Cultural and multiple use of forests
Forests are an important environment for recreation in Finland,
especially as the population increasingly moves into population
centres or towns. The most common forms of recreation
in forests are hiking, camping, picking berries and mushrooms,
orienteering and cross-country skiing. Forests also provide a
setting for relaxation, meditation and communing with nature.
Forest owners have developed an interest in a new range of
forest ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration potential,
landscape values and safeguarding the peace of the natural
Access to and recreational use of forests is free for all in Finland.
‘Everyman’s Rights’ (rights of public access) guarantees everyone
access to land owned by others to travel on foot, skis, bicycle
or horseback, provided that they do not cause any damage.
Other activities freely permitted on other people’s land are temporary
camping as well as picking wild, non-protected flowers,
berries and mushrooms. The use of motor vehicles and making
fire in forests, however, always require permission from the landowner.
Everyman’s Rights may not be exercised in such a way as
to cause any disturbance or damage to the landowner.
|Finns have a close relationship to nature. Nearly half a million Finns own leisure homes (10% of the population) with sauna, most of them
in a forest and alongside waterways.
The most important non-wood products which have economic
value are game, berries, mushrooms and lichen. Game is of the
greatest value in economic terms, particularly elk. Collecting
fresh products of the forest is also an opportunity for hiking and
enjoying nature. The volume of nature tourism has increased in
recent years and is of great economic significance particularly
in Lapland. On the national scale, however, the economic value
of non-wood products and services is small compared to the income
from the sale of wood products. Nevertheless, income from
non-wood products and recreational services in forests may be
substantial on a local scale and for individuals.