Forestry and rural development.
The development of a society often involves deep-going changes in its economic and social structure. According to the theory of cumulative growth, the economic changes attached to industrialization and modernisation of a society are characterized by the regional differentiation of economic activities. Expansive growth centres, areas with spreading effects, and back-wash areas will develop due to the dynamic forces of cumulative development.
The impact of industrialization and modernization on society as a whole usually manifests itself in an achievement of many of the welfare objectives considered desirable. There are, however, differences between the industries or other economic activities in respect to their effect on the economic or social life of a society or a region. The special feature of forestry and forest industry is that they are more concerned with rural districts than most other economic pursuits. The differentiation effect of forestry and forest industries is not as pronounced as that of certain other industries. Especially the back-wash effects remain rather weak.
In traditional, non-industrialized society the establishment of forestry activities may have an important role in the beginning of economic and social development which is rational from the point of view of the local communities as well as of the society as a whole. However, forestry may also have influences which one can see as socially undesirable. As far as traditional rural societies are concerned, one basic problem is that the establishment of forestry activities may advance the disintegration of ancient social institutions and structures. On the other hand, in a modern, industrialized society one primary function of forestry seems to be to maintain and strengthen the rural social structures and to equalize the regional differences caused by cumulative development. However, the role of forestry in rural development is likely to decrease when the industrialization and modernization progresses, for instance, because the increasing urban population will use forests for purposes other than forestry, such as recreation and nature conservation.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.
Published in 1979