Sustainably managed forests are our future – but not just as a source of wood, the most versatile raw material ever invented. We also value our forests for their role in biodiversity, carbon sequestration and natural water cycles. We recognize their social and recreational benefits, as well as the many non-timber goods that forests produce. Being a major forest owner on three continents offers us opportunities to explore the limitless potential of a forest-based bioeconomy. Our company-owned forests play an important role in our R&D to promote better forestry practices.
There's more to our forests than wood
We advance modern forestry
Our forests in Finland and the USA are open to the local community. We see them as providing limitless potential for new bioeconomy innovations and wood supply for our mills.
Our company forests are strategically important in a number of ways. They are an important source of wood for our mills, but their role extends far beyond this. Our forests and nurseries – one in Finland, two in Uruguay – play a key role in advancing modern, sustainable forest management practices. Our main research areas include biodiversity, silvicultural practices, regeneration, tree breeding, ecosystem services and forestry-related social issues. Furthermore, our company forests enable hands-on training of our employees and contractors, as well as serving as a laboratory for R&D projects.
We own a total of nearly 850 000 hectares of forestry land in Finland, Uruguay and Minnesota, USA. Most of this land is located in Finland, totalling roughly 512,000 hectares, followed by Uruguay (258,000) and the United States (75,000 hectares). We additionally manage around 1,1 million hectares of private forest.
The majority of our forests are mixed-stand forests with native tree species. Biogeographically, our forests in Finland are semi-natural boreal forests, while those in the USA are semi-natural northern temperate woodlands. Our forests in Uruguay are plantations established on formerly degraded grasslands planted with non-native Eucalyptus tree species.
We foster best practices
All of our own forests are certified. In Finland, they are certified by the PEFC™ and most of them also by the FSC®, and in the USA (Minnesota) by the PEFC. Our eucalyptus plantations in Uruguay are certified by both the FSC and the PEFC.
Our modern forestry strategy lays down important practical guidelines including specific instructions for harvesting in the vicinity of aquatic ecosystems and other valuable habitats.
Our planning and management tools are based on the Geographic Information System (GIS), a geo-referenced database covering natural resources such as forests and water. All essential data and information is stored in the system, including information about existing statutory protection areas, habitats of high biodiversity and other sensitive areas. The GIS is continuously updated after harvesting or when we acquire new information on threatened species, important biotopes or protection areas .
Experts look after our forests
Our employees, contractors and suppliers are well educated and qualified with a degree in forestry or an equivalent field. The people working in our forests have additional expertise in fields such as ecology, water protection and wildlife management. We provide regular follow-up training to keep up with new issues and progress in the field.
Everyone who works in our wood sourcing and forestry chain must be familiar with the UPM Code of Conduct and certification schemes. This also applies to our contractors and their employees. UPM has its own e-learning platform helping employees to complete the requisite courses.
UPM collaborates with expert organizations in various development projects. Our research partners in Finland include the Natural Resources Institute Finland, the Finnish Environment Institute and the Universities of Helsinki and Eastern Finland. Partnering with external experts supports our target to be a forest bioeconomy frontrunner.
New-generation plantations in Uruguay
Our plantations in Uruguay are established on degraded grasslands. We do not convert natural forests into plantations: we cause zero deforestation.
Forestal Oriental, our eucalyptus forestry company in Uruguay, is a centre of excellence for our plantation operations. We have two modern, technologically advanced nurseries in Uruguay which specialize in Eucalyptus dunnii, with a combined annual production capacity of over 20 million seedlings.
Forestal Oriental owns approximately 258,000 hectares of land, approximately 60% of which is planted with eucalyptus. The rest of the land is used for cattle grazing and forestry-related infrastructure or is protected.
The annual pulp wood harvest in these areas currently covers over 60% of the demand for wood raw material at the UPM Fray Bentos pulp mill. The rest is purchased from external suppliers who have worked in close co-operation with the company for several years.
We are an active partner and founding member in the New Generation Plantations Platform initiative. NGP was set up by WWF in 2007. The NGP platform is a place to learn about better plantation management through real world experiences, and to persuade others to follow good examples. NGP brings together leading plantation companies and government agencies that manage and regulate plantations. NGP upholds the principle that well-managed plantations in the right places can help conserve biodiversity and meet human needs, while contributing to sustainable economic growth and local livelihoods. NGP maintains that plantations should:
- Maintain ecosystem integrity;
- Protect and enhance high conservation values;
- Improve through effective stakeholder involvement;
- Contribute to economic growth and employment.