New research project offers additional information on improving forest biodiversity

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The Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE) and the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) are taking part in joint research into the impact of forestry practices on forest biodiversity. The research, on which a report will be issued at the end of 2018, will shed new light on how the nature management of commercial forests can be developed.

LUKE and SYKE’s joint research looks at what kind of impact changes in forest management and forest protection have had on the forest environment and what impact they will continue to have in the future. In addition to examining existing forest management techniques, the study also looks at enhanced nature management methods, which will provide more information for the development of forest management. This is the first time that the ecological sustainability of commercial forests will be investigated this broadly in Finland.

“Since the 90s, forest management has developed so that consideration of nature values now plays a much bigger role. However, changes to structural features and forest species become apparent only after decades have passed. More information about the long-term impact of forestry is needed so that nature management in commercial forests can be developed in the best possible way,” says Tiina Vuoristo, Sustainability Manager at the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.

“With the help of data from LUKE’s National Forest Inventory, we will examine how forests’ structural features have developed since the days of intensive forestry to the present day. We will also assess how forests would develop in future based on their use and two different management scenarios: conventional management and enhanced nature management,” says Principal Scientist Kari T. Korhonen about LUKE’s role in the project.

“SYKE researchers are evaluating how the development of forests’ structural features impact the survival of forest species. Furthermore, we are collecting more precise information about so-called key biotopes, especially about the mosses and lichens that live on the branches and trunks of trees,” says Project Manager Saija Kuusela of SYKE.

According to an earlier study by LUKE and SYKE, guaranteeing the ecological sustainability of the bioeconomy requires that biodiversity improvement measures be stepped up. The current study’s aim is to establish which structural features of forests should receive more attention in commercial forest management and in which ways existing practices are sufficient. In this way, actions that aim to improve forest biodiversity can be targeted in the most effective way possible.

The forest industry is funding the research. The research project is part of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation’s five-year forest environment programme, which started in 2016. The programme aims to promote the ecological sustainability of forestry.

For further information please contact:
Tiina Vuoristo, Finnish Forest Industries Federation, tiina.vuoristo@forestindustries.fi, tel. +358 40 5425365
Saija Kuusela, Finnish Environment Institute, saija.kuusela@ymparisto.fi, tel. +358 295 251 647
Kari T. Korhonen, Natural Resources Institute Finland, kari.t.korhonen@luke.fi, tel. +358 29 532 3030

The impact of logging carried out according to bioeconomy scenarios on structural features that are important to forest biodiversity: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-326-294-2