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State of Finland's Forests 2012: Overall policy and instruments

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Forest issues such as climate change and trade of wood are nowadays more global and need international discussions and commitments.

National Forest Programmes and other forest related programmes

Forest programmes have played an important role in Finland for more than 50 years both as an instrument of forest policy and in the provision of funding for forestry. The first actual forest programme was prepared in 1961, known by the initials of its authors as HKNL (Heikurainen-Kuusela-Linnamies-Nyyssönen). It was followed by Teho programmes (1962 and 1964), the Mera programmes (1964, 1966, 1969), the Forest 2000 programme (1985) and the New Environmental Programme for Forestry in Finland (1994). Subsequently, National Forest Programmes have been drawn up.

The most recent forest programme is the National Forest Programme (NFP) 2015, which has been adopted by the Government. Because of rapidly progressing changes in the operating environment, NFP 2015 was revised and adopted for implementation by a Government Decision in December 2010. The purpose of NFP 2015 is to support the development of the forest sector into a pioneer in the bioeconomy field and to create an operating environment where livelihoods based on forests and wood are competitive and profitable yet where biological diversity and other environmental benefits are taken into account.

The new programme differs from its predecessors specifically in that it brings forest products and services considered to offer the greatest potential for success to the forest sector onto a par with the ensuring of sustainable forest management, i.e. ensuring basic production of forest resources. The National Forest Programme was prepared in extensively broad-based cooperation with interest groups and drawing on the operating strategies of those interest groups. The work was supported by the Forest Foresight project funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Apart from the National Forest Programme, the Forest Biodiversity Programme for Southern Finland 2008–2016 (METSO) is also ongoing. The aim of the METSO programme is to consolidate the favourable trend in forest biodiversity by improving the maintenance of habitats and structural features of forests vital to the survival of threatened species. New areas and networks of areas that support forest biodiversity are being created, and the biodiversity of existing conservation areas is being improved. The principles of new protection methods are voluntary participation by forest owners, preservation of ownership and full compensation of economic losses. The current programme was preceded by a METSO pilot phase (2002–2007), the positive experiences from which motivated a continuation of the programme by a Government Decision in 2008.

Regional Forest Programmes are development plans for the forest sector in the regional units of the Finnish Forestry Centre. These are revised regularly in accordance with the policies outlined in the National Forest Programme. A Regional Forest Programme sets out the needs and aims for forest growth, management and use; forest-based business operations; and multiple use and protection of forests. It also sets out the measures and funding to attain the goals. They provide an overall view of the status and development needs of forests and forest management in the domain of each regional unit of the Finnish Forestry Centre. The programmes are prepared and reviewed by the Finnish Forestry Centre in cooperation with the forest owners and other interest groups in the region. These programmes were most recently revised in 2011.

The fixed-term Strategic Programme for the Forest Sector (MSO, first period 2009–2011, second period 2011–2015) set up by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy aims to launch and implement projects and initiatives to support strategic goals in the forest sector and to improve the profitability and competitiveness of the entire value chain of the forest and wood sector. The second main objective is to monitor and predict changes in the sector, while coordinating proactive measures to secure operations. The third is to coordinate measures extending across various administrative and other sectors.The programme includes projects such as the WoodFinland network project geared towards boosting the wood product industry and wood construction. Some of the goals of these projects match and complement those in the National Forest Programme 2015.

The following is a selective list of other national programmes and strategies related to forests and directly impacting forestry:

  • Finland’s National Strategy for Sustainable Development (2006)
  • National strategy and action plan for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in Finland (2006– 2016)
  • National Climate and Energy Strategy (2008) and the related Foresight Report on Long-term Climate and Energy Policy (2009) and ‘renewable energy obligation package’ (2010)
  • Finland’s National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change (2005, to be revised 2011–2013)
  • Natural Resource Strategy (2009), Sitra
  • National Strategy on Invasive Alien Species (2011)
  • National strategy for sustainable and responsible use and protection of mires and peatland (2011)

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  Updated: 21.03.2012 /MLier |  Photo: Erkki Oksanen, Metla, unless otherwise stated | Copyright Metla | Feedback