Preserving and enhancing biodiversity
Biodiversity is crucial for the continuation of life. It is the foundation of the whole bioeconomy. It underpins all the ecosystem services that forests provide. Diverse forest ecosystems hosting a wide range of flora and fauna are healthy, productive and able to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Supporting forest biodiversity through sustainable forest management fosters the vitality of our planet and supports the long-term success of forest-based industries
Our strategy at work
Supporting biodiversity is a part of our business and forestry principles. Biodiversity is the driver of ecosystem services including air quality, climate, water purification, pollination, erosion prevention and raw material supply. Preserving biodiversity helps our planet adapt to the climate change. It is also crucial to the health and vitality of our wildlife populations.
We have had a biodiversity strategy in place for 20 years already. Its main focus is on integrating biodiversity protection into our planning and harvesting in order to ensure that our forest management practices have no depletive impacts. We respect protected habitats and conservation areas. We ensure the diversity of tree species. We never harvest natural old-growth forests, nor do we accept wood from tropical forests or areas of high conservation value.
Finnish semi-natural forests
Based on comparisons and gap analyses between natural and commercial forests, we have identified key elements that are important for biodiversity preservation in boreal semi-natural forests. We have created targets for each of these elements to support the diversity of forest ecosystems. These targets are put into practice in all our daily operations.
The key elements and targets for Finnish semi-natural forests:
|Native tree species (Species growing in their natural distribution area.)||Maintain and increase proportion of native tree species and their natural composition.|
|Deadwood (All decaying material of native tree species, either on the ground or standing.)||Manage deadwood quality and quantity to enhance biodiversity.|
|Valuable habitats (Biotopes which are identified to be valuable for biodiversity.)||Protect valuable habitats and manage them for their biodiversity value.|
|Forest structure (Variation of vertical layers of vegetation at stand level and successional stages at landscape level.)||Manage variation in forest structure at landscape and stand level.|
Sustainable forestry practices suffice to preserve the vast majority of all existing forest biodiversity. Native tree species are the keystone of forest ecosystems, providing food and habitat for the majority of our native species. Creating structural variation in forests helps to reinforce the positive impact of biodiversity protection. Leaving retention trees and dead trees in forests guarantees a secure habitat for thousands of deadwood-dependent species.
Even so, there are a number of specialized species that need a stable habitat with minimum disturbance. In total, over 135,000 hectares of our forests areas are set aside for conservation purposes. These protected areas vary from habitats covering a fraction of a hectare to larger conservation areas covering a wide range of different habitats. The total number of set-asides is over 45,000. The breakdown by country is: Finland 85,000; USA 18,000; and Uruguay nearly 32,000 hectares. We promote voluntary nature conservation both in company-owned and private forests.
We are targeting to net positive impact on biodiversity
As a forest industry leader, we are committed to achieving a net positive impact (NPI) on biodiversity. We want to further develop modern forestry and create methods of biodiversity measurement tailored for the forest sector. This is a collaborative initiave in which we are engaging our stakeholders and inviting an independent research forum to review and monitor our progress. Our commitment to biodiversity is included to company's responsibility targets for 2030.
UPM strengthens the foundations of the bioeconomy with a new biodiversity commitment
Our Uruguayan plantations
Our plantations in Uruguay are situated on degraded grasslands that were formerly used for cattle grazing. We do not convert natural forest areas into plantations, and none of our actions result in any deforestation. In our plantation forests in Uruguay, all valuable biodiversity hotspots such as wetlands and remnants of natural forests are protected. All native species living in these areas are protected by law.
We engage in successful cooperation with local environmental organizations in Uruguay. This work aims to preserve nature and the diversity of native ecosystems and species. The main purpose of the co-operation is to contribute to the biodiversity and enhance the sustainable use of natural resources in the long term. We work together with organizations such as Vida Silvestre and Aves Uruguay.
We are running several research projects and case studies in close co-operation with stakeholders to enhance methods of promoting biodiversity in commercially managed forests. We have a number of active nature management and restoration projects and activities ongoing in different countries. These projects are often carried out in co-operation with expert research and environmental stakeholders. We are always looking for active dialogue and partnerships with non-governmental organizations. Our biodiversity partners include WWF International, IUCN, BirdLife Finland, Aves Uruguay, Vida Silvestre, The Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, and The Osprey Foundation.