UPM participated in Forest Life restoration project awarded by European Union

(UPM, Helsinki, 24 June 2009) – The European Union has awarded the Forest Life project “Restoration of Boreal Forests and Forest-covered Mires”. This Finnish project was coordinated by Metsähallitus Natural Heritage Services, and the project steering group included UPM, WWF, University of Joensuu and the Finnish Defence Forces.

The Forest Life project partners restored 7,000 hectares of forests in Natura 2000 conservation areas – forests and mires that had previously been in commercial use. In addition, forested esker habitats were opened and white-backed woodpeckers’ habitats were managed. The goal was to increase the conservation value of these areas. The restoration measures were carried out in 33 areas around Finland. The project partners also communicated about forest restoration and its benefits. The budget for the five year project was EUR 3.7 million, half of which was funded by the EU.

UPM carried out forest and mire restoration together with Metsähallitus in the Repovesi National Park, in Kouvola, Finland, where UPM's lumberjacks restored mires and carried out controlled restoration burning to benefit fire dependent species. They also managed coniferous stands to increase broad-leaved trees and to diversify forest structure. UPM participated in the Forest Life project as part of the national METSO forest conservation project in Finland.

”The project was also a part of UPM’s own biodiversity programme, based on international goals and action plans in different countries. One of the goals is to maintain and improve conservation values in protection areas, and this succeeded well in the Forest Life project. UPM’s lumberjacks also experienced something totally new through participating in this project,” says Timo Lehesvirta, Environment Manager, UPM Forest, North Europe.

"It was a pleasure working with UPM. The cooperation offered both us and UPM new angles to nature restoration practices,” states Rauli Perkiö, planner at Metsähallitus' Southern Finland Nature Heritage Services. He thanks UPM's lumberjacks' professionalism and their ability to quickly undertake the goals and different measures of nature management practices.

European Commission and the EU member countries evaluated more than a hundred LIFE Nature projects from 2007-2008. Forest Life was ranked in the top five in the Best of the Best category. The project is awarded in Brussels today.

For further information please contact:
Matti Ylänne, Project Manager, UPM Environmental Affairs, tel. +358 400 256 170

Notes for editors:

UPM Forest, Finland
UPM Forest is responsible for wood sourcing for UPM’s mills in Finland, and for company’s own forests covering 915,000 hectares in total.UPM has also its own nursery. Most of the wood consumed by the mills is sourced from Finnish privately owned forests. UPM Forest completes in Finland more than 30,000 wood procurement transactions each year, while offering a broad range of forest services for the forest owners. The forest service agreement includes an individually tailored forest services, ranging from wood procurement contracts to forest and forest nature management and forest asset management. UPM has in Finland more than 13,000 forest service agreement customers. UPM Forest has approximately 600 salaried employees. www.upm-kymmene.com

UPM’s biodiversity programme:
www.upmforestlife.com
www.upm-kymmene.com/sustainableforestry

Repovesi National Park
Repovesi National Park was founded in 2003 to protect a vast and unique uninhabited forest, mire and lake area in Southeast Finland. The Aarnikotka (Griffin) Forest Nature Reserve, owned by UPM, is connected to the National Park. www.repovesi.fi

LIFE Nature
LIFE Nature is a part of Life+ funding system. Life+ funds nature conservation and environmental projects according to EU environmental policies and legislation. Current Life+ program period ends in 2013. http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/

METSO, The Forest Biodiversity Program for Southern Finland: www.mmm.fi/metso/international