Deputy Managing Director Hannu Virranniemi of Pölkky Oy in Kuusamo says that forest protection has made things difficult for his family company in many ways. "Growth has ceased and adjusting has required investments. Since the protection of forests has reduced the supply of large logs, production machinery has had to be changed to accommodate smaller logs. We have also had to invest in processing sawn wood. Production costs have constantly risen because logs have to be transported a longer distance." Virranniemi, who is in charge of Pölkky’s
wood procurement unit, says that the company has stopped growing because of the reduced supply of wood and rising costs. New jobs have not been created in the past 10 years.
According to Virranniemi, in the past ten years the supply of wood has been reduced in Kainuu, North Ostrobothnia and Lapland by hundreds of thousands of cubic metres a year, mainly in state-owned forests but also in privately owned forests as a result of the protection of forests. Logs suitable for sawing account for about 70 per cent of the drop.
Although the young forests of northern Finland grow rapidly, the volume of wood that can be felled from forests is less than earlier because of protecting forest lands. Thus, the average distance that logs have to be transported to Pölkky’s plants has risen to nearly 140 kilometres. This is 40 kilometres more than the average distance for wood imported from across Finland’s
"Locally forestry and other industries get along well. In northern Finland, there is a special method – a best practise benchmark also internationally – to decide how state-owned forests are
used. All interest groups are participating in the Natural Resource Planning process. Plans are done through a public discussion and regional working groups", says Virranniemi.
Pölkky Oy has operated since 1968 and is the largest private wood processor in northern Finland. The Pölkky Group has a turnover of 50 million euros and employs over 200 people.