Reader ‘s opinion How permanent is the increase in the amount of forest?

From the point of view of the national economy, the benefits of increasing the amount of wood in forests are not so clear.

thank you to Professor Olli Tahvonen (HS Opinion 4.6.)that a reflection on the value of carbon sequestration is brought to the forest debate. The matter is not easy, and it requires action from the Finnish government.

However, one has to ask who pays the deductions. It is typical of EU climate policy that no payers of the burden of reduction can be found. Tahvonen pointed out that the price of EUR 50 per tonne of carbon dioxide in the emissions trading scheme already means that the compensation paid for the preservation of forests is often higher than the harvesting income received.

Of course, this is illusory, because the logging owner loses logging income and the EU collects the benefits of the forest’s carbon sink. In this case, a possible change of direction may be seen when the German Minister for Agriculture recently proposed compensation to forest owners for increasing the sinkhole.

The question also arises as to how permanent the increase in the amount of forest is. Storms, forest fires, droughts, diseases and insects can cause widespread destruction, as in our neighbor Sweden, for example. It is not yet agreed who will pay for the natural disasters. Professor Markku Ollikainen has proposed, for example, a delay in felling, which would make the resulting compensation clearer.

From the point of view of the national economy, the benefits of increasing the amount of wood in forests are not so clear. Finland’s benefit from felling one million cubic meters for the needs of the forest industry is in the order of EUR 300 million. The reason is that the raw material is usually only a small part of the selling price of the produced organic product. The carbon price of emissions trading will not rise to EUR 300 per tonne until closer to 2050.

This is an important moment for Finland as the EU prepares for the next climate measures. There should also be a national consensus on the level of forest drain.

Esa Vakkilainen

Professor, LUT University

Reader opinions are speeches written by HS readers, selected and delivered by the HS editorial board. You can leave a comment or read the principles of the writing at www.hs.fi/kirjtamielipidekirjoitus/.

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