UPM has finalised the logging operations on Ärjänsaari island, in Northern Finland. According to the original management plan UPM continues to develop the recreational services of the island by building new signposts, duckboards and campfire sites later this spring. UPM also calls for a profound discussion on the ground rules related to sustainable forestry, the responsibilities of the different parties as well as stakeholder involvement models.
Ärjänsaari is a forest estate owned by UPM and managed according to the principles of sustainable forestry. In 2014 UPM prepared a complete management plan for the Ärjänsaari island covering all activities and taking into account the recreational values, landscape and biodiversity of the island. The plan was approved by the authorities in December 2014.
“UPM has involved its stakeholders during the whole planning process. Safeguarding the recreational values has been one important factor especially emphasised in the plan. Latest stakeholder event to discuss the plan was organised last week in Kajaani. Locally the main concerns expressed relate to the recreational values and the possibility of storm damages. Further the cultural values of the island came up in discussions. Additionally also ENGO’s have expressed their concerns during past weeks,” Sauli Brander, SVP Wood Sourcing and Forestry, says.
“After the event in Kajaani we have adjusted our logging plan and due to the prevailing mild temperatures we want to be sure that the operations can be finalised safely. This means that we have completed the logging operations, transfer the machines to the mainland and transport the wood to be further processed.”
The island is part of the Natura 2000 network and its shore areas as well as the valuable natural habitat types in the inner of the island have been protected. The environmental authorities have stated that forestry operations in the inner parts of the island are allowed when ensuring the protection of certain natural habitats. The authorities have not seen any reason for further protection. The logging operations have taken place in the inner parts of the island.
“We find that the preparation of the Ärjänsaari management plan has been an exceptionally careful process involving various stakeholders during the planning phase. However, stakeholders started raising concerns only after the plan has been approved and logging operations have started. This is an unacceptable way of operating. We have to raise the question whether it is possible to operate in a predictable manner in the Finnish forest environment. The question has also a wider link to Finland’s bioeconomy strategy. The rules of the game have to be discussed and UPM welcomes dialogue with all stakeholders. We see that this would benefit all parties, says Heikki Vappula, EVP, UPM Biorefining Business Area.
On Wednesday 10 February, starting at 13:00 UPM will organise guided tours on Ärjänsaari island. The visitors can see the island and its nature as well as the result of the logging operations and discuss the development plan.