Highlights: Analysis of the longest-running survey in the world on public perceptions of forestry; Comparison of perceptions with realities in forestry in Finland; The role of the forests and their management is well regarded by the Finns; More protection of the forests and better performance by the wood industry is demanded.
The perception of the Finns about forests and forestry has been tracked over a period of more than 15 years. The results of this survey constitute the longest sequence of data of this type at the national level anywhere in the world. The people’s perception of reality represents a factor that influences decisions about policy. For this reason, it deserves monitoring and analysis. Forests in Finland are highly meaningful to the people, who are generally well informed and link their opinions to the facts that they are able to observe. The variability of the responses over the years of the survey is not significant. Silviculture and forest management are perceived as good by most Finns. Finns are aware that more forest grows than is harvested, and they also know that some raw material is still imported. However, they demand that more forest be protected. Finns are aware that their forest industry is not performing well at the international level. They also demand an increased wood supply for building construction. Forest harvesting is viewed as a source of employment and welfare.