Oulu is the largest owner of municipal forests in Finland. We own approximately 19,500 hectares (ha) of forestry land, of which 610 ha is located in Utajärvi, Juorkuna. Of the forestry land, about 3,200 ha are poorly productive forest lands and unproductive land, peat bogs, wide power lines, roads, etc.
Forests and bogs are protected in an area of approx. 1,300 ha (including valuable habitats according to the Forest Act), which is approx. 7% of the area of forestry land. The area of nature reserves decreased with the sale and donation of the forest of the Sanginjoki river, but in practice the area of nature reserves increased by about 2,200 hectares in Oulu. In addition to nature reserves, there are approximately 900 hectares of valuable forests that are excluded from the measures.
There are approximately 2 million m3 of wood in the city of Oulu's forests and the average volume of forest land is 139 m3/ha, including protected areas and valuable forests. The trees are in a good growth phase and will grow by about a third in the next 20 years. The growth of trees on forest land is estimated to be around 73,000 m3 and the average growth is 5.0 m3/ha/year. The forests produce approximately 40,000 m3 of lumber for factories and sawmills annually. In addition to this, logging residue collected from the urban area is used for energy production in thermal power plants, mainly in Toppila. A part of the twigs are turned into mulch for the flower beds and shrubs in the city's parks and surface material for nature trails. The current carbon storage of the city's forests is 2.7 million tonnes of CO2.
The city has a forest management and use plan for the years 2024–2033. In addition to tree counts, measures are presented for the plan period related to both preparing for climate change and improving biodiversity. In connection with the preparation of the forest management and use plan, the city residents have an opportunity to participate in the form of a virtual forest walk. In the virtual walk, you can learn about the management and goals of the city's forests. The walk is only available in Finnish.
Forests are managed according to the principle of sustainable use through thinning and regeneration felling. Other types of forestry work include planting or sowing trees and related soil cultivation and cleaning, as well as maintenance of ditches and forest motor roads.
The management of forests is guided by forest and nature conservation laws, recommendations for good forest management and the criteria of PEFC Forest Certification.
About 4,500 ha of the city of Oulu's forests are located in the area of the city plan, where recreation, protection, landscape and safety aspects are emphasized in forest management.
In urban areas, reasons for treatment of forests include
- the condition of the trees and the need for care; overdensity, etc. => the aim of the treatment is to preserve the growth conditions and the versatility of the forest
- the needs and requests of the residents
- coppice growth and willow thickets
- managing storm damage.
In urban areas, forest management is planned to be carried out in the following years in the residential areas mentioned below:
2023: Inner Oulu: Talvikangas, Hönttämäki, Jylkynkangas, Oinaansuo.
2024: Inner Oulu: Kuivasjärvi, Ahvenoja
2025: Inner Oulu: Pateniemi, Herukka
The work order and schedules mentioned above may change over the years, depending on how the work advances. The work is mainly carried out as logging work. During snowy winters and poor road conditions there may be long breaks.
Felling of trees and forest management requests in the city plan area
Requests for felling and forest management in the city's forest areas are primarily processed through the feedback channel (link below). The feedback must include clear pictures and detailed information.
Hundreds of different requests are presented to the city every year, and we look at each of them on a case-by-case basis and write down the requests that can be granted. Primarily, we aim to carry out requested work at the same time with the forest management work done in residential areas, but smaller requests are also be carried out separately depending on the work situation and resources. Currently, the schedule for separately carried out requests is 1-3 years. In the case of felling dangerous trees, the work is carried out on a faster schedule. Healthy trees are not classified as dangerous even if they may reach buildings if they fall. If a fallen tree is found to be healthy, the damage caused by it will possibly be compensated by the resident's home insurance. In addition, shading, installing solar panels, littering or other similar reasons are not grounds for urgent felling.
On a case-by-case basis, we can give a permission for independent felling of individual trees and removing brushwood and willow from the edge of the property. In the case of separately carried out requests, residents have the opportunity to purchase the felled timber to use as firewood. Branches will be left for the resident to dispose of.
If the trees requested for felling are located on the edge of the property of a housing company, the housing company must submit the board of directors' minutes made of the discussion of the felling request in order to hear the residents' opinion and avoid conflicts. However, submitting the minutes does not mean that all requests can be fulfilled, so it is recommended to inquire about the feasibility of the requests and the schedule in advance.
Tree maintenance on private and rented properties
The lessor or the landowner is responsible for the care and expenses of the trees on rental properties whose trees belong to the right to lease, as well as on privately owned plots. A permit for landscape work is always required for felling and can be requested from Building Control (in Finnish). Trees are the property of the lessor/landowner. After receiving a felling permit, the lessor/landowner can carry out the felling and other maintenance measures of the tree on their own or hire a professional or order the work from the Oulun Infra public facility.