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Heavy snows mean heavy losses for forest owners

The Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners - MTK says that heavy snows and cold temperatures are causing major timber losses.

Jakeluverkkoasentajat matkalla sähkölinjan korjuutöihin Hyrynsalmen Kytömäessä perjantaina.
Power line repair crew in Hyrynsalmi on Friday. Image: Kimmo Rauatmaa / Lehtikuva

MTK estimates that thousands, if not tens of thousands of cubic metres of timber have been downed or splintered by heavy snow and cold temperatures in the northeastern areas of Suomussalmi and Hyrynsalmi alone.

The head of MTK field operations in the Kajaani region, Heikki Rahko, told the STT news agency that during his 40 years in the field he has never before seen such widespread damage to forests caused by snow.

"Usually damage is limited to only a small area, but this has hit the whole of the region," said Rahko. He described the scene in some localities as "shocking".

According to Rahko continuing snow and cold may cause further losses.

Dangerous situation

The losses to forest owners are likely to be higher than those caused by windy weather. Stands of trees lost to storms and high winds usually come down in clearly defined areas. Trees lost to the weight of heavy snow and frigid temperatures are scattered through forests, making clean-up more difficult and more expensive.

Heikki Rahko also pointed to the danger posed by heavily snow-laden branches to owners who may want to survey the damage to their forests.

"If a heavy tree top comes down on you, it will kill," Rahko warned.

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