Current issue: 54(5)
Under compilation: 55(1)
The aim of the study was to collect the first complete statistics on pastures and grazing of cattle in Finland. The data was collected in connection with an investigation of wood utilization in 1937-1938. Overall trend in grazing is that forest pastures are being replaced with restricted forest pastures and those further with hay meadows. This development is proceeding in the whole country, and it is almost completed in Western Finland. Grazing will probably be transferred completely to cultivated lands in the coming decades. This is important question also for the forestry, because of the damage grazing causes for forest.
Forest pastures are, however, still very important in animal husbandry. They produce over 500 million forage units. It would require 400,000 ha of hay meadows to produce corresponding amount of fodder. To sustain the present number of cattle, a third of all arable land in Finland should be hay meadows. The main goal for development of pastural agriculture is improving the effectivity of grazing and productivity of the pastures.
The PDF includes a summary in German.
The study includes a detailed survey of 154 farms in the area. Part of the results are presented in the second and third part of the article series about agriculture in Perä-Pohjola and Lapland. The typical breed of cattle in the area was the white Northern Finnish landrace (pohjoissuomenkarja). The size of herds in the farms varied from one to 25, but exceeded seldom 10 cows. Summer pastures were mostly forest pastures. For the winter hay and leaf fodder was gathered. The article includes a detailed description of cattle-keeping in the area. In addition, the farms often had horses and sheep. Keeping pigs or poultry was rare.
The PDF includes a summary in English. This is a fourth part of four-article series about the natural resources in the area of Perä-Pohjola and Lappi.
Perä-Pohjola and Lappi are situated almost entirely north of the Arctic Circle, being one of the northernmost areas, where agriculture and forestry are practiced. The state owns 87% of the land, of which 42% are productive forests. Only 0.8% of the land is agricultural land, mostly meadows. Agriculture is mainly dependent on animal husbandry. The most important agricultural crops were barley and potato. From the economic point of view, forestry is the most important industry in the area. Forestry also gives the agricultural population extra income, especially in the winter. The total population of the area was 31,488 in 1917. Development of the connections to the area is important for both agriculture and forestry.
The PDF includes a summary in English. This is a first part of four-article series on the natural resources in the area of Perä-Pohjola and Lappi.
In South-West Finland the usual method to make leaf fodder for cattle has been to cut the branches and collect the new sprouts again next year. According to this review, the most common tree species to be topped is Betula sp. Downy Birch (Betula pubescens Ehrh.) grows shoots easier than silver birch (B. pendula Roth). The topped forests are usually small and situated near the settlements, next to the fields and meadows. The birch trees are typically cut when they are 15-20 years old. Regularly topped birch rots easily and seldom exceeds 50 years. The capacity to grow shoots depends on the age of the tree, site and time of the cutting. The risk for rotting can be decreased by removing only part of the shoots and cutting the shoots a short distance from the base of the shoot. Collecting leaf fodder decreased in Finland, and was common only in the South-West Finland and Åland.
The PDF includes a summary in German.
Finland has a long tradition of grazing cattle in the forests and common land. There are also reports of degradation of forests by grazing already in 1600th century. The aim of the survey was to study which positive and negative effects grazing has in forests.
The study concludes that grazing has caused considerable economic losses through damages to forests. In addition, woodland pastures cannot give the yields required in modern animal husbandry. The quality of woodland pastures have decreased after the woodlands used in slash and burn culture have become wooded.
Grazing has also some positive effects to forests. It increases the diversity of vegetation in the woodland pastures and spreads species to new areas. This is supported by the lists of species found in different woodland pastures. Cattle destroy large grasses like Calamagrostis, which may avail growth of tree seedlings in the pastures. Grazing can also prepare the site for tree seedlings. On the other hand, prolonged grazing destroys tree seedlings and prevents regeneration.
The article includes a German summary.