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Forests management

Forest management in Helsinki is steered by policies for the care of natural areas. These policies have been prepared by the Urban Space and Landscape planning services in cooperation with resident associations and other stakeholder groups. The department’s plans and guidelines for natural area maintenance comply with the policies.

Forest management operations are carried out with due attention to the landscape, surrounding nature and other environmental conditions. The goal of the maintenance of recreational forest areas is to maintain and improve the vitality and safety of the areas as well as improving people’s enjoyment of the areas, while securing biodiversity.

Forest management operations include systematic cutting of larger trees, coppicing and cutting of single large trees. The overall goal is to ensure that the Helsinki forests will continue to grow healthy trees in the future.

Helsinki applies the method of natural regeneration in its forests, which involves making space for saplings growing naturally in forests by removing older and weak trees. If a weakened forest has not been able to regenerate naturally, the regeneration is assisted by clearing small areas of land no larger than 0.3 hectares and by planting cultivated saplings in the cleared areas.

Helsinki residents are served by 4,800 hectares of forest inside the city borders. In addition, Helsinki owns 5,300 hectares of forest in nearby municipalities. Helsinki’s forests dedicated to recreational use are a rarity among world capitals.

Climate change and forests

Forest management in Helsinki is carried out with regard to climate change. Forests with many different types of trees can endure changes in the climate better than forests with only one type of tree, and they can better maintain biodiversity.

Climate change has resulted in drier summers and stronger winds than before. As a result, many older spruce trees in particular have died or have been felled down by storms. These consequences of climate change are controlled by cutting down weakening trees systematically and safely in forest areas used by local residents.

06.12.2019 18:38