Operating in a country with a thriving timber export industry, 78% boreal forest coverage, the world’s largest (and FSC-certified) sauna, and one of Europe’s few indigenous peoples, FSC Finland has a lot to keep it busy.
© FSC FinlandAnniina Kostilainen started as the Director of FSC Finland in July 2012 and was then the only employee of FSC Finland. Now there are five part-time employees and one employee paid by the hour at the office.
“We hope to take forward many projects this year. However, many are rather challenging, like the issues concerning controlled wood. Luckily we have excellent contacts with many NGOs and companies,” says Anniina.
© FSC FinlandFinnish forests and family owners
Finnish forests have several defining features; boreal, semi-natural forest covers 78% of the land area and there is an obligation to regenerate, which means there’s a requirement to plant seedlings to grow a new stand within a reasonable time after felling.
There are also large protected areas, with around 5.7% of the Finnish forest being permanently protected from forestry activities. The protected areas are mainly found in the northernmost part of the country with some natural parks in the south. In addition, there is a voluntary forest protection programme, aimed at private forest owners in southern Finland, ongoing until 2025. Some 61,000 hectares have already been protected under this programme.
Family forest owners hold 53% of forestry land, and in 2016, 70 million cubic metres of stemwood were harvested in Finland.
Today, approximately 8% of forests in Finland are FSC-certified. Anniina says: “When the certification procedures for family forest owners are made easier and the awareness among forest owners increases, this figure is sure to grow. Collaboration with forestry companies is also very important. They have contacts with forest owners and they manage the group certificates.”
© FSC FinlandWorking together
Last year, FSC Finland was a major player in reaching the global strategic partnership agreement between UPM and FSC International. “This was a big thing for us”, says Anniina.
“Another great success was, in 2016, the first FSC project certificated project in Scandinavia, the construction of the restaurant and public sauna Löyly in Helsinki. The project has also been the centre of considerable international attention, and the Löyly building has won various architecture awards.”
Revision and promotion
FSC Finland staff in Helsinki are currently busy working on several projects including the revision of their forestry standard and controlled wood risk assessment. Luckily, the Finnish FSC members are very active and committed to the projects. As Finland is one of the few European countries with Indigenous Peoples (the Sámi), the work includes an interesting factor of taking into account their potential to continue practicing their age-old livelihood of reindeer herding.
Anniina says: “The biggest projects are CNRA, standard revision process and facilitating the certification of family forest owners and contractors.
“In addition, one of our focus areas is increasing the general visibility and awareness of FSC. In Finland, FSC is still relatively unknown to an average consumer, but it is getting more known by day. Companies and forest owners are also increasingly interested in FSC certification.”
If you would like to know more about FSC Finland, please visit fi.fsc.org/fi-fi
A version of this article appeared originally in the March/April 2018 edition of Forest Matters.