Forest

Biodiversity impact indicators measure the impact of forestry in Northern forests

We have six biodiversity impact indicators to monitor the quality of harvesting operations in Finland, Sweden, and the Baltics. The indicators give insight into how well we are able to mitigate negative impacts on biodiversity in harvesting. All the six indicators are similar in Finland and Sweden, and four of them are also applicable in the Baltics. Our short-term target is that 90% of audited harvesting sites should comply with the standards set for each indicator. Our ultimate target is to reach 100% approved sites in 2030.

The data for the indicators is collected from samples of harvestings sites audited in each of the regions annually. To harmonise site assessment and data reporting across the regions, we developed a common digital tool for data collection in the field in 2023. Some variations still occur in how the standards are set and how the audits are performed between the regions, and we continue to harmonize monitoring to ensure comparability.

In 2023, we continued our good performance in water protection and improved in high stump creation and tree retention. Our development areas concern ground deadwood preservation. We want to develop the ways we enhance deadwood as a crucial forest structure for biodiversity and plan to increase focus on deadwood monitoring in 2024. All the results are used for continuous development in operations.

Biodiversity impact indicator 2023

In this table, you can see the weighted average of the biodiversity impact indicators in Finland, Sweden, and the Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania). The performance is weighted across the regions using total harvested volume from each region as a basis. Region-specific performance can be viewed below.

High stump

High stump creation

Finland
82%

High stumps are trees cut at a few meters’ height to increase the amount of standing deadwood, helping restore more natural forest-like conditions in managed landscapes.

In Finland, our practice is to create at least two high stumps per hectare in all harvesting, and we report our performance on final felling sites. In 2023, this was realized on 82% of our sites. If there is natural deadwood (10 trees / ha), we preserve the existing deadwood instead of creating new high stumps.  Our performance has improved from 2022 thanks to our increased focus on related trainings and communication with harvesting operations.

 

2023

2022

2021

Performance

82%

60%

56%

Audited sites

448

202

505

Approved sites

369

121

283

 

Learn more about high stumps


Ground deadwood in forest
Deadwood can stand in the forest or lie on the ground, creating decaying wood at different stages.

Ground deadwood protection

Finland
74%

Deadwood is one of the most integral forest elements for enhancing biodiversity, which is why our forestry measures include careful preservation of existing deadwood on the ground. 

In Finland, we monitor that no harm is done to natural ground deadwood on those sites where there is deadwood on the ground. In 2023, this was realized on 74% of our final felling sites. As we keep developing our monitoring, we can analyse development areas more thoroughly. 

 

2023

2022

2021

Performance

74%

79%

97%

Audited sites

474

583

505

Sites with deadwood

448

293

368

Approved sites

331

232

357

Learn more about deadwood


Bridge to protect forest soil and water
Temporary bridges prevent soil damage when crossing waterways.

Soil and water protection

Finland
97%

Soil and water constitute important habitats for versatile species living on land and in water, which is why we protect soil and water when crossing watercourses as well as avoid soil damages close to water.

In Finland, we measure how well this has been achieved on sites where there has been a need to cross the water. In 2023, waters were protected or crossings avoided on 97% of our sites. We have organized various water-related trainings and are involved in several projects, which helps us to identify key areas for water protection and advise forest owners.

 

 

 2023

2022

2021

Performance

 97%

98%

91%

Audited sites

 924

583

505

Sites where water needed to be crossed

 74

97

132

Sites where crossings approved or avoided

 72

95

120

 

Learn more about soil and water


Forest stream

Prioritised habitat preservation

Finland
99%

Prioritised habitats contain especially high nature values, requiring particularly careful protection. They do not occur in many forests, which is why their number in our data is small. Our main action is to preserve all prioritised habitats that are identified in the forests where we operate.

In 2023, this was realized on 99% of our sites in Finland, which means there has been positive trend over the years. 

 

 2023

2022

2021

Performance

 99%

89%

88%

Audited sites

 924

583

505

Prioritised habitats

 97

104

75

Approved prioritised habitats

 96

93

66

Learn more about habitats

 


Retention trees
A group of retention trees in a harvested area.

Tree retention

Finland
81%

Retention trees are living trees left after harvesting to support biodiversity over the forest regeneration phase.

Our target is to leave at least 10 living retention trees per hectare at harvesting. In 2023, this was realized on 81% of our final felling sites. The average number of retention trees was 14 per hectare, meaning that many sites exceeded the target and some were below.

 

 2023

2022

2021

Performance

 81%

80%

89%

Audited sites

 425

206

505

Approved sites

 343

165

449

 

Learn more about tree retention


Buffer zone around water
Buffer zones protect the water from sediments and erosion.

