Finnish forests resources

The amount of timber in Finnish forests increases every year. Annual fellings have for a long time been smaller than growth.

The total volume of timber in Finnish forests was 2,360 million cubic metres in 2014. The annual growth of Finnish forests has for a few years already exceeded one hundred million cubic metres. Trees grow only during the growing season, which in Finland is about 80 days long. In 2014, the annual growth was 104 million cubic metres so the daily growth was over one million cubic metres.

When annual removals are subtracted from annual growth the result is annual increment: the amount the timber volume increases in forests per year. Removals include fellings, the parts of trees left in forests from felled trees and trees which die naturally. For all tree species and all forestry areas of Finland, the annual growth is greater than annual removals.

Compared to the start of the 21st century, the timber resources in Finland have increased by 60 percent, even though over ten percent of land area and best forest resources of Finland were ceded to the Soviet Union after the Winter War in 1940. On the average, there is 111 cubic metres of timber on a hectare of forest land; in 1970’s the figure was 75 cubic metres.

The most forested land in Europe

Forests cover 75 percent of Finland’s land area. For every Finn, there is around 4,2 hectares of forest.

In Finland, land area is classified according to its use. 86 percent of land area is forestry land. The rest is agricultural land, built-up areas etc.

Forestry land is further divided into different types according to the productivity of the land: productive forest land, where the annual wood growth is over one cubic meter per hectare, poorly productive forest land, where growth is between 0.1 and 1 cubic metres, and unproductive forest land, where the annual growth is below 0.1 cubic metres.

When Finns talk about forests, they mean the area of forest land and poorly productive forest land combined. Most of Finnish forests grow on productive forest land, which covers an area of 20.3 million hectares.

34 percent of forestry land consists of peatlands. The area of forest land increased from the 1950’s up to the 1980’s, because peatlands were drained for forestry use. This resulted in higher productivity per hectare.

Pine dominates in forests

In terms of phytogeography, the vast majority of Finland is situated in the boreal coniferous zone. In the boreal coniferous zone the soil is poor and acid and there are only few forest trees species.

Almost half of the volume of the timber stock consists of pine (Pinus sylvestris). The other most common species are spruce (Picea abies) downy birch (Betula pubescens) and silver birch (Betula pendula). These species make for 97 percent of total timber volume in Finland.

The majority of Finnish forests are mixed, which means that they are made of more than one species. In all, Finland has about thirty indigenous tree species.

Sources: Statistical Yearbook of Forestry 2012, mainly pages 37-41; Statistics Finland; Suomen puu- ja pensaskasvio

Updated on the 7th of January, 2016.

Graphs on forest resources in