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UPM granted subsidy for conservation project

UPM Silvesta develops new methods for burning retention tree groups

The Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has granted UPM Silvesta a state subsidy of EUR 40,000 for a development project titled "Towards new operating culture and cost-effective nature conservation - burning retention tree groups in privately owned forests". The Ministry considers the proposed measures conducive to the implementation of the Forest Biodiversity Programme for Southern Finland (METSO) and the achievement of targets set out for commercial forests. The project will be carried out in cooperation by UPM Forest and UPM Silvesta.

The project will develop the methods of burning retention tree groups as part of nature management of commercial forests. The aim is to devise a practical procedure that secures natural biodiversity and is feasible nation-wide, cost-effective, promotes new collaborative culture and increases the awareness and acceptance of nature conservation amongst forestry practitioners. The model will lay the basis for extensive nature conservation measures to be carried out alongside commercial forestry.

"Naturally recurring forest fires create a succession of conditions in the forest ecology. Some forest species specialise in living under such conditions. Since the frequency of wildfires and deliberate burning as part of silvicultural techniques has fallen, populations specialising in post-fire environments have grown increasingly rare," says Jukka Koivumäki, Managing Director of UPM Silvesta

UPM has devised new burning methods for a number of years as part of its biodiversity programme to secure the continued existence of post-fire species.

"Follow-ups indicate that burning even minor retention tree groups has positive impacts on the ecological system. The project has previously been implemented in UPM-owned forests. Private forest owners now have the opportunity to participate and increase post-fire habitats in their own forest," says Koivumäki.

Leaving individual trees or scattered groups of trees standing at final cutting is one of the most common nature management measures in commercial forests. Research shows that retention trees are significant for ecological diversity, but further practical solutions are required. It is also important that forest owners are motivated and encouraged to set aside retention trees and to implement other nature management measures in their commercially used forests.

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