UPM doubles the amount of deadwood in its forests to increase biodiversity

UPM has set a target to increase the amount of deadwood in its commercial forests from the current level of about five cubic metres per hectare to ten cubic metres per hectare. In UPM’s protected areas and commercial forests where a specific nature management target has been set, the deadwood target is 20 cubic metres per hectare. The new targets are part of UPM Forest Action, the UPM Forest Responsibility programme.

In 2018, UPM set itself the target of increasing biodiversity in its forests in Finland while efficiently producing high-quality wood raw material. Biodiversity is measured by comparing natural forests with commercial forests. Studies have shown that one clear difference between these two types of forests is the amount of deadwood. UPM’s success in increasing biodiversity is measured not only by the amount of deadwood, but also by other indicators such as the amount of broadleaved trees and the number of protected areas.

“More than a fifth of Finland’s forest species depend on deadwood at some point in their lives. It is therefore natural to set an ambitious target for the amount of deadwood in commercial forests in order to increase biodiversity. In order to ensure sustainable sourcing of wood raw material in the future, we need to safeguard biodiversity in many ways”, says Tuomas Kara, Environmental Manager at UPM Forest.

In addition to increasing the amount of deadwood, UPM aims to diversify the deadwood to include more decaying standing and ground deadwood of different species in the forest.

The amount of deadwood in UPM’s forests is based on data from the National Forest Inventory (VMI) of the Natural Resources Institute of Finland (Luke) for forests owned by UPM. In cooperation with Luke, the accumulation of deadwood and its impact on biodiversity will also be studied.

“Our current forest management guidelines take into account increasing the amount of deadwood by saving existing deadwood and by leaving retention trees as future deadwood. Buffer zones for water bodies and areas that are completely excluded from commercial use also increase the amount of deadwood. Through further studies and modelling in collaboration with researchers, we want to find out how these measures could be further modified or improved”, says Kara.

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