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Wednesday, 05 May 2021 08:02

Metsä Group and forest owners have planted 270 million trees in a decade

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Metsä Group and forest owners planted 270 million seedlings in Finnish forests between 2010 and 2020. This summer, the figure will increase by more than 35 million seedlings. Metsä Group supplies forest owners with native tree species that occur naturally in Finland.

Under the Finnish Forest Act, a new forest must always be established after felling. This can be done through natural regeneration, or by sowing seeds or planting seedlings. Planting is the fastest and surest way to create a new forest. To secure biodiversity, individual trees from the previous generation are always left in the forest.

“We supply forest owners with species that occur naturally in Finland – pine, spruce and silver birch – for use in forest regeneration. This helps preserve forest nature in the state to which our native species have adapted,” says Teppo Oijala, Metsä Group’s Forest Manager.

In the decade between 2010 and 2020, Metsä Group supplied forest owners with a total of 270 million seedlings and 9,000 kilograms of pine seeds.

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More than a billion pine seeds

“Nine thousand kilograms contains more than a billion seeds, which have grown into hundreds of millions of seedlings. After seedling stand management, around 60 million of these ultimately grow into pine trees in our forests,” Oijala estimates.

This year, forest owners have acquired more than 35 million seedlings and one thousand kilograms of pine seeds through us. Forest owners themselves plant around half the seedlings they acquire through Metsä Group, and the rest are planted by Metsä Group’s contract entrepreneurs.

Breeding improves growth and quality

“We always supply seedlings of the highest quality possible,” Oijala says.

“The use of bred seed materials increases the growth of trees by 10–30% compared to that of naturally generated trees. Breeding has also improved the quality of pine in particular, resulting in straighter and more slender branches. Sawn timber made of trees like this is also of higher quality. Moreover, the bred seeds originate in our natural forests, too.”

Spruce and pine are the most popular forest species for regeneration purposes. They produce the greatest volume of logs, and therefore generate the greatest economic value for forest owners. In addition, pine and spruce are the natural species in the final stage of succession in Finnish forests: pine in poor and spruce in fertile areas.

In fertile areas, silver birch is also a good option. Domesticated silver birch grows very quickly and is particularly well suited to areas suffering from root rot.

Preference for mixed forests

“Metsä Group offers mixed cultivation of pine and spruce as an option for regeneration. This means sowing or planting pine amid spruce seedlings. This is an especially good option in areas suffering from elk damage and in stands with varying fertility,” Oijala explains.

Depending on the tree species and the forest owner’s goals, the number of seedlings planted per hectare ranges from 1,600 to 2,200. In addition, tens of thousands of birch and other seedlings come up naturally in a new forest.

The development of a diverse and resilient mixed forest can be secured through active forest management, and at later stages, with felling that supports the growth and range of tree species. In connection with seedling management and thinning, a suitable mixture of conifer and deciduous trees is left in the forest.

Aiming for brisk regeneration

Metsä Group aims to secure rapid regeneration after felling. The goal is not to miss a single growing season. This offers many benefits.

“It helps seedlings reach good growth before the emergence of grass and bushes that hamper growth. The sooner we have a vigorous new seedling stand in place, the faster and better the new growing stock can sequester carbon from the atmosphere.”

Krista Kimmo, Communications Manager, Metsä Group, tel. +358 50 526 4911

Metsä Group

Metsä Group is leading the way in advancing the bioeconomy. We invest in growth, bioproduct development and a fossil free future. The raw material for our products is renewable wood from sustainably managed northern forests. We focus on the growth sectors of the forest industry: wood supply and forest services, wood products, pulp, fresh fibre paperboards, as well as tissue and greaseproof papers.

Metsä Group’s annual sales amount to approximately EUR 5.5 billion, and we have around 9,200 employees in 30 countries. Our international Group has its roots in the Finnish forests: our parent company is Metsäliitto Cooperative which is owned by 100,000 forest owners. 

Metsä Group’s Wood Supply and Forest Services

Metsä Group’s Wood Supply and Forest Services provides and develops the services offered to the members of Metsä Group's parent company, Metsäliitto. The cooperative consists of approximately 100,000 Finnish forest owners who together own about half of Finland’s private forests. We provide all the forest services required to engage in sustainable forest management and raise the value of forest assets.

We procure all the wood used by Metsä Group from sustainably managed forests in the Baltic Sea region, most of it from our owner-members in Finland. We also supply significant volumes of energy wood, bark and sawdust for further processing.

In 2020, our sales totalled EUR 1.8 billion, and we have around 840 employees.

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