The Finnish government understands that more needs to be done, Ohisalo says about the report on shrinking carbon sinks

“We discussed the report positively and we must continue our . The data is extremely alarming and the agrees that more needs to be done.”

Luke published the results on Wednesday its report for reasons of land use, land use change and unprecedented change in the forest sector. The main reason is that the of forests has been more than halved as a result of more efficient logging and slower growth.

Although logging has intensified since the 1990s, forests grew faster and sequestered from the atmosphere to fuel their growth, until their growth began to slow in 2014. Last year, the total output of forests – that is, the amount of round wood removed as logging residue and left in the forests – was almost 92 million cubic meters, which is more than 25 percent more than a couple of decades ago.

The slowdown in growth is caused by a few factors, which are mainly related to the biology of pine trees. Pine trees account for almost half of ’s trees.

Although the growth rate of pine trees varies by latitude, growth is fastest between 21 and 40 years old and second fastest between 41 and 60 years old. In northern Finland, the largest land areas are 61–80-year-old pine forests.

The age structure of forests is expected to prevent forest growth until the 2030s. A recovery to higher than current interest rates is not expected until the 2040s.

However, Luke estimates that the age structure of the forests only explains about a fifth of the slowdown in growth.

Growth has also slowed down due to the lack of soil moisture – especially in the dry summers of 2018, 2019 and 2020. The amount of soil moisture depends, for example, on the melting time of the snow.

Another reason is the increase: in Northern Finland, the cone yield in 2020 was the fifth highest since 1979. Previous studies have shown that the volume growth of pine trees typically decreases by 10–20 percent in years of high cone yield during tree harvest. energy to produce cones instead of growing.

According to Luke, the fourth reason for the slowdown in the growth of pine forests is aggressive thinning. Although thinning can give an individual tree more space, light and nutrients to grow, it has a negative effect on the growth of the entire forest. Luke found that both the area of ​​thinning and the intensity of thinning have grown in the 21st century: while a few decades ago, around 30 percent of trees were felled by thinning, in 2021 it was around 40 percent.

Qualitative analyzes of thinning logging also reveal that almost 25 percent of forests have been thinned too aggressively in recent years, while at the beginning of the 2000s it was less than 10 percent. wrote newspaper.

“I believe that thinning does not explain the events of last year. other reasons were found for it” Kari Korhonen, Luke’s director of research, told the newspaper. “But dry summers and high cone yields only occur occasionally. Thinning is developing negatively, and has been developing for some time. That means this is a factor that has a long-term impact on growth.”

Luke estimates that Finland is currently expected to be 50–80 million tons of carbon dioxide below the carbon sink target set by the EU for the years 2021–2025. Failure to meet the target would oblige the country to either buy emission units from member states that have reached their national target or to reduce emissions in other sectors of the economy, such as transport.

Ohisalo on Wednesday told According to a report for , forest management in Finland is not on a sustainable basis.

“The situation is alarming from many points of view. When trees grow more slowly, it is also alarming for the forest industry. Our forestry is currently not on a sustainable basis. We are weighing different measures with different stakeholders,” he commented to the public broadcaster.

“Hakkuu reached a record level last year. Reducing logging must clearly be part of this effort to promote carbon sinks.

He also admitted that the development could impose significant costs on the country. “These are still being calculated in the EU, but it is true that we have certain obligations and that there will be some kind of price tag.”

Minister of Agriculture and Forestry (The Center) also described the report’s findings as worrying, but suggested that they do not necessarily require a reduction in logging, but possibly at an earlier stage and in larger quantities.

“We all have a common concern for the well-being of forests. It is a concern for nature conservation, forest industry and administration. You can’t say that limiting logging alone would be some kind of answer,” he reasoned, according to YLE. “We need more felling in certain areas, because we don’t thin out young forests early enough, which causes problems.”

“We have to use all our resources to speed up the growth of forests. We need to fertilize, cut more, but we need to do it at the right time.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

Source: The Nordic Page

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