Peatland forestry – the Finnish case

Juhani Päivänen

After Wise Use – The Future of Peatlands, Proceedings of the 13th International Peat Congress: Peatland Forestry

forest-drainage, sustainable-wood-production, wise-use

Päivänen 2008: Peatland forestry - the Finnish case


The paper discusses the different intensity levels with which mires have been used for forestry in Finland. The Finnish approach has been a progressive one since the 1960’s when the National Forest Inventory (NFI) revealed that commercial wood harvesting exceeded the annual growth of forests. Research has continuously provided information for operational-scale peatland forestry. However, political steering through forest legislation (Forest Act and Act on the Financing of Sustainable Forestry) has also taken other aspects than tree growth into con- sideration, e.g. employment in rural areas, social equality and the harsh northern climate. During the last decade, nature conservation questions and biodiversity requirements have also come to the forefront via legislation (e.g. Nature Conservation Act) and guidelines of a voluntary nature.
At the national level, peatland forestry with a drainage area of 5.4 million hectares has increased the annual increment of tree stands growing on peatlands twofold. About 26 % of the tree growth in Finnish forests lies on drained peatlands. Peatland forests are forecast to be of crucial importance for supplying the forest industry with raw wood.