Metsähallitus reports a slightly weaker performance

In 2014, Metsähallitus made 114.2 million Euro in earnings. Group earnings were EUR 1.8 million lower than in the previous year. Turnover totalled EUR 360.6 million, down some 14 million from 2013.

According to Director General Esa Härmälä, 2014 was a successful year for all of Metsähallitus’ main functions.

Among the business functions, operating profit from forestry improved although turnover was reduced by declining demand. Sales of commercial timber declined somewhat, to slightly under 6 million cubic metres.

Laatumaa also recorded a good result. Of the affiliated companies, Siemen Forelia was profitable but Fin Forelia and MH-Kivi made a loss. In 2014, the separate business portfolio unit comprising businesses other than forestry was discontinued.

In forestry, Metsähallitus continued major investment in non-business targets. Taking account of general social obligations that go beyond the provisions of the Forest Act has decreased our calculated operating profit by EUR 55 million.

Parks & Wildlife Finland, which has responsibility for Metsähallitus´ public administrative tasks, almost fully achieved the targets set by the Ministries. The overall financing of Parks & Wildlife Finland increased by EUR 3.6 million, to EUR 65.4 million. Of this, EUR 50.5 million was obtained from the state budget and the remainder came from cash flow from operations and project funding.

Major decisions on protection, with a bearing on Metsähallitus, were made in 2014. A total of 13,000 hectares of Metsähallitus’ multiple-use forests were protected under the auspices of the forest biodiversity programme of Southern Finland. The national parks of Teijo and Southern Konnevesi were established, and Metsähallitus also continued preparing its proposal for a mire protection programme. This protection proposal, covering 6,000 hectares, was completed in the winter of 2015.

On account of tightened revenue recognition requirements, a record amount of forest land was sold in 2014, equalling that covered by the METSO protection programme. “This total of 26,000 hectares has permanently diminished Metsähallitus’ ability to make a profit,” Härmälä points out.

2014 was also marked by cultural values, strengthening Metsähallitus’ position as a guardian of Finnish cultural heritage. Parks & Wildlife Finland obtained custody of 29 significant cultural heritage sites, such as the ruined castles of Raasepori, Kuusisto and Kajaani and the Langinkoski imperial fishing lodge in Kotka. The cultural heritage of multiple-use forests in the forestry sector was inventoried, covering an area of 700,000 hectares.

The number of personnel employed by the Group decreased. The number of realised person-years fell by around 60 compared to the year before, to 1,752 person-years. 64% of the personnel were engaged in business activities and 36% in Parks & Wildlife Finland.

The Board of Directors proposed a total of EUR 110 million of the profits to be transferred to the state.

European Forest Owners, Managers and Professionals Welcome the International Day of Forests “Forests | Climate | Change”

“To build a sustainable, climate-resilient future for all, we must invest in our world’s forests.” – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

The European forest owners, managers and professionals represented by key stakeholders of the European forest sector, EUSTAFOR, CEPF, Copa-Cogeca, ELO, FECOF, UEF and USSE, welcome the declaration by the UN General Assembly of the International Day of Forests on 21 March which – in 2015 – has the theme “Forests | Climate | Change”.

Forests and trees are essential to life on Earth and human well-being. Forest ecosystems cover one third of the Earth’s land mass. In Europe, forests represent over 44 % of the land area of the continent and, apart from the traditional production of wood and other forest-based products, they provide a multitude of benefits to European societies and the environment including clean air, clean water, a home for over 80% of terrestrial biodiversity, and a natural defence against a changing climate.

On the occasion of this year’s International Day of Forests, we would like to emphasize the role of active forest management in ensuring the sustainability of our forests. Sustainably managed forests not only give us environmental benefits, they also maintain sustainable economic development and growth thanks to the climate friendly and renewable raw materials they produce and the green jobs they provide. Forests contribute to the livelihood of millions of private forest owners as well as to the budgets of both communes and states.

We actively promote the sustainable and multi-functional management of Europe’s forests which contributes towards implementing the current flagship policy initiatives of the European Union such as the Europe 2020 Strategy “Innovating for Sustainable Growth: A Bioeconomy for Europe”, the most recent 2030 Climate and Energy Package and the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2020.

A competitive forest sector helps to maintain the vitality of rural areas and prevent land abandonment and rural exodus. Therefore, we would like to stress that the successful implementation of Rural Development Programmes enables forest owners, managers and professionals to deliver sustainable and innovative products and services, thereby contributing to climate change mitigation.

We especially call for the efficient and effective implementation of the new EU Forest Strategy. We fully support the aim of the strategy to ensure that all EU forests are managed according to sustainable forest management principles and to strengthen the EU’s contribution towards reducing deforestation at global level by 2020.

The “International Day of Forests” was first established by the decision of the United Nations General Assembly on 28 November 2012. It is celebrated every year on March 21st, uniting two international commemorations: the “World Forestry Day” and “Forest Day”.

EUSTAFOR’s New President and Executive Committee Appointed

Sveaskog’s CEO Per-Olof Wedin has been elected as the new Chairman of EUSTAFOR replacing Georg Erlacher Österreichische Bundesforste AG (Austria). Next to the President, a new Executive Committee composed of representatives from Österreichische Bundesforste AG (Austria), Lesy Ćeské Republiky s.p. (Czech Repubic), Metsähallitus (Finland), Office National des Forêts (France), Bayerische Staatsforsten AöR – Vice-President (Germany), Coillte (Ireland), Lasy Państwowe (Poland) and ROMSILVA (Romania) was appointed.

EUSTAFOR is the association for European state-owned forest management organizations, who manage almost one-third of all forests in Europe, corresponding to around 30 million hectares.

“EUSTAFOR is a key platform from which to pursue, at a European level, issues relating to forests and their sustainable management. Forests are a renewable resource and have an important role to play, particularly in the transformation towards a green bio-based economy,” says Per-Olof Wedin.

EUSTAFOR’s member organisations are based in 21 countries and employ approximately 100,000 people. The purpose of the Association is to highlight the role of forests in the emerging bioeconomy and to provide the EU institutions with information about European state forests, forest management and the potential to develop the significance of forests from a social, environmental and economic perspective.

“Views about forests and forest management differ widely between the countries of the EU. But what EUSTAFOR’s members have in common is that they practice sustainable forest management which develops the multiple values of their forests such as biodiversity, recreation, renewable raw material as well as jobs and prosperity. As a Swedish representative in the role of President of EUSTAFOR I will particularly focus on the significance of forests for Europe’s climate, innovation and employment objectives,” says Per-Olof Wedin.

The appointment of Per-Olof Wedin as President of EUSTAFOR and of the Executive Committee is for 2 years.

Facts about EUSTAFOR:

Established 2006. Members are state forest management organisations from 21 European countries. These organisations manage a total of around 30 million hectares of forest area, including 13 million hectares of protected forests. They harvest nearly 123 million m3 of timber annually. EUSTAFOR’s members employ approximately 100,000 people.