Metsä Board Magazine – Winter 2023


In Focus

Explore the vocabulary of regenerative forestry

THE METSÄ GROUP PLUS SERVICE PLACES AN ENTIRELY NEW LEVEL OF ATTENTION ON FOREST NATURE In June 2023, Metsä Group released its new Metsä Group Plus service as part of the regenerative forestry princi- ples. Metsä Group Plus is a forest management model that follows the principles of regenerative forestry. It is offered to the owner-mem- bers of Metsäliitto Cooper- ative, Metsä Group’s parent company. The model’s measures for supporting and improv- ing forest biodiversity are broader than those of con- ventional approaches, and they are agreed jointly with forest owners in connection with wood trade or orders for young stand management. In the Metsä Group Plus model, greater attention is paid to forest nature than is required by certificates. Retention trees are among the most crucial measures for preserving biodiversity. The retention tree groups according to the Metsä Group Plus service contain a larger volume of wood than current forest certifications require. Burnt wood, which is scarce in Finnish forests, is added by burning retention trees. “The scope of the Metsä Group Plus programme measures is considerable, as the members of Metsäliitto Cooperative own around half of Finland’s private forests.”

Around a quarter of the species living in Finn- ish forests depend on decaying wood. In regen- erative forestry, decaying trunk wood is added to commercial forests using retention trees and high biodiversity stumps. As their name suggests, retention trees are retained in the forest during felling and left there to grow, die and decay. High biodiversity stumps are trees cut off at a height of 2–5 me- tres. They are an efficient way to create stand- ing decaying wood in forests that would oth- erwise contain little of it. Retention trees and protective thickets, mean- ing dense stands of trees and bushes, also diver- sify the structure of forests. A varied structure increases biodiversity, as different species need different types of forests as habitats.

in mitigating climate change. However, forests also provide other ecosystem services, both ma- terial and immaterial.” In regenerative forestry, the goal is to simul- taneously optimise all the forest ecosystem ser- vices, which include things like timber, berries, mushrooms, pollinators and health impacts in addition to carbon sinks. Through overall optimisation, we ensure the forest ecosystem remains as diverse as possible so that its entire added value potential is avail- able for future generations. Informing consumers Verifying positive change is a key element of regenerative forestry principles. Metsä Group jointly monitors the development of the state of forest nature with research institutions in the field. “Various ideologies and approaches are prom- inent in public forest discussion, so we want to ensure that the impacts of wood use are meas- ured using scientific methods.” The goal is that it will be possible to verifia- bly measure the strengthening of forest biodi- versity by 2030 at the latest. “Working with our stakeholders, we aim to develop verified measurements that demon- strate the environmental impacts across the product’s value chain from forests to consum- ers.” •

Strengthening the entire forest ecosystem

Growing forests serve as carbon sinks, which means that as they grow, they store carbon di- oxide from the atmosphere, mitigating glob- al warming. Grown forests and products made from wood serve as carbon storages. Howev- er, Lehesvirta points out that carbon is not the only environmental question related to forest use: the role of forests needs to be seen more comprehensively. “There’s a lot of public talk about carbon sinks, which, of course, play an important role

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