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.