HS Environment Minister Leppä: Finland decides on its own forests and takes care of their sustainable use

According to Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Jari Lepä (center), a “breathtaking number” of forest-based EU initiatives from the biodiversity strategy to the deforestation regulation will put pressure on decision-making.

Forests are extremely important to Finland in all areas, and domestic forest issues will be decided now and in the future in Finland, we will not give it up, the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry emphasized Jari Leppä in its (central) forest news on Tuesday.

According to Lepä, Finland’s forest policy is threatened by a “breathtaking number” of EU forest initiatives, such as the Deforestation Ordinance, taxonomy and restoration legislation. The EU’s biodiversity strategy, which has also been approved by Finland, is also putting pressure.

Above all, Leppä would like to see a broad perspective on the sustainability of forest use. It includes economic, social and ecological sustainability.

“Preserving biodiversity in Finnish forests is of paramount importance. However, all aspects of sustainability must be taken into account, ”Leppä said.

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EU According to Lepä, there are many problem areas in the biodiversity strategy that Finland is trying to address.

Finland has relied heavily on the bioeconomy in particular, which means, among other things, increased logging. On the other hand, forest nature has become impoverished in Finland as well. The majority of endangered species, more than 30 percent, live primarily in forests.

“We are trying to increase our understanding of the northern environment and forests and the importance of the bioeconomy in the future,” Leppä said.

Leppä considers the proposal of the Finnish Nature Panel on significant additional protection of forests to stop the loss of nature and the additional funding allocated to it to be “hair-raising”.

“A much broader approach is needed. The estimated price tag, seven billion euros, is such that it can’t be found anywhere, ”Leppä said.

In December, the Nature Panel published its report on fulfilling the EU’s biodiversity strategy and halting the loss of nature in Finland. According to the panel, protection should begin immediately on the state’s old-growth forests, which should be put under a temporary ban on logging.

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The Nature Panel estimates that the need for additional funding for forest protection would be around EUR 6.8 billion. This means € 760 million a year until the end of the 2030 target year.

Read more: The state’s forests over 120 years of age must be banned from logging, the chairman of the Nature Panel demands: “The state still cuts a lot of its old forests”

Forest policy also affects European Commission legislative initiative reducing deforestation and forest degradation.

The Deforestation Ordinance restricts, among other things, extensive clear-cutting and the clearing of fields for agricultural use. This also affects Finland.

In Finland, fields are being cleared for the production of agricultural products, including cattle breeding. deforestation has resulted in an average of about 4,000 hectares of deforestation per year.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Finland aims to influence the decree so that the adjustment of small plots of land would also be possible in the future.

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“Overall, clearing has decreased. No one clears the field in vain, but it always comes in handy, ”Leppä said.

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