Current issue: 55(2)
The main features of the Finnish landscape are a result of preglacial erosion processes and the structural lines of the bedrock. The microstructure of the landscape was created by the Ice Age and its melting processes. Upon this base, human activities have created a palimpsest of cultural landscapes. The article describes the effects of slash-and-burn cultivation, tar production, cattle ranging and some other forest uses to the forest landscape.
The paper is based on a lecture given in the seminar ‘The forest as a Finnish cultural entity’, held in Helsinki in 1986. The PDF includes a summary in English.
The article is a review on shifting cultivation, its methods and use in Finland, and its effect on the condition of forests. Shifting cultivation decreases forest reserves not only by burning large amounts of wood. Of the area used for shifting cultivation, 10-50% can be open land. The older age classes of forests are often missing, and range of tree species shift towards deciduous trees. This causes lack of large timber. The shorter the rotation, the less well the most valuable trees survive on the area. One reason is lack of seed trees. Of the coniferous trees, Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) is able to survive in the burnt-over lands better than Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.), because it can produce seeds at a relatively young age. Betula sp. and especially grey alder (Alnus incana (L.) Moench) regenerate well on burnt-over lands. Also the frequency of good seed years determine which tree species become the dominant species on a burnt-over site.
When shifting cultivation is abandoned, deciduous trees keep their advantage over coniferous trees, because the wood of coniferous trees is used more in the surrounding villages. Pine and spruce spread to the burnt-over areas from the poorer sites that often had remained unburned. In densely populated areas in some counties in Savo in eastern Finland, where shifting cultivation was practiced intensively, Norway spruce became rare. Dominant tree species in the burnt-over areas became birch and pine.The article is divided in two parts. A German summary is included in a separate PDF
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
The Jokioinen Estate was established in 1562 when king Erik XIV of Sweden granted a large area around Jokioinen in the southwest Finland to Klas Kristersson Horn. The estate had several landlords until it was acquired in 1872 by Jokkis Stock Company, and finally sold to the government in 1918. The forestry of the estate was influenced by complications concerning the ownership of the land. A part of the tenants of the estate had originally been independent and owned their farms, but some farms were so-called family-right-farms, which were inherited from father to son, but the farmer did not own the land. A third type of farmers were ordinary tenants, who were directly dependent on the landlord. Especially ambiguous was the family-right-farmers’ right to harvest timber from the forests. The Finnish government acquired the estate to solve the problems and gave the tenants right to buy their farms.
Until the 18th century most of the farmers in Jokioinen area practiced shifting cultivation. This method of farming influenced strongly the forests, and continued until the increased market price of timber made it unprofitable. The forests were also the source of fuel wood for both the farmers and the landlord. The estate had own saw-mill industry since the 18th century. In 1871 a trained forester was hired for the estate. When the government acquired the estate, it comprised 32,000 hectares of land. The state retained 7,000 hectares of the forests. They were managed by a trained forester and administrated under the Board of Agriculture.
The PDF includes a summary in English.