Success and challenges of voluntary forest conservation in Finland
Syrjänen, K., Aapala, K., Anttila, S., Koskela, T. and Kuusela, S. (2018). Success and challenges of voluntary forest conservation in Finland. 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology. doi: 10.17011/conference/eccb2018/107741
© the Authors, 2018
The requirement for the development of voluntary conservation arose during the Natura 2000 process as private landowners were dissatisfied with traditional forest protection measures. In southern Finland most forests are privately owned and commercially used, thus the protected area (PA) network has remained scattered and disconnected. The most important investment to voluntary conservation in Finland is the Forest Biodiversity Program for Southern Finland 2008-2025 (METSO). The program aims to increase biodiversity in commercial forests and improve the PA network. METSO is coordinated by the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and implemented by local authorities. The objective for METSO is to have 96 000 hectares established as permanent reserves by 2025. In addition, the objective is to safeguard biodiversity on 82 000 hectares area of forest habitats in commercially managed forests with fixed-term contracts and nature management projects. The present proportion of statutorily protected forest land is 3,6 % in Southern Finland. After reaching objectives of METSO in 2025 the proportion will be around 4 - 4,4 % in this area. In METSO land owners can voluntarily offer their forests to permanent or fixed-term conservation and to receive full compensation for that. Voluntary approach has increased acceptability of conservation especially among land owners and has been warmly welcomed by NGOs, forest companies, authorities, politicians and the general public. The focus is on private land but also municipal and state-owned lands are involved. The site selection criteria define which habitats are accepted in conservation. These include mainly boreal forests with natural characteristics. The program includes research and development projects that outline the ecological and socio-economic impacts of the program and support the implementation. Ecological inventories show that the sites that have been protected in METSO generally have high ecological values (Siitonen et al. 2012). A major challenge for METSO is how to maintain the financing over reign of several governments. Human resources and the funding for implementation of METSO have decreased over the years. Current international biodiversity targets should be taken into account through re-evaluation of the goals of the program. Small size of protected sites and poor connectivity of the PA network are main ecological weaknesses. With adequate resources, cooperation and transparent planning, voluntary conservation could provide tools to reach more ambitious targets to maintain and enhance forest biodiversity. Siitonen, J., Penttilä, R. & Ihalainen, A. 2012. METSO-ohjelman uusien pysyvien ja määräaikaisten suojelualueiden ekologinen laatu Uudenmaan alueella. Metsätieteen aikakauskirja 4/2012: 259-283. ...
PublisherOpen Science Centre, University of Jyväskylä
ConferenceECCB2018: 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology. 12th - 15th of June 2018, Jyväskylä, Finland
MetadataShow full item record
- ECCB 2018 
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