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Minister Leppä: Forests help us get rid of fossil fuels

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry 22.6.2017 9.03 | Published in English on 27.6.2017 at 16.51
News item

The newly appointed Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Jari Leppä chaired the Forest Council for the first time on 20 June.

– We want to make the move from fossil fuel economy to bioeconomy and, as we wish to do so, we must continue to make use of our forests, Minister Leppä summarises Finland’s forest policy message.

– Recently there has been a lot of talk about the new target volume to be harvested. The attached chart shows what this means in reality. The increased harvesting volume leads to hardly any increase in regeneration felling, and there will be just a slight increase in the areas to be thinned. In other words, there is not going to be much change in the forest area to be harvested, but the good growth of forests enables an increase in removals per hectare.

Minister Leppä presented the attached chart, which shows the estimated average harvesting area in 2015-2025. Source: Kari T. Korhonen et al. 2016, Natural Resources and Bioeconomy Studies 51/2016

Minister Leppä also brought a message from the European Environment Council, where the Minister for Housing, Energy and the Environment Kimmo Tiilikainen had discussed the regulation of the LULUCF sector. This concerns the role of land use, land use change and forests in terms of the European climate objectives.

– A common understanding has not yet been reached. The negotiations will continue in October under the Estonian Presidency. Thanks to the work done, now the other Member States understand better what is happening in the Finnish forestry sector and the role it has as a driving force for the bioeconomy.

Also on the agenda of the Forest Council was the evaluation of the National Forest Strategy and current topics in the forest bioeconomy research done at the Natural Resources Institute Finland. Jari Hynynen from the Natural Resources Institute Finland told about the impacts of increased harvesting and more efficient forest management on the increment of the growing stock and timber reserves.

– It is important to make sure that work continues to be done for the growth of our forests. Now that wood is being used for multiple purposes, more efficient forest management is needed. In the short term this includes fertilisation for growth and ditch network maintenance, Hynynen says.

– These measures must be taken with due account for the environment. Measures with a long-term impact include the use of bred forest reproductive material, which supports climate change adaptation as well.

Inquiries at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry:

Marja Kokkonen, Forestry Counsellor, marja.kokkonen(at), tel. +358 295 162 444

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