Variation in forest landowners’ management preferences reduces timber supply from Finnish forests

Key message Forest owners who maximize profitability with a low discount rate or whose management goals are related to conservation and recreation, rarely sell timber. These owners make it difficult to achieve the high harvesting targets of the growing bioeconomy sector of Finland. To increase timber supply, these landowners should be informed about alternative silvicultural methods.
Context The round wood harvests from Finnish forests are increasing and approaching to the level of maximum sustainable cut. Cutting budget calculations assume that forests are harvested in an optimal way for national timber supply. The calculations ignore the variability of landowners’ forest management preferences.
Aims This study analyzed the effect of variation in the management objectives and silvicultural preferences of forest landowners on the forecasted timber supply from Finnish forests.
Methods Forest owners were divided into savers (net present value maximized with a 1% discount rate), average owners (3% discount rate), and investors (5% discount rate). The owners of each group were further divided into three groups: those who allow only continuous cover management (12%), owners who use only rotation forest management (10%), and indifferent landowners who may use both silvicultural systems (78%). Scenarios were composed of management prescriptions that were optimized separately for the different groups of forest landowners.
Results Compared to the even-flow timber drain scenario for rotation forest management (calculated without acknowledging the varying preferences of landowners), the scenario where the owners’ preferences varied decreased harvested volume by 15–19% during a 100-year calculation period. The main reason for the difference was the saver type of landowners who rarely sell timber.
Conclusion It was concluded that variation of the preferences of forest landowners may make it challenging to meet the increasing harvesting targets of the growing bioeconomy of Finland.

National forest inventory, Private forest owner, Timber trade, Boreal forest

Heinonen, T., Pukkala, T. & Asikainen, A. Variation in forest landowners’ management preferences reduces timber supply from Finnish forests. Annals of Forest Science 77, 31 (2020).

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Data availability
The data that support the findings of this study were used under license for the current study and so are not publicly available.

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