Finland's total roundwood removals in 2021 set new record of 76 million m3, of which 65 million m3 was for forest industries, 10 million m3 for energy generation; industrial roundwood removals up 12% from 2020, up 4% from five-year average: Luke

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HELSINKI , February 9, 2022 (press release) –

According to preliminary data of the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), a total of 65 million cubic metres of roundwood was harvested in 2021 from Finnish forests for the forest industries. Spruce logs were harvested the most as industrial roundwood, more than ever before. As ten million cubic metres of roundwood were also harvested for energy generation, total roundwood removals increased to 76 million cubic metres.

The high supply of forest industry products and the increased demand for wood were reflected in commercial felling in 2021. Industrial roundwood removals increased by seven million cubic metres, or 12 per cent, from the previous year, up by four per cent from the average roundwood removals during the preceding five-year period.

During 2021, new records were also broken in roundwood removals at a monthly level. Over four months, industrial roundwood removals totalled more than six million cubic metres, with the highest volume of up to 7.4 million cubic metres being reached in March.

More spruce logs harvested than ever before

Log removals have never before exceeded the limit of 30 million cubic metres a year. Last year, log removals totalled 30.3 million cubic metres, up by 14 per cent compared with the average of the previous five years.

“Spruce log removals were particularly high at 16.3 million cubic metres. This was the first time when spruce log removals exceeded pine pulpwood removals. This year, pine pulpwood removals were 16 million cubic metres,” says Tiina Sauvula-Seppälä, senior statistician at Luke.

Spruce log removals were 26 per cent higher than in the previous year and 15 per cent higher than the average of the previous five years. Pine log removals were also record-high at 12.9 million cubic metres. The increase in the felling volumes mainly came from non-industrial private forests.

A normal year in terms of pulpwood and energywood removals

Pulpwood removals did not increase as rapidly as log removals, with pulpwood removals totalling 35.1 million cubic metres. While this volume increased by five per cent at an annual level, it fell short of the average of the previous five years by four per cent. Spruce pulpwood removals increased by nine per cent from the previous year.

In commercial felling, 6.2 million cubic metres of energywood were harvested as forest chips for heat and power plants. Delimbed and whole-trees accounted for 3.6 and logging residues and stumps 2.6 million cubic metres.

Net roundwood imports totalled roughly 11 million cubic metres

Roundwood is also imported from other countries for use in the Finnish forest industries and energy generation. The figures for foreign trade in December have not yet been published but, according to preliminary estimates, a total of 12–13 million cubic metres of roundwood were imported into Finland in 2021. Pulpwood made up roughly seven million, chips four million and logs less than half a million cubic metres. Roundwood exports totalled slightly more than a million cubic metres.

Total removals increased to 76 million cubic metres

In addition to industrial roundwood, approximately 0.3 million cubic metres of timber are harvested annually from non-industrial private forests for private use by forest owners. This means that the total felling volume of log- and pulpwood-sized roundwood was 65.7 million cubic metres in 2021. In addition to industries, a total of 10.1 million cubic metres of stemwood were felled for energy generation. Of this energywood volume, almost two thirds were used as fuelwood in small-scale housing and more than a third as forest chips at heat and power plants.

“According to preliminary estimates, total roundwood removals increased by ten per cent from the previous year to 75.8 million cubic metres. The 2021 felling volume was the second highest ever recorded in statistics, only falling short of the peak year of 2018 by slightly more than two million cubic metres,” says Jukka Torvelainen, senior statistician at Luke.

Nine tenths of the felling potential in use

According to an estimate prepared by Luke in the spring of 2020, the sustainable yield of commercial timber and energy wood harvested from our forests is on average 80.5 million cubic metres of roundwood per year during the ten-year period of 2016–2025.

“Based on preliminary data, a total of 94 per cent of this sustainable yield was used in the whole of Finland in 2021 and an average of 91 per cent was used between 2016 and 2020. Last year’s regional felling volumes are not yet known, but there probably is high variation in the felling volume relative to the felling potential from one region to the next as before,” Torvelainen says.


The total volume of tree stocks increased by more than 10 million cubic metres

Total drain means the total volume of roundwood excluded annually from the growing tree stocks in forests. According to estimates, a total of 15 million cubic metres of roundwood remained in forests in 2021 in the form of logging residues and naturally died stemwood. When roundwood harvested for use is added to this figure, total drain was 91 million cubic metres.

“According to the most recent data, the volume of roundwood living in Finland’s forests is 2,500 million cubic metres, and the annual increment of growing stocks is 103 million cubic metres. Last year, the total drain was 88 per cent, which means that the total volume of roundwood increased by 12 million cubic metres,” Torvelainen says.

Background to the statistics

The removals and drain shown here are preliminary. The final statistics and regional statistics for 2021 will be published in June.

Luke collects and publishes data on commercial felling by month and calendar year. Other items used in the calculation of total roundwood removals and drain are identified through separate surveys. The volume of wood sawn by forest owners for their private use was previously identified for calendar year 2010, and the volume of fuelwood consumed in small-scale housing for the 2016/2017 heating season.

Preliminary data on foreign trade in 2021 will be published in March and final data in October.

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