Buffer zone preservation

Finland
89%

Riparian buffer zones are areas left around waters and wetlands to protect biodiversity around the water and sustain good water quality, as buffer zones protect the water from sediments and erosion. 

In Finland, we leave riparian buffer zones that are at least 10 meters wide on average, with the minimum requirement of 5 meters everywhere. In 2023, this was realized on 89% of our sites. To improve, we put increased focus on buffer zone planning by developing the use of digital mapping tools.

 

 

 2023

2022

2021*

Performance

 89%

94%

N/A

Audited sites

 924

583

N/A

Sites where buffer zones are required

 184

142

N/A

Approved sites

 164

133

N/A

 * In 2021, buffer zone preservation was not reported as a separate indicator.

Learn more about buffer zones

Sources

Map illustration
High stump

High stump creation

Sweden
88%

High stumps are trees cut at a few meters’ height to increase the amount of standing deadwood, helping restore more natural forest-like conditions in managed landscapes.

In Sweden, our practice is to create at least three high stumps per hectare in harvesting, and we report our performance on final felling sites. In 2023, this was realized on 88% of our sites, which shows we have remained stable over the years but remain slightly below the target.

 

 2023

2022

2021

Performance

 88%

88%

92%

Audited sites

 58

58

60

Approved sites

 51

51

55

 

Learn more about high stumps


Ground deadwood in forest
Deadwood can stand in the forest or lie on the ground, creating decaying wood at different stages.

Ground deadwood protection

Sweden
92%

Deadwood is one of the most integral forest elements for enhancing biodiversity, which is why our forestry measures include careful preservation of existing deadwood on the ground. 

In Sweden, we preserve natural deadwood logs that have a diameter of at least 15cm and have been dead for more than a year. Our monitoring is focused on the amount of observed logs that have not been damaged. 92% of the evaluated logs in final fellings were fully preserved in 2023, showing steady improvement. 

 

 2023

2022

2021

Performance

 92%

89%

85%

Audited final felling sites

 58

58

60

Number of deadwood logs

 160

260

330

Approved deadwood logs

 147

231

282

Learn more about deadwood


Bridge to protect forest soil and water
Temporary bridges prevent soil damage when crossing waterways.

Soil and water protection

Sweden
95%

Soil and water constitute important habitats for versatile species living on land and in water, which is why we protect soil and water when crossing watercourses as well as avoid soil damages close to water.

In Sweden, we measure how well this has been achieved in all water crossings: in 2023, the result was 95%, meaning there is a positive trend over the years. This is partly thanks to the focus we have put on a special forest machine driving technique, developed by us to avoid soil damages.

 

 2023

2022

2021

Performance

 95%

92%

82%

Audited sites

 116

118

119

Number of water crossings

 41

24

39

Approved water crossings

 39

22

32

Learn more about soil and water


Forest stream

Prioritised habitat preservation

Sweden
96%

Prioritised habitats contain especially high nature values, requiring particularly careful protection. They do not occur in many forests, which is why their number in our data is small. Our main action is to preserve all prioritised habitats that are identified in the forests where we operate.

In 2023, this was realized on 96% of our sites in Sweden. This is a significant improvement compared to 2022, thanks to better avoidance of soil disturbances in the buffer zones protecting the habitats.

 

 2023

2022

2021

Performance

 96%

78%

89%

Audited sites

 116

118

119

Prioritised habitats

 49

50

417

Approved prioritized habitats

 47

39

372

 

Learn more about habitats


Retention trees
A group of retention trees in a harvested area.

Tree retention

Sweden
97%

Retention trees are living trees left after harvesting to support biodiversity over the forest regeneration phase.

In, Sweden, our target is to leave at least 10 trees per hectare at harvesting, and we report our performance on final felling sites. In 2023, this was realized on 97% of the sites, meaning that we have maintained steady performance also compared to the previous year. 

 

 2023

2022

2021

Performance

 97%

98%

88%

Audited sites

 58

59

60

Approved sites

 56

58

53

Learn more about tree retention


Buffer zone around water

Buffer zone preservation

Sweden
95%

Riparian buffer zones are areas left around waters and wetlands to protect biodiversity around the water and sustain good water quality, as buffer zones protect the water from sediments and erosion. 

In Sweden, we leave buffer zones according to the forestry best practice, where the width of the zone depends on the site. For instance, we leave wider zones if the surrounding forest is wet or has higher biodiversity values. 95% of buffer zones were correctly handled in 2023. 

 

 2023

2022

2021*

Performance

 95%

92%

N/A

Audited sites

 116

118

N/A

Buffer zones within the sites

 125

122

N/A

Approved buffer zones

 119

112

N/A

* Buffer zone preservation was a new indicator in 2022, and hence comparison data from 2021 is not available.

