Current issue: 57(2)
Under compilation: 57(3)
Bark beetles are amongst the most aggressive pest agents of coniferous forests. Due to this, many boreal countries have designated laws aiming to lower the risk of bark beetle epidemics. Finland’s forest legislation has pre-emptive measures targeted against bark beetles, and for Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), the law concerns pine shoot beetles (Tomicus spp.). This study used data collected around 25 piles of Scots pine roundwood that were harvested in the winter but left in the forest until the following November. Thus, the pine shoot beetles were able to use the piles for breeding. We assessed the number of emerged insects from the piles and the cascading damage they caused in the surrounding forests. All roundwood piles, regardless of their volume, were used by the beetles for breeding. Highest densities of beetle exit holes were found from the parts of the log with thick and intact bark. If the bark of the log was damaged by the harvester head, the number of beetles decreased significantly. Depending on the volume of the roundwood pile, the cascading damage (fallen shoots) was noticeable up to ca. 40–60 m from the roundwood pile. Storing of piles smaller than 50 m3 did not cause excess damage. The number of fallen shoots per tree was generally below the known thresholds for when growth losses can occur. However, the study was conducted in mature forests, and it can be assumed that the recorded damage levels would severely affect the growth of young pines, raising the question of where to store the roundwood. As with other bark beetles, the role of Tomicus beetles as damage agents may change in the future, but based on this as well as past studies, the species can be viewed as a notable damage agents only around long-term wood storage sites in the current northern conditions.
The size of Finnish wood harvesting enterprises has grown, and entrepreneurs have become responsible for various additional tasks, resulting in networking with other harvesting enterprises of various sizes and suppliers of supporting services, but the profitability of the wood harvesting sector has remained low. In the present study, the financial performance of 83 wood harvesting companies in Eastern and Northern Finland was evaluated, based on public final account data from a five-year period between 2013 and 2017. The factors underlying economic success were identified based on 19 semi-structured entrepreneur interviews. The Business Model Canvas framework was applied in the analyses. In particular, the smallest companies (with an annual turnover of less than 600 000 €) struggled with profitability. They showed increasing indebtedness, suffered from poor power in negotiations, had typically short-term contracts, and faced difficulties in retaining skilled operators. Most of the small companies were subcontractors of larger wood-harvesting companies. The better economic success of larger companies was likely based on their capacity to provide wood harvesting services in large volumes and supply versatile services, power in negotiations, and more cost-effective operations. The future development of wood harvesting seems to be polarised: larger enterprises are likely to continue growing, while the size of smaller enterprises has stabilised. Enhancing business management skills and practices is required in enterprises of all size groups.