Finland is famous for several rally- and racing drivers, for its nature, the sauna, ice hockey, the many lakes, their young prime minister, and forest machinery. The FinnMETKO forestry show takes place this week and we will report from that. But first some general information about Finland.
Finland – way up north
Finland is a republic with 5,5 million inhabitants. It became independent on the 6th of December 1917 after having been a part of Russia for 108 years, and before that Sweden. Finland is a member of the UN, and the EU and is about to become a member of NATO.
Official languages are Finnish (87 percent), Swedish (5 percent), and Sámi which is spoken in Lapland in the northern part of the country.
Finland is one of the Nordic Countries or the Nordic Cooperation. The members are, apart from Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Also, the Faroe Islands (Denmark), Greenland (Denmark), and Åland (Finland) are members of the Nordic cooperation although they are parts of other member countries as mentioned within brackets.
Many seem to think that Finland also is one of the Scandinavian countries. However, that is not the case. Scandinavia is Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Those three countries belong to the same language family and can understand each other quite well if not too much dialect is used.
The Finnish Forest
The total area of Finland is 33,8 million hectares. 75 percent of this is covered with forest. Approximately 23 million hectares are used for wood production. The annual growth, according to the Finnish Forest Centre, is 103,5 million cubic meters. The total annual felling, including mortality, is approx. 92 million cubic meters of which industrial round wood (in 2021) is 76 million cubic meters. Of the 76 million cubic meters, 87 percent was used in the wood- and paper industry and 13 percent as energy (wood chips, firewood, etc.).
10,6 percent of the forest land is protected and not used for forestry.
Some 61 percent of the Finnish forest land is owned by private forest owners. 25 percent is state-owned, 8 percent is owned by the industry, and the rest is owned by “others” (2018).
In mid- and south Finland, approx. ¾ of the forest land is owned by private forest owners. In northern and eastern Finland, the main part is state-owned.
574.000 private forest owners are having more than 0,5 hectares of forest land. 440.000 of them have at least 2 hectares and 44.000 over 100 hectares. Of the forest owners owning at least 0,5 hectares, 42 percent are female.
The Finnish Forest is well managed. It contains mainly pine and spruce but also a large share of high-quality birch stands. Just like in Sweden, the Finnish forest industry is an important source of income for the nation.
Finnish forest machines
Finland has an impressive history when it comes to forest machinery. Many of today’s well-known brands, like Ponsse, Logset, ProSilva, Kesla, AFM, Keto, Farmi, Pentin Paja, and many more, are Finnish. Komatsu Forest has partly its roots in Finnish Valmet. John Deere Forestry manufactures its CTL machines in Finland, and they also have some roots in Finland e.g., Lokomo and Plustech.
The dominating harvesting method, representing 66 percent of the World’s felling, the CTL technology was developed and tried out in Finland and Sweden during the ’60s, ’70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s. Now, the CTL system is used all over the World. Full tree handling was also tested here but it never broke through.
Maybe it’s no wonder that Finnish machine manufacturers like the FinnMETKO show, a show that we will get back to very soon – that is next week.