It is hardly a surprise to anyone following the news in the forest sector in Finland that the stumpage earnings for forest owners increased in 2017. The third consecutive year of increase saw the earnings rise to EUR 2.2 billion, the highest figure since the record year of 2007. Most of the earnings were made by private non-industrial forest owners, and spruce produced the highest earnings out of the tree species. The stumpage earnings statistics are published by the Statistical Services of Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).
In Finland, most forests are owned by private non-industrial forest owners. In terms of numbers of trees, their holdings are concentrated in Southern and Central Finland. That is also reflected in the earnings, as private non-industrial forest owners and public entities receive more than EUR 1.9 billion, or 86 per cent, of all stumpage earnings. In contrast, the forest holdings of forest industry companies and the state are concentrated in the clearly less productive areas in Eastern and Northern Finland. Although they own one-third of the forest area used for wood production, their share of the stumpage earnings is only EUR 0.3 billion, or 14 per cent.
Spruce and logs produce the best earnings
Finland is thought of as a country of pines, because more than two-thirds of forests in Finland are predominantly pine forests. However, the stumpage earnings depict a different situation.
“The share of spruce logs of all earnings is almost two-fifths, and together with spruce pulpwood, the share is 46 per cent,” says Luke researcher Esa Uotila.
In particular, spruce is important in Southern Finland and in private non-industrial forests. In Tavastia Proper and Päijänne Tavastia, spruce produced almost two-thirds of the earnings. In Ostrobothnia and Northern Finland, as well as mainly in forests owned by the forest industry and the state in Eastern and Northern Finland, pine was nevertheless clearly the most important tree species. In the whole country, pine produced two-fifths of the earnings.
“The sawmill industry is the most important buyer of wood for the private non-industrial forest owners, as 70 per cent of the earnings come from logs,” Uotila says.
Stumpage earnings as part of the national accounts
The gross stumpage earnings are calculated by multiplying the felling volume by standing sales prices. In addition to the earnings from selling wood, the value of wood sourced for private use by the forest owners is also counted as earnings. Among other things, the gross stumpage earnings statistics are used in calculations for the national accounts and as background information for decision-making in the forest sector. The statistics database of Luke (stat-luke.fi/) includes statistics of stumpage earnings since 1990.
Stumpage earnings tell their own story of the ups and downs of Finnish economy. For example, the earnings show a clear drop during the depression of the 1990s, the boom and stumpage price record in 2007, as well as the slump in the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009.