption, Wood in energy generation and Fuelwood consumption in small-scale housing.