Current issue: 53(4)
The Silva Fennica issue 61 was published in honour of professor Eino Saari‘s 60th birthday. In this article A. Howard Grøn discusses the use and meaning of term progressive forestry, introduced by professor Eino Saari, and its transformation to progressive yield in forest policy.
Forest policy can be traced several hundred years back in Sweden. One of the early restrictions was related to iron industry, which was dependent on supply of charcoal. This led in the 17th century to the regulation of the industry in order to fit its capacity to the sustained yield of the forests. Also the early sawmill industry was kept under supervision in the mining districts in order not to compete with the iron industry of the forests resources.
In 1903 the fears of shortage of wood, caused by a few decades of unrestricted use of forests and the rise of pulp and paper industries, resulted in the first forest law (enacted in 1905). The leading principle of the law was that the owner of the forest had to secure reforestation after felling. When previously the regulation had limited the fellings within the sustainable yield of the forests, the new law aimed at promoting the productive capacity of the forests. New felling methods were developed and the new practices were spread to the forest owners with help of education, propaganda and giving advice. One important factor in the success of the forest law was founding of County forestry boards, which are the main agencies to materialize the constructive ideas of the new forest policy.
The First National Forest Survey was conducted in 1923-29, followed by the second in 1938, and third in 1954. A new forest law came into force in 1923, which prohibited the cutting of immature forests in other ways than by thinning. In 1948, new amendments of the law were introduced, which, for instance allowed the forest owner to put part of the income derived from the timber sales into a bank account to be later used in reforestation.
The Silva Fennica issue 61 was published in honour of professor Eino Saari‘s 60th birthday.
Four governmental efforts are underway to reach consensus on indicators of sustainable forestry. Through the Helsinki process, European countries have developed and reached a pan-European, binding consensus, The Montreal process includes non-European Temperate and boreal forest countries, the International Tropical Timber Organization (lTTO) have developed guidelines for the sustainable management of natural tropical forests, and the countries around the Amazon basis have developed a joint initiative for creating guidelines of sustainable forest management of the Amazonian tropical rain forests. It is estimated that as many as 15–20 distinct processes are under way in the private sector by non-profit organizations and for-profit companies, some domestic and other international in scope. Perhaps the most wide-ranging definition work of non-governmental organizations is the undertake by the Forest Stewardship Council, FSC. The paper discusses the Helsinki and Montreal processes and the tasks for research.
A nation that wishes to enhance its social and economic well-being through more intensive utilization of its forest resources must develop a rather comprehensive policy statement to ensure that the expanded exploitation does not lead to the destruction of these resources. The policy must specify the goals to be achieved, provide general direction on how these goals can be achieved, and develop a system of checks-and-balances to ensure achievement of the long-term objectives. The policy must consider resource protection, the economic needs at the various levels of government, the social impacts of utilization on ways of life in all areas of the nation, and the infrastructure needed in the short and long terms.
The area of world forests is gradually declining because of various human activities, such as shifting cultivation, uncontrolled logging and industrial pollution. Continuation of the trends would have detrimental ecological, economic and social effects on global scale. The diversity of the problem is wide. The situation in the tropical developing countries differs from that in the industrialized world. With the present rates of population growth and unchanged forest policies, the fuelwood shortage in developing countries is rapidly aggravating. The need for more agricultural land tends to prejudice conscious efforts to increase wood production.
The industrialized countries are experiencing problems in introducing forest policy means to maintain sufficient timber supply. Rapidly increasing pollution problem cause a serious hazard to the existence of the whole forest ecosystem. Forestry has primarily been a national issue of relatively low priority in political decision-making, which has resulted in insufficient action to remedy the situation at national and international level.
The renewability of forest resources represents a strategic asset, the importance of which is bound to increase in the long-run potential for badly needed economic and social change in the world’s poor rural areas will be lost.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.