Learn more about buffer zones

Sources

Map illustration
High stump

High stump creation

Baltics

High stumps are trees cut at a few meters’ height to increase the amount of standing deadwood, helping restore more natural forest-like conditions in managed landscapes.

In the Baltics, high stump creation is not part of the current practise at the moment but is being piloted as a voluntary biodiversity action. The focus is on preserving existing deadwood, both standing and on the ground.

Learn more about high stumps


Ground deadwood in forest
Deadwood can stand in the forest or lie on the ground, creating decaying wood at different stages.

Ground deadwood protection

Baltics
88%

Deadwood is one of the most integral forest elements for enhancing biodiversity, which is why our forestry measures include careful preservation of existing deadwood on the ground. 

In our reporting, we monitor how well this has been achieved on final felling sites. The audit result shows that in 2023, deadwood was maintained according to requirements on 88% of the audited sites. The result has stayed stable over the past years. In addition, we monitor also the amount of deadwood in the Baltics: we aim to have at least five stems of standing and five logs of lying deadwood per hectare.

 

 2023

2022

2021

Performance

 88%

91%

88%

Audited sites

 56

46

42

Sites with deadwood

 43

35

42

Approved sites

 38

32

37

 

Learn more about deadwood

Bridge to protect forest soil and water
Temporary bridges prevent soil damage when crossing waterways.

Soil and water protection

Baltics
88%

Soil and water constitute important habitats for versatile species living on land and in water, which is why we protect soil and water when crossing watercourses as well as avoid soil damages close to water.

The audit result for the Baltics shows that in 2023, soil and water were protected on 88% of our sites, meaning there is a positive trend over the years. We continue to collaborate with our harvesting partners, communicate actively with forest owners, and provide trainings both for partners and employees to continuously improve our performance.

 

 2023

2022

2021

Performance

 88%

82%

74%

Audited sites

 56

46

42

Sites with water bodies

 16

11

42

Approved sites

 14

9

31

Learn more about soil and water

Forest stream

Prioritised habitat preservation

Baltics

Prioritised habitats contain especially high nature values that require particularly careful protection, such as areas inhabited by endangered species.

Prioritised habitat preservation is not reported for the Baltics: due to their scarcity in the forests overall, we have been able to focus harvesting on areas where there are no prioritised habitats.

Learn more about habitats


Retention trees
A group of retention trees in a harvested area.

Tree retention

Baltics
91%

Retention trees are living trees left after harvesting to support biodiversity over the forest regeneration phase.

In the Baltics, we aim to leave at least 10 retention trees per hectare during final fellings. This target was increased from previous years for continuous improvement. In 2023, enough retention trees were left on 91% of the audited sites. On average, the audited sites had 14 retention trees per hectare. 

 

 2023

2022

2021

Performance

 91%

88%

79%

Audited sites

 47

33

42

Approved sites

 43

29

33

Learn more about tree retention


Buffer zone around water

Buffer zone preservation

Baltics
88%

Riparian buffer zones are areas left around waters and wetlands to protect biodiversity around the water and sustain good water quality, as buffer zones protect the water from sediments and erosion. 

In the Baltics, we leave buffer zones to protect waters, in line with legislation and our company guidelines in each country. In 2023, buffer zones were preserved according to our requirements on 88% of the audited sites. 

 

2023 2022 2021*

Performance

 88%

92%

N/A

Audited sites

 56

46

N/A

Sites where buffer zones are required

 8

12

N/A

Approved sites

 7

11

N/A

* Buffer zone preservation was a new indicator in 2022, and hence comparison data from 2021 is not available

Learn more about buffer zones

Sources

Map illustration
The biodiversity indicator data is collected from randomly selected harvesting sites in Finland, Sweden, and the Baltics annually. Different environments call for different measures, so there remain some region-specific monitoring differences, stemming from legislation and varying habitats. We are harmonizing monitoring across regions to ensure comparability. We have also developed a digital tool to further enhance harmonization and reporting. Buffer zone preservation was a new indicator in 2022, and hence comparison data from 2021 is not available.

Biodiversity education hub

High stump

High stump creation

Why it's important

High stumps are trees cut at a few meters’ height to increase the amount of deadwood and thereby contribute to restoring more natural forest-like conditions in managed landscapes. Deadwood is a vital habitat for many species, and high stumps created by us are new deadwood (as opposed to natural deadwood).

In harvested areas, high stumps enhance biodiversity by providing standing deadwood that is exposed to sunlight for a long time. High stumps can be created during harvesting by the harvester operator, and naturally broken trunks are left on site as high stumps. As the bark loosens and the high stump rots, various species of insects follow each other in inhabiting them. It is therefore important that high stumps are left in place as the new forest becomes established and ages.

