UPM Silvesta develops new methods for burning retention tree groups

(UPM, Helsinki, 8 April 2010) – The Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has granted UPM Silvesta a state subsidy of EUR 40,000 for a development project titled “Towards new operating culture and cost-effective nature conservation – burning retention tree groups in privately owned forests”. The Ministry considers the proposed measures conducive to the implementation of the Forest Biodiversity Programme for Southern Finland (METSO) and the achievement of targets set out for commercial forests. The project will be carried out in cooperation by UPM Forest and UPM Silvesta.

The project will develop the methods of burning retention tree groups as part of nature management of commercial forests. The aim is to devise a practical procedure that secures natural biodiversity and is feasible nation-wide, cost-effective, promotes new collaborative culture and increases the awareness and acceptance of nature conservation amongst forestry practitioners. The model will lay the basis for extensive nature conservation measures to be carried out alongside commercial forestry.

"Naturally recurring forest fires create a succession of conditions in the forest ecology. Some forest species specialise in living under such conditions. Since the frequency of wildfires and deliberate burning as part of silvicultural techniques has fallen, populations specialising in post-fire environments have grown increasingly rare," says Jukka Koivumäki, Managing Director of UPM Silvesta

UPM has devised new burning methods for a number of years as part of its biodiversity programme to secure the continued existence of post-fire species.

"Follow-ups indicate that burning even minor retention tree groups has positive impacts on the ecological system. The project has previously been implemented in UPM-owned forests. Private forest owners now have the opportunity to participate and increase post-fire habitats in their own forest," says Koivumäki.

Leaving individual trees or scattered groups of trees standing at final cutting is one of the most common nature management measures in commercial forests. Research shows that retention trees are significant for ecological diversity, but further practical solutions are required. It is also important that forest owners are motivated and encouraged to set aside retention trees and to implement other nature management measures in their commercially used forests.

For further information, please contact:

Jukka Koivumäki, Managing Director, UPM Silvesta, tel. +358 (0)204 16 4790
Timo Lehesvirta, Director, Sustainable Forestry, UPM, tel. +358 (0)400 752 212
Sami Oksa, Environment Manager, UPM Forest, tel. +358 (0)204 16 4648


UPM Silvesta
UPM Silvesta specialises in forestry assignments and nature and landscape related services. It employs approximately 200 forest workers and a network of subcontractors who are in charge of performing the work at a high standard. Silvesta professionals remove trees from residential plots and summer cottages on request and efficiently perform other forest management tasks. The company operates throughout Finland with the exception of Lapland.
For further information: www.silvesta.fi

UPM Forest
UPM Forest is in charge of wood procurement for UPM’s Finnish mills and for the management of company forests in Finland. The company owns some 915,000 hectares of forests and has its own nursery. Most of the wood required by the mills is procured from privately owned Finnish forests. UPM Forest conducts more than 30,000 timber procurement deals each year and offers forest owners diverse, high-quality and competitive forestry services, as well as selling Bonvesta plots of land and forest lots. UPM Forest has more than 100 forest service offices around Finland. For further information: www.upm-kymmene.fi/metsa, www.puukauppa.com or www.bonvesta.fi

UPM’s biodiversity programme
UPM implements a global biodiversity programme in its own forests. The programme aims to secure diversity as part of sustainable forest use and to promote the best forestry practices. The programme relies on six key issues of natural biodiversity. These are native tree species, deadwood, valuable habitats, forest structure, water ecosystems and natural forests. International targets and national schemes regarding the key issues are set forth in the programme.

UPM and METSO
UPM actively participates in the Forest Biodiversity Programme for Southern Finland (METSO). The Group wishes to promote sustainable forestry and forest conservation on a voluntary basis. UPM puts high value on cost-efficient nature conservation and combining ecological data with forestry expertise. METSO also creates a platform for active nature management measures. Environmental State subsidies for forestry have been introduced to cover additional costs or losses arising from the preservation of biological diversity or other nature management measures. UPM offers forest owners a wide selection of nature management services which qualify for METSO funding or environmental State subsidies.

The UPM biodiversity programme embraces the measures set out in the METSO programme.