Price of Birch Firewood Doubles in Finland Amid Energy Crunch

Due to explosive demand since late summer, the price of firewood has doubled across Finland, prompting massive delays in deliveries and even shutdowns of online stores unable to keep up with demand.

Birch has one of the highest heat contents and ranks among both Finland's most common tree species and most popular types of firewood coveted by private homes and industry alike.

“The energy crisis came as a bit of a surprise to everyone. The price of dry birch wood has doubled, and there is also pressure to increase prices further this winter”, Pentti Karttunen, CEO of Vantaa-based Maatukku, one of Finland's largest firewood retailers, said, citing a massive backlog, with new orders for wood coming by the minute.

Most wood for Finland's industrial needs was imported from Russia, but the supplies stalled due to sanctions against Russian energy intended as “punishment” for Moscow's special operation in Ukraine. According to Finland's Natural Resources Institute (Luke), in 2021, 74 percent of the raw wood imported to the Nordic country came from Russia, the majority of imports being just firewood. Due to its eager support of the anti-Russian sanctions, Helsinki therefore shot itself in the foot, prompting buyers to hunt replacement wood on the already strained domestic market.

Fully covering the demand with domestic birch is not easy, as it tends to grow in mixed forests alongside other three species. Meanwhile, local producers' wholesale prices have been pushed up by higher costs for fuel, electricity and other staples.

Marjaana Suominen, the owner of Espoo-based Klapila, yet another major firewood dealer, described the situation as “the seller's market”, citing inquiries not only from across Finland, but from other Nordic countries as well.

She stressed that owners of houses with electric heating are particularly avidly preparing for the coming winter by hoarding firewood, in a bid to reduce their electricity bills, despite experts' warnings of air pollution and unhealthy effects of wood burning.

You can read this article as it originally appears at Sputnik here.

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