Current issue: 53(4)
Accumulated knowledge about the health benefits of bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) has increased the demand and utilization of wild bilberries. Intensive berry picking by metal rakes is believed to cause damage in bilberry stands in areas under continuous picking pressure, and hence expected to hamper the production of berries in forthcoming years. We conducted an experiment to examine the effect of continuous bilberry picking by metal rake on the number of bilberry flowers and fruits, fruit mass, compensation for biomass loss after picking, and plant functional type abundance in the understorey in northern Finland. Bilberry lost less than 0.5% of its biomass annually during the three-year study period due to rake harvesting. The number of flowers was not significantly affected by damage caused by picking, while both fruit production and fruit set increased without any indication of reduced fruit mass, and biomass loss was fully compensated. Moreover, the relative abundance of plant functional types was not affected by picking during the study. We suggest that the low intensity and timing of damage act as a buffer against the adverse effects of picking on bilberry fruit production. On the basis of this study, it is reasonable to anticipate that there are no indications that current intensive berry picking would not be on a sustainable level.
Four governmental efforts are underway to reach consensus on indicators of sustainable forestry. Through the Helsinki process, European countries have developed and reached a pan-European, binding consensus, The Montreal process includes non-European Temperate and boreal forest countries, the International Tropical Timber Organization (lTTO) have developed guidelines for the sustainable management of natural tropical forests, and the countries around the Amazon basis have developed a joint initiative for creating guidelines of sustainable forest management of the Amazonian tropical rain forests. It is estimated that as many as 15–20 distinct processes are under way in the private sector by non-profit organizations and for-profit companies, some domestic and other international in scope. Perhaps the most wide-ranging definition work of non-governmental organizations is the undertake by the Forest Stewardship Council, FSC. The paper discusses the Helsinki and Montreal processes and the tasks for research.
The paper discusses how the general trend towards increasing growth and productivity in the European societies is expressed also in forestry. It is reflected, for instance, in the increasing production and productivity of forest industries. Technological progress and call for economic growth require great flexibility from all resources. These pressures for effectiveness and production also concern Finnish forestry and forest management. Industrialization, urbanization and development of forestry have increased the pressure to use forests in recreation, preserving human environment and nature conservation in addition to production of timber. Through the development the definition of sustainability has become wider.