Forest biodiversity

Biodiversity means the variety of life in genes, species, and in entire ecosystems. Biodiversity is profoundly vital for the planet and humankind. Sustainable forest management safeguards forest health and productivity and protects forest biodiversity – whilst securing the long-term availability of our renewable resources.

At Stora Enso, biodiversity management is an integral part of our forest management practices. We have a solid track record of achievements in safeguarding biodiversity in our forests and tree plantations since the 1990s, for example by pioneering forest certification, restoration and various forest management practices.

Safeguarding biodiversity is essential for having healthy forests and hence also a prerequisite for our business. Compliance with national legislation and FSC/PEFC certification requirements are only the starting points for our work and we continuously develop our practices to safeguard biodiversity.

New biodiversity ambition for 2050

In 2021, Stora Enso announced new sustainability ambition to safeguard and enhance biodiversity to achieve a net-positive impact on biodiversity in our own forests and plantations by 2050 through active biodiversity management. We also contribute to related processes and standards globally in collaboration with customers, academia, environmental organisations and other partners.

Active biodiversity management

We believe that active biodiversity management is the best way to protect and enhance biodiversity, while at the same time using forests for commercial purposes. All our forestry operations are planned according to approved biodiversity management practices. Biodiversity management in commercial forests preserves specific structural features throughout the forest lifecycle from planting to harvesting and regeneration.

Recognising regional and local perspectives is important as “one-size fits all” solutions cannot be used in improving biodiversity – biodiversity management must always be adapted to the conditions of each forest site.

In our own forests in Sweden, we implement active biodiversity management in areas for wood production and set-aside areas. We also collaborate with forest owners in all countries we source wood from and promote our biodiversity management practices.

Examples of biodiversity management practices in Stora Enso’s Northern forests

examples of biodiversity management

New biodiversity programmes

Our biodiversity programmes are based on science and continuously developed internally and together with external partners. To this end, we foster close collaboration with customers, suppliers, environmental NGOs, the authorities and academia. 

Stora Enso uses its own forest in Sweden as development platform to test and implement active biodiversity management methods both in commercial forests and set-aside areas. In Finland, Stora Enso focuses on enhancing biodiversity in commercial forests together with forest owners.

Protecting biodiversity is part of our daily forest and nature management practices in our own forests and in the forests we source wood from. To safeguard biodiversity we, for example,

  • increase the amount of broadleaved trees
  • preserve and create high stumps to increase the amount of dead wood
  • leave retention trees to provide habitats for various species
  • create protective thickets as shelter for game and 
  • protect waterways, valuable sites and endangered species.

Biodiversity programme for own forests in Sweden

Stora Enso owns 1.4 million hectares of land in Sweden, and the company is one of the country’s largest forest owners. Safeguarding biodiversity has been an integral part of Stora Enso's forest management for decades. The new programme aims to strengthen this work further.

Combined with the ongoing biodiversity work, the new biodiversity programme with more than 30 actions will lead to increased nature values and strengthened biodiversity across Stora Enso’s land holdings in Sweden.

Main actions and targets for 2030:

  • Deadwood: Over 40% of red-listed forest species depend on deadwood. Stora Enso aims to increase the amount of dead wood on its land holdings by 40%.
  • Broadleaved trees: Broadleaved trees provide critical habitats for many species. Stora Enso will double the number of broadleaved trees in young forests and plant 700,000 birch trees annually
  • Water: Watercourses and wetlands are often rich in biodiversity since many species depend on water for different life stages. Stora Enso will identify four major water landscapes for restoration and remove migration barriers in all identified valuable watercourses
  • Species and habitats: An umbrella species is an animal or plant that lives in an area with many other endangered species. The new biodiversity programme focuses on protecting four umbrella species, which in turn benefit hundreds of other red-listed species.
  • Active biodiversity management: actions in this focus area include increasing annual prescribed burning by 20% on average in the protection areas over a five-year period.

Stora Enso uses selected areas of its Swedish forests to test and develop biodiversity management methods and capabilities. This work is done in close collaboration with universities, environmental organisations, NGOs and authorities to share knowledge and foster joint innovation and development.

Read more about the program in Swedish.

Biodiversity programme for Forest Finland

Stora Enso’s biodiversity programme in Finland aims at increasing biodiversity in commercial forests. The programme brings together nature management measures that improve habitats for endangered species and water protection. Our goal includes having more living and sturdy retention trees, decaying wood, shelterbelts for animals, and mixed tree cover.

Main actions and targets:

  • Create 2–5 artificial stumps per hectare and leave at least ten retention trees per hectare in felling sites.
  • Conserve hardwood in tendings and thinnings to increase mixed stands.
  • Create 2–3 shelterbelts per hectare. 
  • When harvesting trees, we use the trees in the stands to create supporting bridges over small watercourses.
  • Leave a 5–30-meter unworked buffer zone around water bodies in land reclamation.
  • Encourage employees to participate in volunteer work, concerning for example in forest health or water conservation. 
  • Raise forest owners' awareness of METSO conservation and the importance of herb-rich forests for biodiversity in wood purchasing negotiations. Our goal is to have more than 200 METSO conservation initiatives in 2022.
  • Together with Tornator, we will restore a total of 1,000 hectares of peatland in eastern and southern Finland between 2022 and 2027, increasing biodiversity and improving the habitat of peatland species.

    We also recommend forest owners to use a variety of forest management methods to regenerate peatland forests by assessing the baseline conditions of the stand and water economy.

Tornator's biodiversity programme

The goal of Tornator’s Biodiversity Program is to safeguard and increase the biodiversity of forests by introducing new measures, increasing the amount of active nature management and the protection of valuable areas, continuing with the effective stakeholder cooperation, as well as monitoring the biodiversity effects of the measures. Stora Enso owns 41% share of Tornator’s forest assets which are mainly located in Finland. Read more about Tornator’s biodviersity programme.

Science-based indicators track progress

Our goal is to measure biodiversity holistically to balance forest growth and biodiversity. Biodiversity must be adaptively managed and monitored on landscape, habitat and species levels to ensure a holistic approach due to biodiversity’s inherent complexity. 

Together with researchers, we are continuously developing new methods to improve biodiversity as part of everyday forest management and wood sourcing. Stora Enso has initiated a holistic, science-based monitoring programme with academia to track progress and enable us to further develop our practices. As part of this work we have developed 15 science-based indicators to monitor both the state of forest biodiversity as well as the impacts of our forestry operations in order to minimize our impact on nature and biodiversity.

Our biodiversity indicators:

Impact indicators
Soil damage close to water (crossings + damage to edge/buffer zones)
Damages to retention trees, prioritized habitatsor their edge zones during harvesting
Damage to dead wood
Retention at felling
Creation of new deadwood as high stumps
State of biodiversity
Forest age class distribution
Streams with high nature quality
Dispersal barriersin streams
Stands with high age
Prioritized habitats
Deciduousrich/dominated stands
Mixed species stands
Nature value trees
Amount of dead wood
Vertical layering
Abundance of selected keystone species
Active biodiversity management

State indicators only apply to own forest in Sweden.
Indicators measuring the quality of our work apply to all our operations independent on who owns the land. 

More information about Stora Enso’s biodiversity indicators and results for 2021 can be read here.

Our approach to biodiversity

Case Raggbocken 

Case Arches