Management of forests

We manage the city’s forests to increase their biodiversity, maintain the landscape and natural values, and improve their sustainability. We also make sure that the forests are pleasant and safe places to be outdoors.
Photo: Jussi Hellsten

How we manage the forests 

The forests in Helsinki are intended for outdoor exercise and recreation.  Helsinki has no commercial forests, and there are no economic objectives for forest management. We do not take any management measures in some of the forests and allow them to develop more naturally instead. 

Our forest management methods include: 

  • Thinning of trees to increase the diversity of species and ensure that there are trees of different ages 
  • Thinning of excessive thickets of saplings and management of sapling stands 
  • Felling of single weakened trees 
  • Increasing the number of rotted trees 
  • Natural standing crop regeneration, i.e. making room for existing saplings in forests by removing older and weakened trees 
  • Regeneration by planting saplings in small openings of up to 0.3 hectares

Climate change has caused drier summers and stronger winds, resulting in the death and falling of old spruces in particular. To ensure that falling trees do not pose a risk, we cut down weakened trees in a controlled and safe manner in local and recreational forests. 

Forest management principles 

Forest management is guided by the city’s nature management policy. We are currently updating the policy, and the first step is to revise the forest management principles. The primary goal is to increase the biodiversity of forests. We are preparing for the impact of climate change and urban growth by improving the resilience of forests. 

Based on the updated forest management principles, we will prepare operational programmes for public areas, nature management plans, and management and development plans. 

Plans and policies 

Are you familiar with everyman’s right? 

Everyman’s right ensures that anybody can use the forests in Helsinki to pick berries and mushroom, for example. Everyman’s right does not apply to nature reserves as such; for example, movement may be restricted. 

Read more about everyman’s right at leads to external service)