Metsä Group's Kemi bioproduct mill’s by-products utilized: wood ash stimulates forest growth

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Metsä Group's Kemi bioproduct mill utilizes 100% of its wood raw material and by-products.

The new factory lays the foundation for the development of Kemi's industrial ecosystem with new bioproducts and partnerships, emphasizing collaboration among various experts in the value chain.

The wood ash generated as a by-product in the Kemi bioproduct mill's process serves as an excellent raw material for health fertilization in Finnish forests. Deliveries of ash from the bioproduct mill to nearby forests have commenced due to high demand.

Improving forest vitality through peatland health fertilization

Forest fertilization enhances tree growth by adding nutrients that are scarce in the soil compared to the needs of the trees. Additional nutrients strengthen timber production and improve the profitability of forestry. In addition to growth requirements, the goal is to maintain soil fertility and ensure the vitality of the tree stand.

Addressing or preventing nutrient-related growth disorders through health fertilization is sometimes a prerequisite for cultivating high-quality stands and maintaining a healthy forest.

Ash fertilization suits peatlands

The nutrient economy of drained peatlands differs from mineral soils, and nutrient imbalance, primarily a deficiency of phosphorus, potassium, and trace elements like boron, is most common. Health fertilization on peatlands is mainly carried out through ash fertilization.

Health fertilization on peatlands can multiply forest growth and, consequently, tree evaporation. Increased evaporation keeps the groundwater level low, and drainage ditch maintenance during the rotation period may become unnecessary. Healthy and vigorous stands are resilient against diseases and various forest pests. The application of ash fertilizer can be done by helicopter or a forest machine-mounted ground application device.

Buffer zones along waterbodies

The application of fertilizer should be executed with careful planning, proper selection of fertilizer and target areas, and precise implementation of the application. A non-fertilized buffer zone of 20-50 meters wide, depending on terrain slope and soil type, is left along water bodies. Valuable habitats for forest biodiversity are excluded from fertilization, with a minimum 20-meter buffer zone left around their edges.

More information:
Pekka Kittilä, VP, Mill Manager, Metsä Fibre Oy, tel. +358 50 598 9951
Jarkko Parpala, Purchase Manager, Metsä Forest, tel. +358 50 307 2529

Metsä Fibre

Metsä Group’s pulp and sawmill business Metsä Fibre produces not only pulp and sawn timber but also other bioproducts such as biochemicals and bioenergy. Our products made from northern wood are an alternative to fossil materials. We promote a culture of diversity, equality and inclusion.

In 2023, our sales totalled EUR 2.5 billion, and we have approximately 1,600 employees. Metsä Group’s parent company Metsäliitto Cooperative is owned by approximately 90,000 Finnish forest owners.

Source: Metsä Group