“We in the forest industry recognise our responsibility. We will not compromise on the ecological sustainability of forest utilisation on the threshold of growth. Taking care of forest biodiversity is of increasing importance to us and a varied set of measures that support it is required,” Forest Director Tomi Salo of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation said at an outdoor event arranged in Lahti by the Forest Biodiversity Action Programme for Southern Finland (METSO).
“We are presently planning improvements in the practices and efficiency of nature management in commercial forests and hope that our stakeholder groups will also participate in this valuable effort. Cooperation to improve the biodiversity of forests as part of sustainable and growing use of our natural resources is needed now,” Salo continues.
Adequate resources must be ensured for METSO
Forest Director Salo is concerned about the future of the METSO programme and recent messages about reducing METSO’s funding. “The programme should not be weakened as wood consumption is growing. METSO has proven its efficiency in practice as a means for protecting the biodiversity of forests. Furthermore, it is the most significant forest conservation instrument in Finland,” Salo says.
“The voluntary METSO programme has achieved broad support not only in the forest industry, but also among environmental organisations and forest owners. This is not common in Finland, and should provide some indication to decision-makers of just how significant the programme is,” Salo points out.
The METSO programme was launched in 2008. Its objective is to protect some 96,000 hectares permanently and bring 82,000 hectares under temporary conservation and nature management projects by 2025. Almost half of these targets remain unfulfilled, yet it is known that funding for both conservation and nature management will be cut in the State budget.
“The future of the METSO programme should be safeguarded so that its objectives can be reached. Resources should increasingly target measures that yield maximal benefits for biodiversity,” Salo says.