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PEFC has Positive Impacts on Finnish Forestry, Report Shows

Aug 06 2015

Metsä10In Finland, PEFC has now been used for 15 years. A study made by Gaia Consulting highlighted the positive impacts of PEFC certification in Finland.

According to the report, PEFC has systematized and improved practices and procedures in the forestry and the whole value chain. In addition it has contributed to changes in attitudes and increased competencies thus having far-reaching impact on the forestry industry and society as a whole.

Regarding biodiversity PEFC has had an impact, for example, by ensuring that retention trees are present, the report states.

PEFC requires leaving ten retention trees per hectare in connection with regeneration fellings. These trees must never be taken out of the forest, but must be allowed to decay where they have stood.

The effect of leaving retention trees can be seen in many ways. For example, introducing the latest red list of endangered species in Finland in 2010, the researchers said the forest ecosystems in Finland are doing better than other ecosystems in regard in endangered species - and the biggest single reason for this is the leaving of retention trees.

PEFC changed attitudes towards protection

PEFC sets higher demands on forestry than laws and regulations in Finland. Where PEFC criteria are aligned with regulatory requirements, they provide details on how to interpret the legislation, improving the implementation in the forest.

With 20 million hectares of Finnish forests PEFC-certified, Finland has the third largest PEFC-certified area in the world, preceded by Canada and the United States. In fact, PEFC certification covers more than 90% of Finnish forests. With certification setting higher demands than other regulations, this means that in practice it is PEFC certification that sets the level of Finnish forestry.

PEFC has affected attitudes, too. While know-how on, for example, the selection of retention trees and awareness of valuable, protected habitats have increased, attitudes towards protection are seen to become more positive. For forest owners it is particularly important that the change has been voluntary.

More coherence in employers’ responsibilities

According to Gaia Consulting, PEFC has had an evident role in communicating about the changes in forest legislation and in promoting its implementation. Furthermore, while black-market activity is only a minor problem for the Finnish forest sector, PEFC has had an important role in creating more coherence in employers’ responsibilities.

Plenty of advice and training available

PEFC has actively promoted the level of know-how of Finnish family forest owners. One-on-one advice has been given to a total of 175,000–185,000 forest owners, and advice to groups has reached 25,000–43,000 forest owners.

Various training events have attracted 75,000–90,000 forest owners. 900–1,200 training courses have been organized and 1,500–2,000 information bulletins have been published.

Further Information

PEFC Certified

Forests area: 309 million ha
Forest owners: > 750,000
Companies (CoC): > 20,000

(as of December 2018)

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