Current issue: 55(4)
Under compilation: 55(5)
The article is a review on the lands that were donated to the Russian aristocracy in Eastern and Southeastern Finland in 1700s. The farmers in the area used to be tenants of state lands or independent land owners. The insufficient and diverse stipulation of the ownership of the lands in the donation documents caused later disputes between the landlords and the farmers. One of the issues was who had right to use the forests. For the farmers this meant significant reductions in their right to harvest timber and household wood, or practice shifting cultivation. There were attempts to improve the situation of the tenants, but the final solution came in the end of 1800s, when the parliament began to promote farmers’ right to purchase the lands. In the land reform, the state raised a loan to purchase the donated lands, and give them to the farmers, who would then pay back their share of the loan. Part of the forests remained state lands in the reform. Several jointly owned forests were also established using the state forests to give access to household wood for farms that had little own forests. The private forests on donated lands had larger standing crop than the private forests in general. Together with increasing demand of wood for the developing manufacturing industry, this gave possibility for abusive practices in timber trade. The timber prices were low, and farmers exchanged felling rights to loan.
The article is based on studies made in the Karelian isthmus in 1936-1938 before the World War II broke in 1939. Further studies were not possible after the war when the area was handed over to Soviet Union. Economic data of agriculture and forestry of the farms had mostly been regarded separately in the early economic studies of small farms in Finland. This survey aimed at studying influence of forestry in the economy of a small farm. 141 farms were included in a more detailed survey.
Forestry accounted for in average 38% of total income of the farms in 1937-1938. The farms had sold wood often, the amounts being often small. Good transport connections in the area facilitated the sales. Over 70% were sales at delivered price, and about half of the wood was small-sized timber. According to the results of the survey, forestry was important for the small farms in Karelian isthmus. The farmers could not have made a living without the forests. Hoveter, the farms had had to overuse the forest resources. The wood resources decreased by 18-22% in 1922-1938. They were, however, at the same level as in average in Finland in 1938.
The article includes an abstract in German.