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Natural Resource Planning Is a Team Game

In 2016, Metsähallitus launched the preparation of a natural resource plan for Southern Finland. The area of the plan covers 16 regions, of which approximately one million hectares of land and two million hectares of water are state-owned and managed by Metsähallitus.

Planning is done in collaboration with three cooperation groups. The cooperation groups for Eastern Finland, Western Finland and the Sea and Coastal area comprise almost 60 representatives of major regional organisations, including regional councils, municipalities, educational institutions and businesses, and representatives of organisations ranging from professional fishermen to nature conservation associations.

Expectations expressed with respect to Metsähallitus in cooperation groups’ workshops include various types of economic benefits, as well as activities promoting employment, hiking, fishing and hunting. The health effects of forests were strongly emphasised.

– The planning involves the charting and coordination of the various objectives so as to ensure the ecological, social and economic sustainability of the areas, says Regional Director Markku Vainio of Metsähallitus, Chairman of the natural resource project steering group.

Mikko Hautasaari, director of the tourism and hospitality business of the Northern Karelia Cooperative Society (PKO), views the cooperation as highly significant:

– Metsähallitus is an important partner for us in many ways, particularly on account of our hotel business in Koli. The planning process is a key tool enabling us to anticipate the future and find new operating models from the perspective of regional vitality, for example.

– At present, Metsähallitus is a very interesting organisation and a key stakeholder for a wide range of actors. The planning process is an excellent arena for holding dialogue and having an impact,” says Mari Walls, President and CEO of Natural Resources Institute Finland, Chairman of the Sea and Coastal Area Cooperation Group.

Due for completion in May, the plan will steer the use of state-owned land and water areas in southern Finland in 2017-2022.

Photo: Jari Salonen