Blog | 03/21/2024 09:02:20 | 2 min Read time

Celebrating the International Day of Forests

Elina Warsta

Senior Manager, Global Forest Affairs, UPM

On 21 March we celebrate the International Day of Forests all over the world. For UPM, sustainably managed, thriving forests enable the success and continuity of our business for decades to come. UPM owns 523,000 ha of forests in Finland, 304,000 ha of eucalyptus plantations in Uruguay, and 76,000 ha of forests in the USA.

In addition, we lease about 170,000 ha of plantations in Uruguay and manage 1.5 million ha of privately owned forests in Finland. We are one of the biggest forest owners in Europe and own four tree nurseries – one in Finland and three in Uruguay. This means that we understand and manage the whole value chain from seedling production to sustainable forest management and harvesting, wood transportation and mill operations. Forests provide local livelihoods and create multiple opportunities such as recreation to the surrounding society. 

Our 150-year-long history in the industry and comprehensive forest ownership allows us to be a pioneer in sustainable forestry: our global biodiversity programme dates back to 1990’s, and in 2022 we established a global forest responsibility programme, the Forest Action, takings actions in five focus areas: climate, biodiversity, water, soil and social contribution. 

This year for example, we are developing new indicators to monitor progress related to soil and water, and participating in the pilot of testing Science Based Targets for nature as the only forest industry company. In Minnesota, the US, we are restoring monoculture forests to mixed species forests in hundreds of hectares annually. In Finland, we recently announced the UPM habitat programme, targeting to restore a minimum 3,000 ha of peatland habitats and carry out a management plan in at least 100 other sites by 2030. 

Forest management certification is one of our main tools to ensure sustainability in healthy and well-growing forests, and therefore we have set a 100% certified wood fibre target by 2030, covering all wood sourcing regions globally. In 2023, we managed to increase the percentage to 87%. 

All our own forests and plantations are already certified, or in the process of being certified, if the site is new. We are committed to climate-positive forestry, meaning that we harvest our forests less than they grow. The researchers of Natural Resources Institute Finland calculate the carbon sink of our forests in Finland, Uruguay (owned and leased plantations) and the USA every year, and we publish the data as part of our annual report. Overall, we are committed to safeguard the forests for future generations, and we make sure that our wood sourcing or forestry does not cause deforestation.

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