Near the city of Hämeenlinna in Southern Finland the farm and forest estate Alhainen managed by Mikko Alhainen covers 50 hectares of forest, a third of which is on peatland. Typical for the Tavastia region the substrate is either stony till or peatland.

The Alhainen estate is part of the Metsä Group FSC group’s forest certificate whose criteria agree well with the wildlife forestry principles that Mikko pursues. These principles also support promotion of the diversity as part of the agriculture and forestry on the estate, for which the Alhainen estate has been awarded the distinguished Wildlife Estates sign.

Controlled high thinning

For more than three years Mikko has managed his forest with controlled high thinning. With this method Mikko can prolong the rotation age of the forest stands, promote the biological diversity and provide more favorable conditions for natural forest rejuvenation. “With high thinning management towards a multi-structured mixed forest with ample light conditions has succeeded surprisingly well. The forest provides a good income and the thinning results in a full stocked forest with a high recreational value”, Mikko says.

Benefits and challenges with the method

Both forest professionals and researchers are interested in the differences between traditional clear-cut and high tinning with regard to the method profitability, water (nutrient) leaching and carbon sequestration. Several research initiatives have been initiated based on the management of the estate. Mikko is expectant on the results.

Wildlife wetlands

There are about 2.5 hectares of wildlife wetlands on the estate. “A propely managed wetland is a win-win situation for both water protection (to prevent leaching) and biological diversity; it levels out the floods and provides shelter for the game birds”, tells Mikko.