"Boosting the forest utilisation rate sustainably and speeding up the market entry of wood call for measures that activate owners to take good care of their forests and maximise felling potential. This will also safeguard the continuation of profitable forestry in Finland,” say Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK) President Juha Marttila and Timo Jaatinen, Director General of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.
The creation of a more functional timber market would contribute to the retention of existing manufacturing capacity and improve the industry’s willingness to invest in Finland also in the future. Action plans should be long-term in nature, but their implementation must commence without delay. Privately owned forests supply about 80% of the industry’s wood consumption.
Increased utilisation of domestic wood will have substantial positive impacts on the whole of society. The forest-based sector directly and indirectly provides employment for some 200,000 Finns. When its multiplier effects are considered, the sector influences the livelihood of up to 500,000 people in Finland.
Growth-promoting measures for the next Programme for Government
MTK and the Finnish Forest Industries Federation present as their shared view that the following ten sets of measures should be incorporated into the next Programme for Government:
1) Launch a National Wood Construction Programme.
2) Promote the competitiveness of forestry and the forest industry through long-term tax incentives and facilitate the functioning of the timber market with corresponding measures.
3) Use taxation to improve the ownership structure of forests by facilitating generational transfers, preventing the fragmentation of forest holdings and promoting the market entry of forest estates.
4) Improve the operating environment for forestry entrepreneurship.
5) Improve the functionality of the forestry services market.
6) Make a commitment to realise the 2015 National Forest Programme and to develop forest legislation.
7) Launch a fresh Strategic Programme for the Forest Sector in 2011-15.
8) Secure funding for KEMERA (Act on the Financing of Sustainable Forestry) and the Metso forest biodiversity programme for Southern Finland.
9) Implement the renewable energy target programme, taking into consideration the forest industry’s role as a producer of renewable energy and making sure that enough raw materials remain available for the industry.
10) Enhance the efficiency of wood procurement logistics by developing the railway terminal network, fixing up the lower road network and by raising the maximum permitted total weight of timber transport lorries.
Timo Jaatinen, Director General, Finnish Forest Industries Federation, tel. +358 9 132 6600;