Forest growth figures have begun to decline, says a report From the Natural Resources Center (Luke).
For the last time in Luke’s 100-year history of forest growth reports, anything but a growing trend was observed 60 years ago.
Forest growth is a major contributor to climate efforts and its decline could significantly hamper efforts to meet EU targets. Finland’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2035 depends on the ability of forests to absorb at least a third – or about 21 million tonnes of carbon dioxide – of Finland’s total climate emissions.
According to the Institute’s figures, tree growth has fallen by a total of 4.3 million cubic meters a year. According to Luke’s leading expert, the report’s findings were unexpected. Kari Korhonen.
"About 4 million cubic meters is a significant drop, especially given the short time it has taken place." Korhonen told Yle.
Several factors behind the trend
According to researchers, there may be reasons for the change related to both nature and human activities. On the other hand, weather variations, such as dry summers, can significantly affect the growth of pines, for example.
However, other culprits include intensive forestry (reforestation), wood processing and the drainage of Finnish peatlands, which in turn has continued to cause environmental pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
Reports revealed that over the next 50 years, industrial logging could destroy nearly half of the biodiversity that has not yet been given protected status.
Minister of the Environment Emma Kari (The Greens) said at a news conference on Wednesday that a working group would be set up to protect old and treasured forests.
"Halting the loss of biodiversity requires precisely the protection of valuable natural forests," Kari said and added it "clear-cutting is not the only way to (economically) benefit from the forest."
The Minister also praised the METSO program proposed by the government, which could encourage landowners to protect forests by providing compensation for conservation measures.
"It has been considered a good program by scientists and conservationists as well as landowners," Kari said during the pressure.
Luke plans to release more data early next year to see if the recent slowdown in growth could turn into a more permanent trend.
Source: The Nordic Page