If it’s not clear by now, we Finns are said to be “forest people”. We are living in a country that is covered by forests – actually currently 73 % of the land area is forest. And compared to, for example, rest of the Europe (33 %), that’s a lot, wouldn’t you say?
That said, Finland is cutting down its forests at an ever-accelerating rate, and that causes concern for many environmentalists and regular people alike. Why is that? Well, for instance, forests have been seen as our national property which should not be so easily handed away to the forest industry. We love to own and accumulate wealth, but not give it away – at least if the price is not right.
The more pressing concern, however, is related to nature and biodiversity. As more and more forests are being commercially – should I say – exploited, the natural habitats for numerous delicate species are changing and diminishing so that there simply is no room and resources for all the living things that previously have existed in the forest.
The life cycle of a forest from birth to death to rebirth is natural. Trees fall down because of storms, they die of old age, or because of diseases etc. Sometimes large forested areas may “die” very fast because of forest fires or when some small foreign bacteria, virus or insect decimates hundreds or thousands of hectares of forests. I say “die”, because in the case of a forest fire, some things do actually die, but many other things spring to life. Forest after a forest fire is never really dead, if I am not mistaken.
I am not saying cutting trees is bad. I am just saying that doing it cold turkey might well be. The natural course of things allow the animal and plant life to adapt and adjust, but when the whole ecosystem changes within a matter of months, weeks or even days, that might not be so good.
For me, forest can be a source of income, too, but it is certainly much much more than that. What it is, you will find out in the next blog posts to come.