Current issue: 54(2)
The Law on Forest Management Associations was passed in 1950. According to the law, forest owners have to pay a forestry fee, which is used to finance local forest management associatons. The effect of the law on Finnish private forestry is considered to be significant.
The number of consulting forest officers has increased by 95% and the labour input by 107% since the law came into effect. Thus, the guidance available for forest owners has increased markedly. 85% of timber cut from private forests are marked by professional foresters, while the share was earlier less than 30%. The amount of forest management work, such as clearing of felling sites, sowing and care of plantations, has also increased.
On the other hand, experience has pointed out a need for revising some points of the law. To this aim, the Government of Finland appointed a committee to outline the ammendments. The present article contains the report of the committee.
The committee suggests that the forestry fee, that according to the present law is 2-6% of the net yield computed for communal income tax, will be changed to 2-5%. Further, forest holding in which the annual increment is less than 20 cu.m. are at the moment exempt from the fee. It is suggested that holdings with an annual increment of less than 30 cu.m. pay half a fee. In addition, the committee suggests some clarifying provisions to be adopted.
The article includes a summary in English.
The government of Finland appointed a commission to study how the work of forest owners’ associations could be promoted. In 1936 there was 232 forest owners’ associations in Finland. They had 20,632 members, who owned 1,841,304 hectares of forests. The owners of large forest holdings were overpresented among the members. The associations together with forestry boards were important actors in increasing the productivity of the private forests.
The commission concluded that rational forest management should be extended to all private forests, which could be best achieved through the forest owners’ associations. It suggested that the membership should remain voluntary, and that the financing of the associations would be arranged by self-taxation of the forest owners. The so called forest management tax should be devoted to the local forest owners’ associations. Also the state should continue to support the associations. Both state and the smallest forest holdings would be released from the forest management tax. The companies, estates and other large forest owners that employ their own forest management staff would pay a quarter of the tax. The tax could be based on the area of the forest, income of the timber sold or a combination of these. The commission suggested a forest management law, which would deal with the forest management tax and the forest owners’ associations.
The PDF includes a summary in Swedish and English.