UPM’s global biodiversity targets guide company forestry operations worldwide. “Biological diversity is a key indicator of a forest’s health, productivity and stability,” says Cheryl Adams, Forest Resources Manager at UPM Blandin. “Following the targets ensures we have a healthy forest, the primary focus for professional foresters at UPM.”
UPM set six global biodiversity targets in 2006 and reaffirmed those targets in 2011 to guide the development of individual country targets and local level forest tract actions plans.
“These targets are really forest management techniques to promote biodiversity and measure and track our progress in restoring or ensuring a healthy forest,” says Adams. She listed the principle targets as follows:
1. Maintain and increase proportion of native tree species and their natural composition.
Use harvest and regeneration techniques to ensure that tree species native to a particular site thrive.
2. Manage deadwood quality and quantity to enhance biodiversity.
Deadwood provides an important habitat, shelter and food source for insects, especially beetles, fungi and lichens, but also birds, bats and mammals. Wood inhabiting species breakdown the wood structure releasing nutrients back into the soil where they can help living trees and other vegetation to grow.
3. Protect valuable habitats and manage them for their biodiversity value.
Valuable habitats provide the richest and most varied components for biodiversity. They are often naturally small and the specialised conditions mean that many rare species can inhabit them.
4. Manage variation in forest structure at area and stand level.
Different species require variety in the distribution of trees either vertically in a stand or across the forest.
5. Maintain open water bodies and wetland.
Rivers and lakes provide a wide range of habitats for fish, many different mammal, plant, bird and insect species.
6. Implement plans for remnants of natural forests.
In addition to promoting biodiversity, strictly protected remnants of untouched natural forests are needed for research and education.
According to Adams: “These biodiversity targets identify key processes of the natural forest that we incorporate in our management plans. We are matching tree and plant species to the landscapes in which they naturally occur based on soil types, topography, moisture availability, and other environmental factors. Plus, we are aggressively tracking the results of our management practices.”
Certified loggers secure healthy forests
Adams explains how logger certification is essential to achieving healthy productive forests in Minnesota in the US:
“Once the environmental data is analysed and the planning and timber sale design is completed, the success of the harvest and subsequent regeneration depends on our loggers. We work closely with independent professional loggers who are designated Master Loggers along with obtaining continuing education through the Minnesota Logger Education Program (MLEP). Our loggers are trained to maintain soil productivity, preserve water resources, protect critical habitat areas and prepare for regeneration of the harvested forest units through a series of Best Management Practices (BMPs) established by the Minnesota Forest Resources Council.”
Annual training to ISO standards
BMPs are imbedded in Blandin ISO procedures and accreditation, so there is no room for noncompliance. All forest product suppliers are certified Master Loggers who are required to participate in annual training to ISO standards. Master loggers are third party audited to ensure that they maintain their training and demonstrate the skills necessary to achieve healthy forest practices and targets on harvest sites.
“I enjoy taking our customers into our forest lands. After seeing the vast and diverse landscape of Minnesota’s healthy forests and touring our harvest sites they are assured that UPM’s global targets and sustainable forest management are integral to the management of UPM Blandin lands,” concludes Adams.
Text Marsha Miller
Photo: UPM and John Connely