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Story | 12/10/2015 07:44:00

Taking account of game species supports the biodiversity of the forest

Forestry plans are forest owners' tools and are usually drawn up to cover ten years. Plans include all measures and actions related to forest management and use, including stand-specific tree data.

Forestry plans can be focused around various aspects to help forest owners reach their objectives, such as taking the habitats of game into account. In this case, the plan would list wetlands favoured by game, for instance, as these should be excluded from clearing work. Such plans would also secure forest stratification to provide game species with natural hiding places.

“What gets done is less important than what is left undone,” explains UPM's forest specialist Petri Ryöti.

A forestry plan makes all the data available to everyone involved in the management and care of the forest: forest owners, forest workers and harvester operators can look at the plan and see what is supposed to be done in the forest.

“It is critically important to ensure that all data is entered on the map, so that all workers in the forest can access them, instead of just trying to work with ideas and plans that only exist in the forest owner's mind,” says Heikki Hujo, UPM's Forest Customer Representative.

Multiple use of forest

Jyrki Sirola from Kiikoinen is one of the first UPM customers with a game-oriented forestry plan. Mostly composed of thinning stands, biodiversity and habitats able to attract game species have been key goals for his forests for some decades already, but this is the first time all the data has been gathered in one place.

As a diversified entrepreneur, Sirola also raises Finnish Landrace sheep and offers travel services from Kiikoinen to Enontekiö. In fact, travels related to game or hunting are among the most popular products offered by his company, Taivaantulien lomapaikat. Sirola has given a lot of thought to the wellbeing of game in the management of his forests and land. After drainage digging, he levelled all ditch banks and sowed plants that various game species like to eat.

He has also dug drainage ponds and created wetlands, and plans to add more brooks and ponds in the future. He can also use his forestry plan as a project plan required by the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment.

“Game species don't like to live in completely untended forests. They mark their routes and paths and look for thickets they can hide in,” explains Sirola, himself a passionate hunter and fisher.

And he seems to know what he is talking about: we can see fresh deer footprints on the pond bank. Creating game-friendly conditions causes no harm to forests, and when drafting a plan, we always keep in mind that forests are also sources of income to their owners. At best, it is a win-win situation all around: unnecessary clearing work can be avoided, which, in turn, saves money.

What kind of impact have your efforts to make your forests game-friendly had on your income from forestry, Jyrki Sirola?

“Very positive. Our yearly growth is seven cubic metres of wood per hectare, which is a perfectly normal amount.”

Game-oriented forestry plan

Forestry plans are management and utilisation plans drawn up for forest properties. They can be created by paying attention to the habitat favoured by various game species. Usually plans cover a period of ten years and include a forest map with stand-specific tree data and action proposals.


Tero Ikäheimonen