Current issue: 55(2)
The article comprises some of the principal results of the labour force material collected in connection with the 1950 census of Finland. It includes the basic tables in which are listed the calculated estimates of total number of rural male forest and floating labour force, their labour input to agriculture, forestry and floating in 1950. In addition, division of the labour force into farmers and not-farmers and by districts are presented. The unemployment time and relief work input of the rural population was also calculated.
Finland’s economic situation in 1950 was characterized by a slow recovery from depression of the previous year. The situation had not yet improved in such measure that would have relieved appreciably the rural unemployment that arose from shortage of work available in the forest.
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Forestry has been almost the sole source of employment during winter in the forested areas of Finland. The aim of this study was to investigate the number of men and horses working in logging and haulage in different times of year in 1933‒1934. The felling and haulage of household timber was not included in the study. The amount of work days was calculated using the statistics of wood consumption. The work days in logging was 10.0 million days in 1933 and 11.9 million days in 1934. Accordingly, approximately 3.6 million work days was done in horse-haulage in 1933 and 4.3 million in 1934. The forest companies and Metsähallitus (Forest Service) employed most employees in wood harvesting in January‒March, in average 14,300‒25,700 men and 3,300‒9,300 horses per month. The number of employees was lowest in August.
In floating, 1 million work days was done in 1934 and 1,1 million in 1934. Most employees were hired in April‒June. Floating is an important source of employment for the landless people when the fellings stop in the spring. The farmers working in wood harvesting can move to work in their farms.
The agricultural committee appointed by the Finnish Government in 1958 pointed out a problem that the rural population needed to be ensured employment and earnings from forestry. A forestry study group was called to investigate the effects of forest improvement on employment and income, on four fields: a) forest drainage, b) afforestation, c) thinning of young stands, and d) construction of forest roads. Items a, b and c increase output, and d creates outlets for timber and increases stumpage value.
The study outlined three alternative silvicultural programmes. The Basic Programme corresponds average forest management in Finland in 1953–1959. The Medium Programme can be seen conditional to the realization of the felling plan worked out in a study group Heikurainen-Kuusela-Linnamies-Nyysönen in 1961 in a committee report of Forestry Planning Committee. Finally, according to an Intensive Programme to which forest management, especially afforestation and forest drainage, will be raised to the highest possible level.
The costs of different silvicultural measures of the three programmes were estimated. The allowable cuts were calculated corresponding to the silvicultural programmes for the period 1961–1970 and 2001–2010. After calculating labour input and costs, could the increase in employment and income be estimated for the whole economy, and separately in forestry, communications and industry. When calculating the labour input required for the forest management work and road construction, the probable rise in productivity following mechanization and rationalization has been taken into account.
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Fuel shortage during and after the Second World War compelled the Government of Finland to improve the fuel supply. In 1948 the Government appointed a Committee to draft a proposal on use of domestic and imported fuels. Special attention was placed on how to develop use of peat as fuel.
In rural districts, firewood billets and waste wood accounted for 45% of fuel consumption. For other users than the rural population, coal and coke consisted 25%, industrial waste wood 11% and billets 18% of the total consumption in 1938. After the war the use of coal and coke increased and the use of billets decreased.
Due to the decreased demand of billets, their price in the towns fell lower than the production and transport costs from the most remote areas where the wood was harvested. The demand for small sized timber is important for silvicultural reasons, and wood harvesting creates jobs for the rural population, therefore, the Committee proposes that the state supports the production of billets. This could be done by improving the effectiveness of firewood loggings, and by building truck roads and railways.
Small-sized birch is used predominantly as fuel. The Committee considers the growing stock of birch to be the largest unutilized wood reserve. Supported by technological research, it may become a new raw material for sulphate cellulose industry. Use of industrial waste wood as fuel and improvement of heating equipment would improve the competitiveness of fuelwood and peat against other fuels. For the possible interruptions in imports, stocks of foreign fuels should be maintained.
The article includes a summary in English.