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Roundwood consumption rose to a record-high level in 2021

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24.5.2022

According to the preliminary data of the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), roundwood consumption in 2021 totalled 85,1 million solid cubic metres in Finland, which was nine per cent more than during the previous year. A total of 85 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. Alongside roundwood, the consumption of forest industry by-products and wood residues totalled 27.5 million cubic metres, up by 16 per cent from the previous year.

“The growing demand for forest industry products and especially the increased use of forest energy drove the total consumption of unprocessed roundwood in 2021 to a record-high level in the history of the statistics,” says Tuomas Niinistö, senior statistician at Luke.

A total of 85 per cent of all roundwood, or 72.2 million cubic metres, was consumed by the forest industries in production. In addition, the forest industries processed a total of 9.8 million solid cubic metres of forest industry by-products primarily in pulp production.

Photo: Tiina Sauvula-Seppälä

“As by-products, wood is used for the second time, meaning that we are no longer talking about roundwood. Examples of by-products include chips delivered from sawmills to the pulp industry, and their volume is not included in the roundwood consumption figures,” Niinistö says.

The volume of roundwood burned as energy increased by 14 per cent from the previous year to 12.9 million cubic metres. In addition, 17.7 million cubic metres of various by-products and wood residues, including bark and logging residues, were consumed in energy generation.

The increase in roundwood consumption was based on domestic wood

The forest industries processed 62.4 million cubic metres of domestic roundwood and 9.8 million cubic metres of imported wood. The consumption of domestic roundwood increased by nine per cent and that of imported roundwood by one per cent from the previous year.

The volume of roundwood processed by the sawmill industry increased by ten per cent to 30.4 million cubic metres, accounting for more than a third of total roundwood consumption.

Nearly half of all roundwood consumed by the forest industries – 34.7 million cubic metres – was used in pulp manufacturing as in previous years. Imported chips accounted for 2.5 million solid cubic metres of all roundwood consumed by the forest industries.

The remaining imported chips – 1.9 million solid cubic metres – were used as energy. The volume of burned imported chips increased by three per cent from the previous year.

Roundwood consumption increased driven by the popularity of forest energy

The transition from fossil fuels and peat to renewable energy sources increases the use of wood as energy which is also reflected in the statistics. During the cold winter in 2021, the need for heating increased and, according to Statistics Finland’s preliminary data, the consumption of wood-based fuels was higher than ever before during the statistical history. The proportion of solid wood fuels and black liquor produced by forest industries from the total consumption of energy (377 terawatt-hours) increased to 30 per cent.

Heating and power plants consumed a total of 23.7 million solid cubic metres (46 terawatt-hours) of solid wood fuels as energy. This was 23 per cent higher than in the year before.

Combined with small-scale housing, heating and power plants burned a total of 30.6 million cubic metres of solid wood-based fuels, being equivalent to 61.3 terawatt-hours.

The consumption of forest chips, covering the first use of wood, totalled 10 million cubic metres. Of this volume, heating and power plants consumed 9.4 million cubic metres. In addition, heating and power plants consumed 12.7 million cubic metres of forest industry by-products and wood residues, up by 22 per cent from the previous year. The consumption of recycled wood in energy generation was 1.3 million cubic metres.

Heat and power plants consumed 402,000 tonnes of wood pellets and bricks. The domestic production of pellets increased by 13 per cent to 365,000 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.