Metsä Board Annual and sustainability report 2022

and forest regeneration, as well as continuous cover forestry, which means removing only some of the trees at a time. We recommend continuous cover forestry above all for peatlands. However, it is the forest owner who ultimately decides how their forest is managed. Impact of regulation on forest use There are several projects under way in the European Union with a direct and indirect bearing on the use of forests within our wood supply area. EU policies place a strong emphasis on the carbon sinks of forests and the safeguarding of biodiversity. The most holistic view of forest use is provided by the EU Forest Strategy, which aims to reconcile the diverse commercial use of forests, their role as carbon sinks, the climate benefits of wood-based products as well as the protection of forests and the safeguarding of their biodiversity. The EU Forest Strategy is not legally binding, but together with other EU initiatives and legislation, such as the Renewable Energy Directive, the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, and the EU Taxonomy, it will steer the forest-related regulation of EU member states in the coming years. The EU Forest Strategy acknowledges that forest industry products mitigate climate change by replacing materials whose production generates copious amounts of fossil-based emissions. At the same time, the further measures of the Forest Strategy, such as its policies regarding regeneration felling, may limit oppor- tunities in the commercial use of forests. From the forest industry’s perspective, the effects of the EU Forest Strategy are indeed twofold, and it is possible that EU regu- lations with an impact on forest use will begin to limit the availability of wood. The role of member states and differences among forests across Europe should be considered when implementing the strategy.

• We leave protective thickets for animals at all stages of forest management. Protective thickets comprising different tree species are small, untended thickets that provide shelter and food for birds and mammals, thereby securing the habitats of forest-dwelling species. • Buffer zones around waterbodies help promote biodiversity and prevent the runoff of soil and nutrients. A buffer zone is a strip along the waterbody where forest management measures are performed more lightly or omitted completely. • The FSC® nature site service helps target protection at the most valuable sites in terms of nature: The FSC nature site service means that Metsä Group offers valuable nature sites required by FSC forest certification to its owner-members who have joined the FSC group and whose own estates do not include such sites. In Finland, FSC forest certification requires that at least five per cent of the surface area of forestland on the forest estate is permanently excluded from forestry use. Safeguarding carbon sinks Thanks to forests growing, they act as carbon sinks and mitigate climate change. In sustainable forest management, a forest is regenerated swiftly after harvesting, using seedlings or seeds of Finnish natural tree species, which are rapidly growing and the most suitable for the site. By cleaning and thinning stands, more growth space can be created for the best trees. Forest fertilisation also boosts tree growth. The faster a new forest is established and the better the young trees are managed, the faster the stand develops into a carbon sink. Metsä Group aims to increase the amount of carbon stored in forests by actively offering forest management services to forest owners. We offer forest owners both periodic cover forestry, which includes regeneration felling

We updated our goals and measures for promoting biodiversity

Metsä Group updated its 2030 objectives related to biodiversity in early 2023. Measures concerning forest nature will be diversified to support the goal of improving the state of nature. Key targets include diversifying the ratio of tree species, adding more decaying trunk wood and diversifying forest structure. By the end of 2030, retention trees and high biodiversity stumps will be left on all felling sites. In young stand management, we will no longer create spruce forests of a single species. In Finland, threatened species are primarily found on special sites. In addition to the recommended management measures for herb-rich forests determined in 2021, we will initiate management of ridge slopes and the controlled burning of retention trees. “By managing sunny and hot ridge slopes we can prevent overgrowth, which is a threat to species typical of such slopes. The burning of retention trees creates suitable conditions for the species of burnt areas and accelerates the formation of decaying wood important for biodiversity,” says Vesa Junnikkala , Sustainability Director for Metsä Group’s Wood Supply and Forest Services.



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