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State of Finland's Forests 2012 Criterion 1 Forest resources

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Typical mature mixed pine, spruce and birch forest stand in Southern Finland.

Preservation and increase of forest land (B.1)

The use of forestry land is subject to a variety of widely different and simultaneous aims, needs and wishes. There is demand for forests to be available for wood production, recreation, nature protection, tourism and landscape management. These differing aims can be reconciled through the multiple-use principle, without having to segregate forest areas by function or purpose. Other simultaneous aims include the use of forestry land for the construction of housing or traffic routes, or as peripheral areas of settlement.

The percentages of different forms of land use have changed very little. The area of forestry land has decreased slightly owing to the construction of houses and roads and clearing of fields, whereas the afforestation of former agricultural land and areas which used to be utilised for peat production has increased the area available for forestry purposes.

 

National programmes and legislation

There are no legal restrictions concerning changes in land use in Finland. Forestry land may be converted to other use, and treeless areas may be afforested.

Land use is designed and controlled in Finland through the local planning process governed by the Land Use and Building Act . Regional land use plans and local master plans may have agricultural or forestry land areas marked with attributes indicating recreational use or environmental values as necessary. The Forest Act (1997) requires that forest must remain forest even when harvested: after regeneration felling, a commercially viable stand must be created on the site within a reasonable time. The Act applies to all forests in commercial use. Compliance with the Act is monitored by the Finnish Forestry Centre. The main instrument for monitoring is the Forest Use Announcement, which must be completed prior to all fellings and contains information about the planned cuttings.

The Forest Act also contains provisions on protection zones where forests must be managed and utilised with special care to prevent the timberline from receding further south. Under the Act on the Financing of Sustainable Forestry, private forest owners are eligible for a government subsidy. The Act promotes the increase and maintenance of the forest area, because funding is granted for the afforestation of previously treeless sites and sites where natural disasters have destroyed the growing stock.

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  Updated: 12.04.2012 /MLier |  Photo: Erkki Oksanen, Metla, unless otherwise stated | Copyright Metla | Feedback