Forest environment programme

The goal of the sawmill industry is that Finland’s forests are doing well now and in the future. Together with the forest owner, forest professionals can contribute on a daily basis to maintaining good living conditions for forest species and clean waters.



By implementing the measures of the Sawmills Association’s forest environment programme, forest owners can increase the biodiversity of their forests during the wood trade process. The measures aim to maintain and improve habitats that are important to forest species. Together with forest owners, forestry professionals contribute every day to maintaining good living conditions for forest species and clean waters.


In the Sawmills Association’s forest environment programme:

  • nature management is implemented alongside forest management work
  • the measures are selected during the wood trade process according to the forest owner’s objectives
  • the measures are cost-effective, thanks to good planning and implementation
  • forest owners can also decide on other measures to secure the biodiversity of their forests


The forest environment programme proposes six nature management measures that complement the requirements of the Finnish Forest Act and forest certification schemes: 

  1. Preserve game thickets
  2. Favour mixed forest stands
  3. Protect peatland borders
  4. Preserve decaying wood
  5. Make artificial stumps
  6. Spare low-producing sites

As a forest owner, you benefit from measures to increase biodiversity:

  • A healthier forest that is more resistant to destruction
  • Improved conditions for wood production
  • A habitat where mushrooms, berries and game species thrive
  • The forest landscape remains beautiful, and the forest’s recreational value grows






 Photo: Sami Karppinen / Metsälehti


  • Nature management safeguards the diversity of forests in connection with forest management.
  • The forest owner’s goals for nature management are mapped in connection with each timber trade
  • The measures will improve the conditions for wood production and forestry in the long run
  • Nature and the environment can be managed cost-effectively when measures are properly targeted

What is it all about?

Biodiversity can be increased in forestry through nature management measures. Over the decades, nature management has become part of everyday forestry. The measures are aimed at maintaining and improving the habitats important to the species; diverse trees such as deciduous trees and decaying trees are an integral part of northern coniferous forest life. Thousands of species living on decaying trees are important, for example, for nutrient cycling. Ensuring clean waters is also an important part of nature management.

The forest owner benefits from nature management measures in many ways. In addition to economic returns, natural values ​​and recreational opportunities, as well as many other benefits of the forest, are important to Finnish forest owners. Diverse forest nature also improves the conditions for wood production and helps trees to better withstand the challenges posed by climate change, for example.

Nature management methods are based on researched data and best practices. Some of the nature management measures are based on the requirements of the law and certification, but the forest owner has plenty of choice in deciding on the use of nature management measures in his or her own forest. The Finnish Sawmill Association’s forest environment program has compiled a well-thought-out set of key nature management measures to facilitate the forest owner’s decision-making.

How is nature management implemented in practice?

Nature management measures are implemented alongside forestry work. Through the measures of the forest environment program, the forest owner can increase the diversity of his or her forests, for example, by ensuring the preservation of existing decaying trees in the forest, increasing the number of tree species grown or saving densities suitable for hiding and eating.

A plan for nature management measures is made in connection with the timber trade. Wood buyers discuss the means of nature management with the forest owner and at the same time map out the forest owner’s goals. The measures may be based on the forest owner’s objectives, the type of forest or how many euros can be spent on implementation. Measures can be taken cost-effectively by ensuring that they are well designed and implemented.

Kuva: Vastavalo, Anja Vest



Game thickets provide shelter and food for animals

  • Two to five small (0.5–2 ares; 1 are = 100 m2) thickets that are important for game animals can be left per hectare
  • The most important tree species for game thickets is spruceGood places for thickets are, e.g., groups of retention trees, watercourse buffer zones and rocky or wet terrain
  • The ideal time for preserving game thickets is in connection with preliminary clearing and sapling stand management
  • The objective is a controlled yet untended forest – eliminating unnecessary and time-consuming clearing of undergrowth
  • A good gaming forest brings joy to hunters and wildlife observers

Kuva: Tapio, Lauri Saaristo



Mixed forest stands bring more life and health to the forest

  • To encourage a mixed forest, individuals of all original tree species are retained during felling
  • A diverse forest stand brings more life and health to the forest – and is a joy to behold
  • Preserving individual goat willow, aspen, alder and hardwood trees is an easy way to maintain a wide range of trees species in the forest
  • Mixed spruce and pine forests also increase the forest’s biodiversity
  • Mixed forests are less susceptible to damage
  • A mix of broadleaf species in a spruce stand improves the trees’ growth


Kuva: Vastavalo, Pertti Harstela



Peatland borders help protect unique habitats

  • Peatland border zones provide shelter and food for mammals, birds and insects
  • Border zones of varying widths are left entirely outside felling operations or they are processed by carefully removing individual trees
  • The aim is to preserve the zone’s diverse species and the variation in the stand’s size and density
  • The border zones hold and clean water and contribute to a more varied landscape
  • Border zones are not cleared, and the surface is not broken by moving machinery or soil preparation


Kuva: Vastavalo, Jukka Kangas


Decaying wood gives threatened forest species a better chance of survival

  • Increasing decaying wood in a forest is the single most important action that promotes biodiversity
  • During harvesting, efforts are made to leave decaying wood intact, and decaying wood on the ground is not cleared away
  • Hard decaying wood is also spared during the harvesting of energy wood
  • Species that live in decaying wood help control pests
  • Decaying wood is an important carbon and nutrient reserve that also benefits new generations of trees


Kuva: Tapio, Hannes Pasanen



Artificial stumps help woodpeckers, tits, bracket fungi and beetles


  • Artificial stumps are a quick, easy and cost-effective way of increasing the amount of decaying wood in forest-stand harvesting
  • Artificial stumps are high stumps that are left in the forest during harvesting, whereby trees are cut at a height of two to five metres and the stump is left standing
  • The stumps are primarily created from curved or otherwise defective trees
  • Two to five stumps are left per hectare, along with living retention trees
  • Dead trees attract woodpeckers, tits, bracket fungi and beetles to the forest


Kuva: Tapio, Hannes Pasanen



Sparing low-producing sites from felling creates richer habitats

  • Low-producing sites that deviate from their surrounding environment are important for many rare species
  • For sites where harvesting and regeneration are difficult or the forest is otherwise low-producing, the approach is simple: these areas are bypassed during harvesting
  • Game thickets and retention trees can also be concentrated on or near these sites
  • Sparse and low-producing peatlands should be left to return to a natural state after harvesting


Kuva: Vastavalo, Rauno Pelkonen

Wood From Finland

Wood from Finland is a national promotion program for Finnish sawn timber operated by Finnish Sawmill Association.


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