Current issue: 55(4)
Under compilation: 55(5)
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.
The impacts of weed control, ash fertilization and their interaction were tested for the afforestation of former agricultural peat-based soil with Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) in northern Finland in a factorial arrangement of four treatments. Weed control with herbicides was carried out in July 1 and 2 years from planting, and wood ash (5 Mg ha–1) was applied in the spring of the 2nd year. Various vegetation, tree growth and nutrient assessments were made over the 21-year study period. Weed control decreased the weed cover by 36–56 percentage points, vegetation height by 4–26 cm and thus shading of seedlings by vegetation for at least 4 years after planting. For the same period, ash fertilization increased vegetation height by 6–15 cm and shading of seedlings. Weed control reduced seedling mortality by 27 percentage points in 21 years, but ash fertilization had no significant effect. Ash fertilization increased foliar potassium and boron concentrations, but its effect declined, and severe K-deficiency was recorded 21 years after planting. Up to the 9th year, weed control had a greater influence on growth than fertilization. Later the significance of fertilization increased due to an aggravated K-deficiency. Stand volume at year 21 for the untreated control plots was 8 m3 ha–1. Weed control and fertilization increased stand volume by 20 and 35 m3 ha–1, with a combined effect of 55 m3 ha–1. The effects of weed control and fertilization were additive and no significant interactions were found. Due to severe K-deficiencies, re-fertilization of all treatments would be necessary for the continued survival and growth of Scots pine.