High-quality species knowledge is the key to effective species preservation

Inka Musta
Inka Musta
22 May 2018
Sääksi

One of the starting points for forestry operations is safeguarding the habitats of forest species. The easiest way to achieve this is to increase awareness of the habitat requirements and presence of the species.

UPM has a long history of co-operation with nature conservation organisations. The aim is to find means to align forestry with species conservation. One of these great partnerships is a two-decades-long partnership with the Osprey Foundation which has a long history in the preservation of ospreys.

Ospreys are among our most majestic birds of prey, but they have faced many threats over the decades. Over a century ago, people started paying bounty for the killing of ospreys, as they were considered harmful to the fishing industry. Later, the existence of ospreys was threatened by environmental toxins. Furthermore, the intensive forestry economy of past decades has contributed to the decrease in osprey population.

Finally in 1962, the osprey became permanently protected by law when both the birds and their nests were decreed protected. Numerous voluntary bird-watchers have played perhaps the most important role in osprey preservation. They have, among other things, kept track of the osprey population, collected nesting information, built artificial nests and improved awareness of the status of ospreys through communication.

We have participated in the protection of ospreys in several ways. Our funding has enabled the Osprey Foundation to build up a network of dozens of artificial nests in our forests. We have also funded osprey satellite monitoring and nest cameras which provide valuable information on osprey distribution and behaviour. One result of this collaboration is a guide to forest management in the vicinity of osprey nests.

This spring, the preservation effort took a leap forward when we agreed with the Osprey Foundation on the provision to UPM of the nest location database that has been collected by bird-watchers and managed by the Finnish Museum of Natural History (LUOMUS). Until now, the forest industry’s access to the nest location information of ospreys and other birds of prey has been very limited. Even though osprey nesting trees are always protected by law, advance information on nest locations facilitates forestry operations significantly. This allows advance planning of operations near osprey nesting trees, according to the guidelines agreed with the Osprey Foundation, and minimises the risk of accidentally felling nesting trees. The osprey nest database is confidential and it is only used in the planning and implementation of forestry operations.

Giving UPM access to the osprey nest database is a significant step towards more open species knowledge. It was achieved through long-term co-operation and the building of mutual trust. We also hope that this provides a good example of co-operation between the forest industry and organisations focused on the preservation of other species. When species knowledge is more freely available to forestry practitioners, the biggest winner is the environment itself. The preservation of ospreys is one of the success stories in Finnish nature conservation, and we can create more of them through open-minded collaboration in the future.

Related Stories