Sunday, December 4, 2011

How far away is a one-hour forest?

Today we had rain and occasional strong wind, but when I went for a walk, there was none of that, although dark clouds seemed to be circling all around.

I have been reading a book about forestry in Finland, especially the practice of clear-cutting large areas of forest at one go. (The book is in Finnish, Metsänhoidollisia toimenpiteitä, and it really provokes the reader into thinking. I wrote a review, in Finnish.)

The book suggests that we should calculate the size of forests in minutes instead of hectares or square kilometers. By this the authors mean how many minutes does it take to walk across the forest? Is it a five-minute forest? Or ten minutes? Half an hour? Or maybe even a one-hour forest?

Also, the forest has to be a real forest, not something planted in a clear-cutting a few years before. In a real forest you feel the age of the forest. There is not much that is comparable to the beauty of a 150 year old ancient forest. When you are there, you feel it, and it is something that makes you breathe deep.

I started to think about it: what is the size of the forest nearby. Maybe ten minutes, maybe 15. And it isn't a real forest in the sense of having existed for a long time.

About 50 years ago Finland had a lot of ancient forests, but since then most of them have been cut down, in the interests of the forest industry. But maybe some day these forests may return?


Christophe said...

Hi Juha,
Totally different matter: my eye was caught this morning by one headline in the "news in english" section on yle website, namely "Helsinki 20 degrees warmer than last December". Wow! Of course, this is the combination of exceptional cold weather last year and exceptional warm weather this year.

Anyway, the point in my comment here is that, beyond the pictures and the topics in the posts, your blog is actually a very good time machine for those living in Helsinki area. And I actually quite often come to your blog when I wonder how it was at the same time one year ago. Of course I can look at my own pictures as well, but since you take daily shots, your time machine is much more accurate than mine!

Keep up the good posts!


Juha Haataja said...

@Christophe: Sometimes I do the same, check what it was like the year before. And years are not the same, at least this one and the previous one.