Metsähallitus has a wide range of customers and stakeholders, with forms of cooperation ranging from trading to guidance, information exchange and interaction. Its operations also accommodate the land use requirements of research, education, the Defence Forces and the Border Guard.
In forestry, the biggest customers are Finnish forest industry companies producing pulp, paper and sawn timber. Metsähallitus supplies timber to more than a hundred destinations.
Metsähallitus’ largest private customer segment comprises fishermen, hunters and hikers. In 2016, more than 138,000 fishing and hunting licences were sold and 5.7 million visits made to national parks and other protected areas and hiking destinations. Many travel companies also operate on state-owned lands and waters, using Metsähallitus’ structures or areas. Metsähallitus engages in long-term cooperation with hundreds of companies across Finland.
A multitude of wishes and expectations relate to the use of state-owned land and water areas. Planning strives to coordinate these without exceeding the limits of sustainable use. A key tool in this is natural resource planning, launched in southern Finland in 2016, which steers the use of state-owned land and water areas.
One of the objectives of the natural resource for Kainuu, completed in 2015, was to enhance interaction with stakeholders. The cooperation group, established by Metsähallitus in Suomussalmi in November 2016 to discuss topical issues, consists of local partners in the fields of business and administration, as well as representatives of hobby groups. In the first meeting in November, discussion topics included Hossa National Park and the handling of forests in the area. A similar group will also be established in Kuhmo.
The purpose of the voluntary Akwé: Kon Guidelines is to secure the participation of Sámi parties in a variety of projects and plans, such as the preparation of use and management plans for protected areas, and decisions taken on them. The Guidelines help Metsähallitus to perform its statutory social obligations to ensure the preservation of the Sámi culture.
The Akwé: Kon Guidelines, adopted in 2004, are based on the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, Article 8 (j), concerning respect for the knowledge and practices of indigenous communities. In Finland, the Guidelines are intended for the assessment of the cultural, environmental and social impacts of projects and plans in the Sámi Homeland, if the projects are likely to affect the culture, livelihoods and cultural heritage of the Sámi.
The Akwé: Kon Guidelines were first introduced to Metsähallitus in the management plan for the Hammastunturi wilderness area, and subsequently in the management plans of the Kevo Strict Nature Reserve and Malla Strict Nature Reserve. The management plan for the Vätsäri wilderness area, in which the Guidelines have been applied, is due for completion in 2017. The Akwé: Kon process was also used in the planning of forestry measures in the Muddusjärvi reindeer herding cooperative’s area in 2016. Metsähallitus and the Sámi Parliament began the process of reforming the Guidelines in 2017.
Metsähallitus coordinates several nature conservation and ecological management projects, or is involved such projects as a partner. The inland water conservation project FRESHABIT LIFE IP was launched at the beginning of 2016. Together with 30 partners, Metsähallitus enhances the condition of inland waters and improves biodiversity through concrete restoration measures. The project benefits not only inland water ecology but also local entrepreneurs, visitors using the water bodies for recreational purposes, and future generations who get to enjoy cleaner inland waters.
Making a tangible contribution to activities that benefit the natural environment appeals to many people. Metsähallitus offers a wide range of voluntary work opportunities for everyone. In 2016, a total of 3,788 volunteers engaged in voluntary work in protected area management and in the best interests of endangered species or sustainable game populations and fish stocks. The number of volunteers increased from the previous year. The vast majority of volunteer activities were based on cooperation with associations and organisations.
Metsähallitus has joined forces with the Criminal Sanctions Agency to employ prisoners from open penal institutions to help in the management of protected areas. In 2016, the input of prisoners to various maintenance and restoration projects in protected areas amounted to 60 person-years.
› Long-term Efforts to Promote the Sámi Language and Culture
› Natural Resource Planning Is a Team Game
› Voluntary Work Safeguarded the Nesting of the Saimaa Ringed Seal
› Towards a Future Without Crime
Metsähallitus systematically promotes well-being in the workplace and occupational health and safety in a number of ways. Fair and impartial treatment of all employees, and the continuous learning and development of the working community are shared responsibilities, and everyone is entitled to good management and transparent feedback.
Metsähallitus employs around 1,500 professionals. nn per cent of them work on a fixed-term basis. Men account for nn% of employees and women for nn%. The average age of personnel is nn years. The majority of Metsähallitus’ personnel, approximately nn people, work in offices around the country. Approximately nn people work in Metsähallitus’ headquarters in Tikkurila, Vantaa. The offices in Rovaniemi, Oulu, Ivalo, Jyväskylä and Kuopio have the next highest headcount.
At the end of 2016, cooperation negotiations were conducted in Forestry Ltd for loggers. The purpose of the negotiations was to find ways to improve the productivity and profitability of logging work, particularly during the winter season, when working conditions are most challenging and costs are at their highest.
In cooperation with Promenade Research Ltd, a HR4 Group Ltd company, Metsähallitus conducted a new type of employee survey in order to obtain more comprehensive information on the success of change management, employee well-being linked to performance, and staff working capacity. The response rate was 66, which is slightly higher than in the previous year.
Positive factors included the equal treatment of men and women, commendable occupational safety activities and the high rating given for the work of immediate supervisors. The staff's enthusiasm and high energy affect the performance of the organisation as a whole, and this aspect of working capacity was examined by means of an emotional indicator. On a scale of 1 to 5, Metsähallitus’ working capacity was rated at 3.86, which is good. The various components of this aspect include the clarity of responsibilities, the experience of being appreciated within the work community, opportunities to influence one’s own work and learning new things. Factors threatening occupational well-being included greater hurry and the feeling that working hours are inadequate for the tasks in hand.
Metsähallitus’ and Terveystalo's occupational health care contract was extended for the period 2017-2019. Last year, all subsidiaries were included in the occupational health care contract, ensuring uniform services for all staff.
In order to develop managerial work, a supervisor assessment survey, tailor-made for Metsähallitus in collaboration with Arc Ltd, was adopted. The initial results will be available in early 2017.
Induction training was arranged for new Metsähallitus employees. Supervisor training in employment relationship and occupational health and safety issues was tailored for managers in Parks & Wildlife Finland. Occupational health and safety training sessions continued. The emphasis was still on anticipatory driving courses and safety training card courses. Indoor air quality issues have been on the agenda as well, requiring broad-based cooperation with various stakeholders. Metsähallitus’ operating model to ensure a good indoor air environment was updated.
Photo: Kari Leo