Finnish forests resources increase

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

The total volume of timber in Finnish forests is 2,189 million cubic metres. 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 2012, the annual growth was 104 million cubic metres so the daily growth was over one million cubic metres.

When annual removals are decreased from annual growth we get 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 20th century, the timber resources in Finland have increased by 60 percent, even though large areas of Finland were ceded to the Soviet Union after the Second World War in 1940’s. On average, there is 111 cubic metres of timber on a hectare of forest land; in 1970’s the figure was 75 cubic metres.

Most forested land in Europe
Forests cover 75 percent of Finland’s land area. For every Finn, there is nearly 4.5 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 divided into to different types according to the productivity of the land: forest land, poorly productive forest land and unproductive forest land.

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, of which there is 20.3 million hectares.

34 percent of forestry land consists of mires. The area of forest land increased from the 1950’s up to the 1980’s, because mires were drained and 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 few trees species to form forests.

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.

Taittoelementti, vihreä vaaka pisteviiva

More information:

Link to another page in FOREST.FI service Reasons for rapid growth of Finnish forests go back for decades
Link to another page in FOREST.FI service Researchers’ growth models fail to keep up with forest growth
Link to another page in FOREST.FI service Current forestry practices make for increasingly stouter trees
Link to another page in FOREST.FI service Only tree roots continue to grow
WWW-sivusto MetINFO: State of Finland's forests 2012


Link to another page in FOREST.FI service Graphs related to forest resources

Updated 4.1. 2013

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

Pine dominates in forests


Pines in winter. Photo: Krista Kimmo
 Pine is the most common tree species in Finland. Pine, spruce and birch make for 97 percent of total volume of timber in Finnish forests. Having just few tree species is typical for the boreal coniferous zone.


Young Forest Owner of the Year 2011 Ville Häkkinen. Photo: Krista Kimmo
Finnish forests are typically mixed forests: they consist of more than one species. Here spruce seedlings grow under birches.

Snow in a forest. Photo: Krista Kimmo
There is 1.5 as much timber in Finnish forests nowadays than in 1970's.

View over countryside. Photo: Krista Kimmo
Finns live within forests as forest cover 75 percent of land area.
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