Per a recent report from the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), the total amount of roundwood consumed by the Finnish forest products industry increased in 2017 for the fifth straight year to its highest level in ten years. Forest industry roundwood consumption totaled 69.7 million cubic meters (m3) in 2017, which represents a 3 percent increase over the prior year and the highest level in nearly 40 years.
Finland’s forest industries processed a total of 62.2 million m3 of domestic roundwood in 2017, which was 3.3 million m3 (6 percent) more than 2016 and a new domestic record. Consumption of imported roundwood decreased to 7.5 million m3 (12 percent) from the year prior. Domestic roundwood accounted for nearly 90 percent of total roundwood consumption by Finland’s forest products industry, its highest percentage in nearly 40 years.
The consumption of roundwood increased across all sectors of the domestic forest industry compared to 2016, as did the assortment of forest products. The chemical pulp industry consumed the most volume at 32.5 million m3 (+2 percent year-over-year) followed by the sawmilling industry at 26.3 million m3 (+4 percent year-over-year). Pine pulpwood was the most popular forest raw material with 17.2 million m3 consumed, followed by spruce logs at 14.4 million m3.
Consumption of wood by-products and residue—mainly sawmill chips and dust—in the manufacture of wood-based products totaled to 9.8 million m3.
On a regional basis, roughly 20 percent of roundwood harvests (13.9 million m3) were consumed in the region of South Karelia. The second and third highest amounts of roundwood were consumed in the regions of Kymenlaakso (7.4 million m3) and Central Finland (6.1 million), and consumption in the Central Finland region increased by 20 percent year-over-year.
Roundwood consumption in Finlad is likely to continue its upward trajectory. Late in 2017, Metsä Group’s next-generation €1.2 billion bioproduct mill in Äänekoski, which consumes roughly 5 million m3 of wood fiber, came online. The mill will produce 1.3 million tons of pulp per year, along with other bioproducts such as liquid rosin and turpentine. Over the next 3-5 years, significant investments in new wood-based manufacturing facilities are planned, which will increase demand on the country’s roundwood resource.
Finland's wood supply is well poised to meet this demand. The total roundwood removals of 70 million m3 in 2017 represented roughly 87 percent of Finland’s maximum sustainable harvest level. The forests used for wood production contain roughly 2.2 billion m3 of roundwood, and Luke estimates that 81 million m3 can be sustainably harvested annually. Even with the added demand from recent and planned expansions in the near term, Finland’s forest products sector is well within the sustainable harvest range to support its growing industry.