Field surveys of cultural heritage sites were implemented in multiple-use forests in commercial use in 2010–2015, to ensure the preservation of the cultural heritage. Metsähallitus made a decision to protect all of the 10,000 cultural heritage sites recorded in the field surveys. Fixed antiquities such as prehistoric cairns and tar pits from the historic period are also protected under the Antiquities Act.
Information on the sites is stored in Metsähallitus’ geographic information system. This information, which is completed on a continuous basis during standard forest management planning, is available to Metsähallitus’ Coordinator/Planners when they plan forest management measures and logging.
In most cases, cultural heritage sites do not preclude forestry measures as long as the sites are not damaged or destroyed. Management of sites may even require the removal of trees because tree roots can damage the structures of sites, for example. The Stone Age rock formation ‘Jätinkirkko’ in Linnamaa, Liminka, was one of the antiquities managed in 2016. Trees growing on top of the rock formation were removed and the area was cleared of crown layer and knot wood trees. Some of this work was done with a chainsaw to ensure that the antiquity site was not damaged by the machinery.
Metsähallitus has been recognised by experts in the cultural heritage sector for its efforts to preserve the cultural heritage of forests. The National Board of Antiquities nominated Metsähallitus’ cultural heritage field survey project for the Europa Nostra Award, Europe’s most prestigious cultural heritage award.
Photo: Pekka T. Keränen