Columns Forests are now being torn down for more purposes than they are enough for

Politicians have to make choices and give up some of the benefits of forests.

Forest discussion is heated. The forest debate divides Finns. The forest debate is ripping. This is what has often been said recently – and often the comments are intended to be criticized.

However, it is not a bad thing if the forest debate intensifies. There is a reason for that.

Finland has huge forests, about 75 percent of the land area. However, so many different tasks are now being arranged in the forests that not all of them want to fit in there. You have to make choices.

This year is important. At least a dozen different forest policies and decisions are coming nationally and from the EU, which will have an impact for decades to come.

The big thing is the application of the EU’s biodiversity strategy. This year, Finland must tell us how we protect all natural and all old forests. It must also be said how we are contributing to the goal of protecting the EU’s land area 10% more strictly and 30% less loosely. The working groups will begin work on the plan in February.

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Therefore, now is the time to have a forest debate. Even if it’s ripping.

Finland forests want to perform at least three different functions: forestry, carbon sequestration and biodiversity.

In addition, there will be reindeer husbandry as well as berry picking, mushroom picking, hiking, exercise, hunting and other recreation, as well as landscape values.

The value of the forest industry’s exports is about ten billion euros a year. The raw material also comes from Finland when the forest industry buys wood from Finland. This generates revenue for forest owners, forest machine users, log truck drivers, forest road plows and many more.

Read more: Finland grows half a percent of the world’s forests but produces six percent of the world’s pulp – Does it make sense?

Carbon sequestration means that the forest’s woods and soil take carbon from the air and store it for themselves.

The Finnish government relies heavily on this biology. Finland’s carbon neutrality goal is built on the fact that only part of the emissions are removed and the rest is swallowed with the help of forests. To this end, the sinks need to be further strengthened.

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As there is a lot of forest in Finland, different forests are important habitats here. Thus, when Finland is considering ways to stop the loss of nature, we are largely talking about stopping the loss of nature in the forests.

How do all the tasks fit together? The first two – forestry and carbon sequestration – are somehow compatible with the same forest. For example, extending cycle times, ie cutting down forests at an older age than at present, can help combat the busiest years.

Nature and carbon sequestration are suitable for the same forest, as a naturally rich forest is also a storehouse of carbon and usually a carbon sink.

Combining economic use with biodiversity is the most difficult point. The main reasons for the endangerment of forest species are the depletion of decaying trees, the decline of old-growth forests and large trees, and forest management and regeneration measures. Nature is harder to both preserve and hack.

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What so what do you want from forests? Forestry euros or natural values?

The easy answer, of course, is that both. That answer has so far been available, but the situation has changed.

Finland had already promised to stop the decline of diversity by 2020. Politicians and officials failed in this endeavor.

The new goal is to halt the loss of nature by 2030.

It doesn’t happen by itself. More protected areas are needed. Likewise, more gentle forestry.

In Finland the majority of forests (70%) are owned by private individuals and companies. The establishment of protected areas in their countries is inevitably slow. In contrast, state forests (26 percent) are under their own control.

It is not possible to measure all the services provided by the forest out of the forests in full. You have to make choices. Some benefits need to be pruned in order to reap more benefits than others.

These choices are political. That is why we need to talk about it, even if it raises emotions.

The author is an environmental producer of HS.

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