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The growing stock volume is 2.5 billion cubic metres in Finnish forests, a quarter of which in peatlands

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15.11.2022

The annual increment of the growing stock is 103 million cubic metres on forest land and poorly productive forest land, and its total volume is more than 2.5 billion cubic metres. The mean growing stock volume is 122 cubic metres per hectare on forest land. The most recent data on forest resources are based on the National Forest Inventory (NFI) prepared between 2019 and 2021.

Forestry land accounts for 26.3 million hectares, or 86 per cent, of the total land area of Finland. More than three quarters of forestry land consists of forest land with a high tree production potential, while poorly productive forest land accounts for a tenth and completely or nearly treeless unproductive land makes up 12 per cent. In addition, forestry land includes one per cent of forest roads, stocks and other maintenance areas required for forestry.

“The coverage of forestry land is the highest in Lapland, accounting for 98 per cent of the land area. Of forestry land in Lapland, forest land accounts for more than half, poorly productive forest land a fifth and unproductive land more than a quarter. The coverage of forestry land is the lowest in Uusimaa at 60 per cent, where forest land accounts for 91 per cent of forestry land,” says Kari T. Korhonen, principal scientist at the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).

Photo: Eeva Vaahtera

Peatlands account for more than a third of forestry land

Of forestry land, peatlands account for roughly a third, or 9.1 million hectares. The coverage of peatlands is the highest in North Ostrobothnia where they account for 55 per cent of the forestry land area. Correspondingly, the coverage of peatlands is the lowest in Åland, comprising only eight per cent of the forestry land area. More than half of peatlands in Finland have been drained. Peatlands include land with an uninterrupted peat layer or peatland undergrowth – even a thin peat layer causes a growth location to be classified as peatlands.

The growing stock volume on forest land and poorly productive forest land totals 2,529 million cubic metres, of which 89 per cent are located on land available for wood production. A quarter of the growing stock is located on peatlands and three quarters on mineral soils.

The total biomass of living trees in forest land and poorly productive forest land is 1,687 million tonnes. The majority of it (58 per cent) consists of stems and less than a fifth of branches and foliage. Stumps and roots account for a little more than a fifth. Of the biomass, pine makes up 45 per cent, spruce a third and deciduous trees a quarter.

The largest mean volume of growing stock in Kanta-Häme

“The mean volume of the growing stock on forest land is 122 cubic metres per hectare. The mean volume is the highest in Kanta-Häme at 174 cubic metres per hectare and the lowest in Lapland where the mean volume is only 78 cubic metres per hectare,” says senior statistician Eeva Vaahtera.

The volume of decayed and other dead trees on forest land is 6.4 cubic metres per hectare. The highest volume of decayed and other dead trees per hectare is in Lapland at 9.8 cubic metres. In Central Ostrobothnia, the volume of deadwood is only 1.9 cubic metres per hectare.

The annual increment of the growing stock on forest land and poorly productive forest land totals 103 million cubic metres (4.5 cubic metres per hectare on average). With regard to different regions, the total annual increment is the highest in Lapland at 11.7 million cubic metres, even though annual mean growth is the lowest in Lapland at 1.8 cubic metres per hectare. Annual mean growth is the highest in Kanta-Häme at 8.2 cubic metres per hectare, while the annual increment of growing stock remains at 2.9 million cubic metres due to the region’s relatively small size.