Current issue: 53(3)
Under compilation: 53(4)
The purpose of the present investigation was to study the extent of human interference with the forests of different epochs in the district of north Ostrobothnia in Northern Finland, and its effect on the condition of the forests.
The study revealed that the quantities of wood removed were not most detrimental to the condition of the forest; the regionally irregular loggings and the logging methods employed were the most harmful. The old forms of wood utilization, tar industry, shipbuilding, sawmill industry and timber exports, were characterized by timber selection. Public opinion considered it the only recognized cutting method long after the conditions had changed and silvicultural methods should have been used.
The spread and abandonment of selection cuttings are illustrated in the results of first National Forest Surveys in Finland. According to the first survey (1921–1924), nearly half of the loggings in the province of Oulu were based on selection, which spoiled and devastated 41% of the forests. In the 1930s one-fifth of the North Ostrobothnian forests were weakened by selection cuttings, in 1960s the figure was 6%. The article also summarises the extent of tar and pitch production, sawmill industry, shipbuilding and household wood consumption of wood in the area.
The PDF includes a summary in English
Tar was an important export article in Finland, then a part of Sweden, in the 18th century. For instance, in 1640 half of Finnish trade consisted of tar. In other countries, like Norway, Poland, Archangel in Russia, and North Sweden, burning of tar was minor compared to Finland. In Finland, tar was produced of young pine trees. Tar production concentrated in more remote locations of the country, where it would be too difficult and expensive to transport timber and wood products. The cheapest products, such as wood, boards and planks, were produced on a coastal zone at farthest 30 km from the coast. Tar was produced in the zone beyond the coastal district. The inland parts of Southern Finland were, however, hilly which made even the transport of tar difficult. Tar production ended by the middle of the 19th century when wooden ships were abandoned, and the value of forests and other wood products increased.
The PDF includes a summary in English.