In addition to wood sourcing, other important elements of UPM’s approach are biodiversity, water protection, soil use and the benefits that forests provide.
“Forests are an important part of the solution for mitigating climate change. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, produce oxygen and recycle water. When forest grows and produces wood raw material, it also acts as a carbon sink, which has a further positive effect on the climate,” he points out.
At the same time, trees produce valuable raw material that can be used for many different purposes.
“Renewable wood raw material gathered from sustainably managed forests is an excellent option for replacing fossil-based raw materials. When wood raw materials are refined, the benefits that forests provide are multiplied. There is enough raw material in the forests for pharmaceutical and cosmetic products, for example.”
The recreational use of forests increases the health benefits that they confer and improves well-being. In addition, the berries, mushrooms and herbs found in forests are an important and diverse source of nutritional production.
The basis of sustainable bioeconomy
UPM ecosystem services are part of a comprehensive forest management strategy that creates the framework for responsible land use.
“As providers of ecosystem services, we aim to maximise the positive effects of nature for the common good of the earth, people and business. We want the modern forestry practices that we have developed to be used by our forestry customers as high-quality forest services and progressive forest standards.”
Biodiversity forms a sustainable foundation for a bioeconomy. People utilize the resources that are available to them at a given time.
Lehesvirta wants indicators of sustainability to be developed, so that the effects of the production of different industries on nature and the environment, along with the general effect of human activities, are described more comprehensively and precisely than currently. The value of commercial forests must be made entirely visible.
“People profit from a healthy ecosystem in many ways. We aim to calculate and demonstrate all the benefits that responsible forestry confers, with the help of the model related to ecosystem services.”
“Our aim is to improve the condition of company forests while ensuring efficient wood production. Preserving renewable resources makes it possible for future generations to utilize and maintain a bioeconomy in a sustainable way,” he concludes.
Text: Vesa Puoskari