The stump of a felled tree in a logging area in Raasepori, Southern Finland, on 3 July 2018. (Roni Rekomaa – Lehtikuva)

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THE FINNISH ASSOCIATION for Nature Conservation (SLL) is demanding that the errors made in forest measurement be taken into consideration in the ongoing coalition formation negotiations.

The Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) announced last week it has decided to revise its method of accounting for forest areas ready for final felling in calculating the reference level for carbon sequestration in Finnish forests.

SLL on Thursday interpreted the announcement as an admission that official estimates of the size of the carbon sink and, consequently, appropriate logging volumes have been based on erroneous numbers.

“The forest area used for the calculations has been over-estimated, as a result of which estimates of logging possibilities have been too high,” it stated.

Harri Hölttä, the chairperson of SLL, underscored in a press release that not a single research organisation should alone be responsible for making the estimates and that the estimates always should be presented to the scientific community for evaluation.

“The detected errors must be taken into consideration in the ongoing coalition formation negotiations,” he said.

Logging volumes has been one of the most contentious issues between the five parties involved in the negotiations. The Centre Party and Green League, in particular, have been at loggerheads over calculating carbon sinks and other forest policy-related questions. The three other parties in the negotiations are the Social Democrats, Left Alliance and Swedish People’s Party.

The negotiating table on climate issues is headed by Sanna Marin, a deputy chairperson of the Social Democrats.

Marin commented on the role of Luke in January, reminding that the numbers it uses to determine maximum logging volumes are not available to everyone and that the some of the underlying presumptions have been shown to be problematic.

“I’m concerned that there’s no willingness to determine what’s the actual situation,” she lamented in an election debate organised by MTV.

The Social Democratic Party, she stated, is of the opinion that the logging volumes can be increased if it is shown that the carbon sinks are growing.

Another party leader who in the debate drew attention to the calculations of Luke was Li Andersson of the Left Alliance: “I’ve talked to researchers many times, and this is hardly a simple exercise even for researchers in the field. One of the questions that has emerged, slightly to my surprise, is that apparently the formula used by Luke isn’t open. Other researchers can’t evaluate it.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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