Dead wood for forest biodiversity: Stora Enso aims to double the number of artificial snags

Published 5 June 2020
As of June 2020, Stora Enso further increases the amount of decaying wood on harvestings sites to safeguard biodiversity. More dead wood will be left in the harvesting areas than before, and additional artificial snags are made from standing trees to promote forest biodiversity. Stora Enso supports private forest owners to make decisions that increase the amount of decaying wood in forests.

Dead wood provides habitat for hundreds of forest species. As many as 19 percent of endangered forest species are dependent on dead wood. Dead wood is especially important for a variety of weasels, lichens and beetles, among others, but it also provides a home for many bird species. For example, many woodpeckers make their nests in decaying trees.

One way to add dead wood is artificial snag, made by cutting the tree from a height of 2 to 4 meters. Cutting accelerates decay, resulting in more dead wood in the forests. Artificial snag is usually made from deciduous trees, valuable for biodiversity but economically less valuable than conifers.

- In order to increase decaying wood, we have made 2 artificial snags per hectare with the permission of the forest owner. Starting from June, we will increase the number of artificial snags on our harvesting sites in Finland. Our goal is to make 4 to 5 artificial snags per hectare. However, the matter is always agreed with the forest owner for each harvesting separately, says Pekka Kallio-Mannila, Director, Corporate Responsibility, Forest division.

Stora Enso makes artificial snags in all loggings throughout the forest rotation period. After cutting the treetop, the snag is left on the ground untouched, which also increases the dead wood on the ground.

Biodiversity should be nurtured because a species-rich habitat is more resistant to various disturbances, such as storm or insect damages. Biodiversity also helps nature adapt to a changing environment, such as a changing climate.

- Promoting sustainable forest management is a priority for Stora Enso. Stora Enso's forest experts are happy to help the private forest owners on how the forest is managed and how its biodiversity is taken care of, Kallio-Mannila says.

Other measures to promote forest diversity include controlled burning, water protection zones and dense forest areas for game. In addition to legislation, forest biodiversity is promoted through forest certification and voluntary protection.

Three key measures with which a private forest owner can influence the biodiversity of his or her forest:

  • Dead wood: All dead wood, either standing or on the ground, should be saved. Decaying wood and sturdy, dead tree trunks are particularly important for nature biodiversity.
  • Retention trees: retention trees – standing or on the ground – are left in the forest permanently and allowed to decay in place.
  • Artificial snags: in connection with harvesting, artificial snags are made.

Click here for a description of Stora Enso's biodiversity management practices in Northern forests.

The new Forest division, which started operations in the beginning of 2020, includes Stora Enso’s Swedish forest assets and the 41% share of Tornator with the majority of its forest assets located in Finland. The division also includes wood supply operations in Finland, Sweden, Russia and the Baltic countries. We create value to our customers and private forest owners with competitive wood supply, sustainable forest management and innovation. As a major player in the bioeconomy, access to wood is critical for Stora Enso. Today, Stora Enso is one of the biggest private forest owners and wood supply organizations in the world.


For more information, please contact:

Pekka Kallio-Mannila,
Director, Corporate Responsibility, Forest division
+358 40 7540243

Johan Lindman,
SVP, Global Forestry & Sustainability, Forest division 
+46 70 325 24 40