Different species of insects and birds, for example, prefer the high stumps of different tree species. The red-listed beetle Peltis grossa is an example of a species that can frequently be found in artificial high stumps of spruce or birch. This beetle normally relies on deadwood that has been damaged by spruce bark beetles. When such wood is removed from forests to protect it from further bark beetle attacks, Peltis grossa loses a potential habitat, which can be replaced by artificial high stumps.

Ground deadwood in forest

Ground deadwood protection

Why it's important

Deadwood is one of the most integral forest elements for enhancing biodiversity, as various species rely on it. Active forestry measures are used to increase the amount of deadwood in production forests.

Many species in boreal forests depend on deadwood, and there is a lack of deadwood in managed forests compared to natural forests overall. Deadwood on the ground provides a vital habitat, cover, and breeding ground for a multitude of species, especially many insects. As it decays, deadwood creates a nutritious ground for the next generation of trees. Therefore, it’s crucial that we preserve and protect existing deadwood from damage.

For instance, deadwood-dependent beetles are a group of species that benefits from forest harvesting, as most of these species (c. 65%) prefer sun-exposed environments. Particularly many beetle species that thrive on the deadwood of aspen prefer open habitats. Only 5% of these beetles can prosper in shadowy environments inside the forest. In contrast, 40% of beetles on the deadwood of spruce prefer shadowy environments.

Bridge to protect forest soil and water

Soil and water protection

Why it's important

Water and the soil around it constitute important habitats for versatile species living on land and in water. The area around waters is usually rich with vibrant species that differ from the surrounding forest. Some micro-organisms living in water, on the other hand, play a crucial role in maintaining good water quality.

Therefore, it’s integral that we avoid causing any damage directly to water or soil close to waters, as this that could lead to silting, erosion, or emissions of harmful substances to waters. The driving of harvesting machines in the forest requires careful planning to avoid damages.

First and foremost, we aim not to cross watercourses or drive on wet soil. This is done to avoid soil damages close to water – such as imprints by machinery that would make the soil more sensitive to erosion. If driving cannot be avoided, temporary bridges are built from trees on-site to cross watercourses and the soil is protected with logs and branches. In some cases, prefabricated bridge elements can also be used. Any damage that leads to increased discharge of sediment into watercourses and lakes is unacceptable. The same applies to changing the stretching of a watercourse and swamping or damming near it.

Forest stream

Prioritised habitat preservation

Why it's important

Prioritised habitats are habitats that contain high nature values and require particularly careful protection, which is also often required by law. The definition of a prioritised habitat depends on the country, but some examples are: natural forest streams, natural wetlands, groves, environments with high proportion of old trees or deadwood, and areas inhabited by endangered species. 

Overall, these environments are rare by their nature, which is why they occur in small numbers in our data. When we identify areas of high nature values, it is integral that precautions are taken to properly preserve these areas, as they create important habitats for diverse species. These habitats can be different buffer zones, sites sensitive to soil damage (e.g. wetland forest or steep slopes in the terrain), or patches of forest with high biodiversity values, such as sites inhabited by endangered species.

Retention trees

Tree retention

Why it's important

Trees left on site after final felling are called retention trees: they can be single trees or groups of trees. Tree retention provides needed habitats for species that require living trees and thus enhances biodiversity over the regeneration phase until the new trees have matured. The forest is always regenerated by planting bred seedlings, but retention trees also create seeds for natural tree seedlings.

Retention trees include both retention of single trees and the retention of patches of trees with high biodiversity values. Single retention trees are selected from the trees of the upper layer of various tree species with the largest diameter. Groups of retention trees, on the other hand, have been shown to increase the survival of spiders and red-listed mosses and lichens, for example.

We prioritise broad-leaved species and trees with marks from fire, cavities, or large branches. Large-diameter pine and spruce trees are valuable for biodiversity as is all standing and lying deadwood. Retention trees that eventually die serve as natural deadwood. Retention trees that live to become part of the new forest contribute to structural variation as they are much older than the other trees in the stand.

Buffer zone around water

Buffer zone preservation

Why it's important

Riparian buffer zones refer to the edge of the water that is an area with diverse and valuable nature, differing from the surrounding environment. Buffer zones also protect the water from erosion, sediments, and other substances that might harm the quality of water and the important habitat the water provides for various species.

Therefore, riparian buffer zones are areas left around waters and wetlands to protect biodiversity. Preserving these buffer zones aims at protecting the exceptional and abundant vegetation that grows naturally around waters and thus enhance the survival also of other species dependent on these areas. We leave riparian buffer zones to protect water quality and to ensure that our harvesting operations don't have a negative impact on nearby watercourses.

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