Sustainable forest management means the managed utilisation of forests: during the year, more wood grows than is felled. Finland has been practising sustainable forest management for a long time.
’Sustainable forestry’ means that forest management and use are ecologically, socially, economically and culturally sustainable. Six criteria have been defined for sustainable forestry, based on which sustainability is assessed. Each criterion is measured using many quantitative and qualitative indicators. The results indicate, among other things, how different measures affect the sustainability of forestry over time. Criteria and indicators applied in Finland are based on internationally approved pan-European models. Based on these, reports are also published that describe the state of Finland’s forests and forestry.
The assessment of the sustainability of Finnish forests is done using a collection of pan-European indicators. In some contexts, additions national indicators are applied, or the pan-European indicators are altered to correspond better to national conditions. The state of Finnish forests has been assessed four times based on the pan-European indicators, in 1997, 2000, 2007 and 2011.
The six pan-European criteria for sustainable forestry are:
- Maintenance and appropriate enhancement of forest resources and their contribution to global carbon cycles
- Maintenance of forest ecosystems’ health and vitality
- Maintenance and encouragement of productive functions of forests (wood and non-wood)
- Maintenance, conservation and appropriate enhancement of biological diversity in forest ecosystems
- Maintenance, conservation and appropriate enhancement of protective functions in forest management (notably soil and water);
- Maintenance of other socio-economic functions and conditions