Nature management in commercial forests is a cost-effective method of enhancing biodiversity in forests. We take account of the different species and their habitats when planning and working in forests. For example, we leave retention trees at felling sites, increase the amount of deadwood and leave all deadwood trunks in the forests. Controlled burning and other nature management measures also promote the survival of many endangered species. Since 1996, our operations have been steered by our own biodiversity programme, the results of which can be seen in our own forests and in the privately owned forests under our management.
We are committed to the preservation and sustainable enhancement of forest biodiversity. We have our own forest biodiversity programme, the aim of which is to incorporate forest biodiversity and its key requirements into the modern forest industry. We continuously expand our expertise through our daily activities and collaborate closely with researchers and other stakeholders to implement a variety of species- and habitat-specific projects.
In 2006–2010, we supported the efforts of BirdLife Finland to enhance the living conditions of the rare short-billed dunlin. In a UPM-owned area in Yyteri, Pori, volunteers of the organisation cut down reeds that had spread to the breeding sites of the short-billed dunlin. The natural habitats of this endangered bird have also been considered in the preparation of the detailed plan for the area.
Controlled burning, burning of retention tree groups and leaving artificial snags in forests are good for a number of species. Clearcutting sites can also provide an excellent habitat for many insect and plant species.
It is possible to create natural habitats through regular controlled burnings. For example, some insect and mushroom species are dependent on forest fires and deadwood. Some of these species have become endangered as forest fires have become less common. We have also actively participated in the development of a new method for burning retention tree groups.
We are the first forest owner to start fully investigating the significance of deadwood to biodiversity. In the mid-1990s, the company established two test sites in its forest estate in Janakkala and left some artificial standing snags to decompose at the sites. Entomologists Erkki Laurinharju has monitored the sites' insect species for 12 years.
Today, leaving sturdy deadwood snags and trunks in UPM forests is an essential part of our normal forest management practices. The results of this practice are clearly visible in our forests. We also recommend the same practice to our forest-owning customers.
Pulsatilla patens is a species of flowering plant which has been growing in the eskers of the Häme region since the last ice age, but the population is now declining because of eutrophication, overgrowth and a decrease in natural disturbances. The authorities have provided us with a special permission to collect seeds of the plant and grow them into seedlings at the our tree nursery in Joroinen. Over the years, these seedlings have been planted in various suitable locations to strengthen the population.
In 2009–2011, we actively participated in the METSO cooperation network project focusing on the Siberian jay as the indicator in diversifying forest nature conservation efforts, led by the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation. The project outputs included, for example, a guideline targeted at forest owners on how to manage forests in areas where Siberian jays are found. We are committed to complying with the principles agreed in the cooperation network project in our forests inhabited by Siberian jays.
In 2005, researchers of the Finnish Museum of Natural History and our specialists conducted a study to follow the behaviour of the three-toed woodpecker by using radio transmitters. The project revealed that for the three-toed woodpecker to succeed and find food, it is important to have old trees, and particularly deadwood, in forests within a reasonable flight distance of each other.
Another METSO project aimed to promote the conservation of the northern crested newt and take the species into account in forest management activities. We participated in this project, led by the Northern Karelia Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, as a landowner partner: A third of all northern crested newt ponds in mainland Finland are located on UPM-owned lands. The northern crested newt population remains strong as long as its natural habitats are considered in forest management plans.
We have collaborated with the Osprey Foundation to build artificial nests on UPM-owned lands and to install nest cameras at suitable sites. The cameras have produced lots of material on osprey behaviour and have provided those interested in nature with an opportunity to follow ospreys' family life. We have also supported the osprey satellite monitoring project implemented by the Finnish Museum of Natural History and the Osprey Foundation. The data received from these projects will help to develop new ways of promoting the living conditions of the osprey and to protect its natural habitats while performing forestry operations.
Together WWF Finland, the Finnish Environment Institute and Metsähallitus we have carried out a joint project to promote the living conditions of the endangered white-backed woodpecker in commercial forests. In the project, the partners collaborated to create the White-Backed Woodpecker and Forestry Guide targeted at forest owners and forestry professionals.
Plant and animal species living in sunlit environments are well-adapted to dryness, exposure to sunlight, high temperatures, extreme temperature changes and a lack of nutrients. These habitats have often been created by forest fires. As forest fires are prevented more effectively today, these habitats can no longer form naturally, and they are quickly becoming overgrown. Several demanding plant and insect species cannot survive in other environments.
We participate in the national Light & Fire LIFE project. The methods of the project include environmental management-related burning, clearing of trees, the translocation of endangered species and removal of alien species from coastal meadows, dunes, eskers, heaths and other light and fire environments.
Due to trenching, many peatland types have become rare, particularly in Southern Finland, as the drainage of the land has transformed them into heath-type forests. The most endangered types are spruce mires, eutrophic fens and spring mires.
In UPM-owned areas, peatlands have been drained, restored and protected, and many of those areas are also research sites. Currently, the Natural Resources Institute Finland is conducting a research on UPM-owned lands on the application of uneven-aged forest management and its impacts on water runoff in drained woodlands. Over the years we have also supported the work of volunteers of local organisations, who have done a remarkable job in restoring peatland sites located on UPM-owned lands in Central Finland.
We promote forest conservation on a voluntary basis. We have conducted an inventory of the nature values in our forests. On the basis of the inventory, we have protected around 39,900 valuable habitats in Finland, half of which are protected on a voluntary basis on our own decision. One example of these sites is the Aarnikotka Forest Nature Reserve adjacent to the Repovesi National Park.
The valuable habitats discovered in the inventory, as well as all new sites identified, are recorded in UPM's database.
Since the 1990s, we have sold or exchanged about 25,000 hectares of land to the government of Finland for protection purposes:
UPM-owned lands have been utilised to establish and expand national parks. We have transferred lands to the government of Finland in connection with the establishment or expansion of the Helvetinjärvi, Kolovesi, Liesjärvi, Rokua and Repovesi National Parks. We have also enabled the establishment of the Repovesi National Park in northern Kymenlaakso by donating 560 hectares of land to the government in 2002.
Of the 640,000 hectares of UPM-owned forests in Finland, 470,000 hectares are both FSC®- and PEFCTM-certified and the remaining 230,000 hectares are PEFC-certified (FSC C 109 750).
We do not source or accept wood from legally protected areas or from sites classified by the authorities as protected areas where harvesting is prohibited.
We support the principles of the METSO programme, aimed at preserving biodiversity in the forests of southern Finland. We implement the programme in UPM forests as part of our own biodiversity programme. As part of our service portfolio, we offer the active nature management measures of the METSO programme to private forest owners, too.