In 2020, a total of 69 million cubic metres of roundwood was removed from Finnish forests, of which 85 per cent consisted of logs and pulpwood, and 15 per cent was energywood. According to the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), the total felling volume decreased from the previous year by 5 per cent. Felling decreased in all regions of mainland Finland.
A total of 58.3 million cubic metres of logs and pulpwood was harvested for industrial use and exports. This volume was 5 million cubic metres lower than in the previous year.
“The felling volume in 2020 corresponded to the average level of felling in the preceding ten-year period. The last time industrial roundwood removals were below 60 million cubic metres was in 2015”, says Tiina Sauvula-Seppälä, senior statistician at Luke.
Pine was harvested most for industrial use
The volume of industrial roundwood removals from private forests decreased from the previous year by 10 per cent, remaining at 47.3 million cubic metres. However, roundwood removals by forest industry companies and the state from their own forests grew by 5 per cent to 11.1 million cubic metres.
“Felling volumes of logs decreased by 4 per cent from the previous year, and those of pulpwood by 11 per cent. In total, nearly 25 million cubic metres of logs and 34 million cubic metres of pulpwood were harvested”, Sauvula-Seppälä says.
Of the different wood assortments, the felling volumes of birch logs and birch pulpwood decreased relatively the most, by 13 per cent. The felling of spruce logs reduced by 4 per cent and the felling of pine logs by 3 per cent. For pine and spruce pulpwood, the reduction was 10 per cent.
Of the wood species, pine was harvested most for industrial use, nearly 27 million cubic metres. The harvested volume of spruce was 4 million cubic metres lower. Less than 10 million cubic metres of birch were felled.
A fifth of industrial roundwood from Savo
A total of 40 per cent of the industrial roundwood was harvested in four regions in 2020. These regions were North Savo, South Savo, Central Finland and North Ostrobothnia. Almost six million cubic metres of logs and pulpwood were felled in each. The felling volumes of industrial roundwood decreased in all regions of mainland Finland.
A record in energywood harvesting
In commercial felling, 6.2 million cubic metres of energywood was harvested for the needs of heat and power plants. The volume grew by a fifth, or 1.1 million cubic metres, from the previous year. The increase was mainly in delimbed stems and whole trees, which were harvested for a total of 3.8 million cubic metres. The highest volumes of energywood were harvested in the regions of Pirkanmaa, Central Finland, Southwest Finland and Satakunta, which accounted for a total of nearly 40 per cent of the energywood from commercial felling.
Total removals decreased to 69 million cubic metres
“In addition to industrial roundwood, wood was harvested from forests for the forest owners’ own use and energy production, so the total volume of roundwood removed in 2020 was 69.0 million cubic metres. Total roundwood removals decreased from the previous year by 4 million cubic metres, so the figures were 9 million cubic metres lower than in the peak year of 2018”, says Jukka Torvelainen, senior statistician at Luke.
A total of 58.7 million cubic metres of logs and pulpwood were harvested for industrial use and for the private needs of forest owners. This was 8 per cent less than in the year before. The total volume of roundwood harvested for energywood, i.e. forest chips for heat and power plants and firewood for detached houses, increased by 12 per cent to 10.3 million cubic metres.
In Southern Finland, 95 per cent of the felling potential in use
According to an estimate Luke prepared in the spring of 2020, the sustainable yield of commercial timber and energy wood harvested from our forests is on average 80.5 million cubic metres of roundwood per year during the ten-year 2016–2025 period.
“The felling volumes and felling potential calculations should be compared over periods of several years, because the felling volumes vary from year to year. In the period from 2016 to 2020, the whole country’s felling volumes were on average 90 per cent of the felling potential. In Northern Finland, within the three northernmost regions, 75 per cent of the felling potential was removed, and in Southern Finland, 95 per cent”, Torvelainen says.
The average removals between 2016 and 2020 exceeded the sustainable yield in six regions in Southern and Central Finland. In South Karelia, this level was exceeded by 15 per cent, and in Kymenlaakso, by 7 per cent. In the regions of Kanta-Häme, Pirkanmaa, Päijät-Häme and South Savo, the excesses were between 1 and 4 per cent.
“Felling volumes have decreased significantly since 2018, and felling in 2020 only exceeded the estimated felling potential in Åland. In the regions of Satakunta, Pirkanmaa and Päijät-Häme, more than 95 per cent of the felling potential was removed in 2020”, Torvelainen continues.
Tree growth 108 million cubic metres, drain 84 million
Luke compiles statistics each year on how much the roundwood removed from forests and the dead roundwood left in forests decrease the amount of growing stock in forests in total. The sum is called the total drain.
“In 2020, the drain was 83.5 million cubic metres, since a total of 14.5 million cubic metres of logging residue roundwood and new natural deadwood was left in forests. However, the total volume of growing stock increased in Finland by approximately 24 million cubic metres, because new roundwood grows in the forests at a rate of 108 million cubic metres a year”, Torvelainen says.