Extensive partnerships and participatory cooperation
Sustainable use of state-owned land and water areas requires partnerships and cooperation. Metsähallitus has a broad range of partners and stakeholders and the cooperation with them takes many different forms, such as trading, guidance, information exchange and interaction.
Stakeholder and partnership chart
Reconciling aims with expectations
A close relationship with the forest is part of the Finnish national tradition. There is a great deal of debate on forests, and natural resources in general, as well as on their use. The use of forests also gives rise to conflicts because there is a wide range of aims and expectations concerning state-owned land and water areas.
The natural resource plans are always prepared in cooperation with local stakeholders.
The importance of reconciling these aims and expectations is a frequent topic in the feedback received by Metsähallitus from its stakeholders. Natural resource planning is a key tool in the reconciliation of the aims and expectations concerning state-owned land and the process always involves a cooperation group in which a wide range of local stakeholders are represented. In the planning process, the parties examine the use and management of natural resources on a comprehensive basis. The process results in a five-year natural resource plan, which guides Metsähallitus in its work. The natural resource plan for Southern Finland was presented in 2017 and the year also saw the launch of the preparation of the natural resource plan for Central and North Ostrobothnia in cooperation with regional stakeholders.
Metsähallitus is seen as a reliable and useful partner
Metsähallitus gauges stakeholders’ views on its work and reputation every year. The survey is directed at the key Metsähallitus stakeholders: customers, administrative actors, political decision-makers, forest sector federations and organisations, non-governmental organisations, the media as well as educational, research and tourist sector actors.
In the 2017 stakeholder survey, there was more focus on measuring responsibility and operational development than in the previous years. According to the survey, Metsähallitus is considered a reliable partner and the view is that cooperation with it has produced results. However, there is room for improvement in flexibility, change orientation and the clarity of Metsähallitus’ tasks.
In the respondents’ view, the most important task of Metsähallitus is, as in the previous years, to manage state-owned natural resources and to reconcile this role with the needs arising from commercial operations, services and conservation.
Cooperation and interaction as well as communicating on operations and responsibility were seen as the key development priorities in the operations and responsibility work of Metsähallitus.
Metsähallitus enjoyed a fairly good reputation in 2017 but the trend has been slightly declining.
Forest sector federations and organisations gave the highest marks. The strongest criticism came from non-governmental organisations and tourist sector actors.
Concern over forest management and fishing arrangements
There was a particularly lively debate on forest management methods at Lammasjärvi in Kuhmo, Paljakka in Puolanka and on the islands of Lake Oulujärvi in 2017. Metsähallitus worked to find solutions to the disputes in cooperation with its stakeholders. Discussions were held with Greenpeace and other parties on the islands of Lake Oulujärvi in the autumn and a stakeholder meeting took place in Puolanka in early 2018.
The new Fishing Act also had an impact on the fishing opportunities of local residents in Northern Lapland and it increased the workload of Metsähallitus in the region.
No fellings have taken place in the Sámi Homeland if a reindeer herding cooperative has expressed its opposition to them and no solution to the dispute has been found in the negotiations between the parties. Some of the reindeer herding cooperatives in the Inari area have demanded that before any fellings take place in state-owned forests the cultural impacts of the logging operations must be extensively assessed. For this reason, no fellings have been carried out in the areas of these reindeer herding cooperatives. Negotiations on the coexistence of forest management and reindeer husbandry are continuing with reindeer herding cooperatives and the Sámi Parliament.
Photo: Jussi Riikonen