Finnish Forest Research Institute  Metla

Media release 16.02.2005

Metso Forest Biodiversity Programme for Southern Finland

Voluntary agreements – a promising supplemental policy measure in forest conservation

Conservation measures based on incentive-based voluntary agreements are widely supported both by citizens and non-industrial private forest owners. This was indicated by the results of a national study conducted by the Finnish Forest Research Institute. The aim of the study was to clarify the attitudes of ordinary citizens and private forest owners towards safeguarding forest biodiversity and the conservation means to be applied.

Questionnaires were sent out before the METSO Forest Biodiversity Programme for Southern Finland was initiated. One aim of the programme is to reduce conflicts relating to forest conservation. To reach this goal, the METSO programme emphasizes measures that are based on forest owners’ own initiatives. One of these is an agreement of nature value trading by which the forest owner sets aside forestland with biodiversity values for a fixed period in exchange for financial payment.

The results of the study support the recommendations made in the METSO programme to supplement the forest conservation policies.

Almost two thirds of Finns felt that conservation should be developed primarily through voluntary measures, based on agreements and information. Three quarters of Finns felt that the minimum compensation for the landowner should be full remuneration for lost sales of timber.

Forest owners showed little support for an increase in traditional, land acquisition-based conservation of privately owned forests. However, more flexible solutions than land acquisition were clearly more acceptable for safeguarding biodiversity. More than one third of forest owners reported that they had taken voluntary action to protect nature values in their own forests.

The acceptability of conservation contracts among forest owners depended on the terms of the contract, for example, the initiator, the duration of the contract, restrictions on forest use, and the amount of compensation. Ownership and sovereignty were considered particularly important.

Horne, P., Koskela, T. & Ovaskainen, V. (eds.) 2004. Safeguarding forest biodiversity in Finland –Citizens’ and non-industrial private forest owners’ views. Metsäntutkimuslaitoksen tiedonantoja 933 (Research reports of the Finnish Forest Research Institute: No. 933) 110 p. ISBN 951-40-1943-1, ISSN 0358-4283. Ei tätä voi kääntää näin, julkaisu on suomenkielinen! Otsikon voi kääntää mutta alkuperäinen säilytettävä. Voi mainita englanninkielisen abstraktin.

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