In 2018, a total of EUR 252 million were invested in silviculture and forest improvement, up by 3% from the previous year. The amount invested in silviculture increased by 4% to EUR 230 million from the year before. In addition, the amount invested in forest improvement decreased by 8% to EUR 22 million. (Deflated using the wholesale price index.)
“Early and later pre-commercial thinning and improvement of young stands consumed EUR 80 million, nearly one-third of total costs”, says Eeva Vaahtera, senior statistician at the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).
EUR 58 million were invested in artificial regeneration, while EUR 41 million were invested in preparations for forest regeneration, the clearing of regeneration areas and soil preparation. Total costs of forest improvement, consisting of forest roads and ditch network maintenance, totalled EUR 22 million.
“In 2018, silvicultural works took over an area of 691,000 hectares. Of this, early and later pre-commercial thinning comprised 136,000 and improvement of young stands 49,000 hectares. The area of early and later pre-commercial thinning decreased by 7% from the year before, while the improvement of young stands area went up by 13%”, Vaahtera says.
Early and later pre-commercial thinning was nearly exclusively carried out manually using clearing saws. The soil preparation area of 105,000 hectares remained unchanged from the previous year. The most common soil preparation method was mounding which accounted for three quarters of the shaping area.
Planting still the most common artificial forest regeneration method
The area of artificial regeneration decreased by 7% to 96,000 hectares from the year before. Of this area, planting accounted for 77% and seeding 23%. Of the planting area, spruce comprised 68%, pine 29% and birch 3%.
On the basis of notifications of forest use, the area treated with fellings was estimated to be 794,000 hectares. The area of thinnings and the removal of seed trees and shelterwood trees was 573,000 hectares, accounting for 72% of the total felling area. Clearcutting made up more than one-fifth of the felling area. Natural regeneration covered 37,000 hectares, comprising 5% of the felling area.
Background to the statistics
Luke’s statistics of silviculture and forest improvement include work carried out in private, company-owned and state-owned forests. Information about work amounts, 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 non-industrial private forest owners in their own forests, as this is not recorded in the statistics from the data collected from forest service providers.