Organic wild collection in forests

Did you know that almost all forests in Finland could be certified as organic wild collection areas? This can be done without any changes in current forest management. The largest organic collection area, approximately 12.2 million hectares, is already situated in Finland. This area is about one third of all organic collection areas in the world and about 40% of Finland’s land area. The certified organic wild collection area is situated mainly in northern Finland. This area could be doubled by extending the certified area also into southern Finland.

The Organic wild collection project in forests will provide information about certification organic wild collection areas in forests and its significance for non-timber forest production, natural product processing and tourism. This project is taking place in the South Savo region and is conducted by the University of Helsinki Ruralia Institute in cooperation with The Finnish Forest Centre. The project began on 4 August and will continue until 31 December 2017.

The target groups of the project are forest owners, producers of natural products and entrepreneurs of nature, tourism and welfare who may have the opportunity to gain from an organic certification in the South Savo region.

The project will organise informational meetings and discussions regarding organic certification of wild collection areas. The project will also determine the relevance of certification for non-wood production and processing and tourism. The project will identify the best possible operational model to maintain organic wild collection areas and to improve the image of South Savo as an organic region.

As a result of the project, the South Savo region will obtain permanent organic wild collection areas and the current organic areas will be increased. If you are interested in organic wild collection areas, don’t hesitate to ask for more information!

Organic certification demonstrates raw material purity and authenticity. Organic certification is controlled.

The forest owner can still manage his or her forests the same way.

Organic control is performed every year. If forbidden products have been used, the area will be removed from the organic collection area for a certain time.

Control of Heterobasidion root rot by urea, chemical hay rejection and fertilisers not allowed in organic production are forbidden.

Biological control of root rot by Phlebiopsis gigantea and fertilisation with accepted fertilisers are allowed.

Organic production regulations provide instructions on sustainable collection practices.  Collection does not damage the natural stability of the environment or the permanence of the species in the collecting area.

Use of forbidden inputs is extremely low in Finland.

Certification can be initiated by contacting the local Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre) and by completing the necessary application forms.

After organic control, the forests can be officially deemed as an organic wild collection area. If forbidden inputs have not been used in the forests, the three-year transition period can be exempted.

Certification can be performed by the forest owner, by a group of forest owners or by an external certifier.

The whole municipality or province can be certified at the same time with the external certifier's help, which translates to costs savings.

Organic farms can certify their forests in connection with plant production control
without a separate payment.

Forests can be certified as an organic wild collection area even if the whole farm has not obtained organic certification.

A forest section can be certified separately as an organic wild collection area.