Water bodies are valuable habitats, and it is essential to preserve them in good condition. In Finland, "the land of a thousand lakes", watercourses and small waterways create biodiversity in forests, form an important part of the national landscape and, ultimately, preserve life. For example, trees growing in an area the size of a tennis court (275 m2) can clean approximately over 8 million litres of water during their life cycle.
In forestry, the importance of water protection has become more highlighted over the last decades. Protecting water bodies in forestry is an integral part of the requirements laid down in forest certification standards, recommendations for sustainable forest management and our own guidelines. When we perform felling and forestry work, we always leave buffer zones along watercourses. Excavation breaks, sludge pits and surface runoff fields are also tools to reduce runoff of solids into watercourses.
The significance of careful planning is emphasised in the prevention of runoff of nutrients and solids. Soil preparation on sloping ground is a good example of this. The preparation is performed according to the topography, so that the dig face is positioned against the direction of runoff. The areas most likely to erode are left untouched.