In Finland, forests are an important part of the national economy and a major source of jobs and income. In recent decades, wood production has been the primary use of the forests in Finland. Other industries have attempted to adapt their own needs accordingly.

The number of forest-related interest groups is growing

A new kind of utilisation of forest-based biomass, growth in the popularity of nature-based tourism and recreational use, and the need to safeguard biodiversity are creating new forest-related needs and objectives in addition to wood production. The change in the forest ownership structure, such as the increasing number of city-dwelling forest owners, could steer activities towards maintaining alternative benefits of forests, such as recreational use and nature-based tourism, wild berry harvest and biodiversity in addition to wood production.

The more diverse objectives set for the use of forests will increase the number of forest-related interest groups. The need for reconciliation, inclusive decision-making and cooperation between the stakeholders will then increase.

Mustatorvisieni, sienet, monikäyttö, sienestys.
Photo: Erkki Oksanen, Luke.

Natural Resources Institute Finland as a researcher on multiple use

Research on the multiple use of forests is often understood as the reconciliation of recreational use, production of wild berries and mushrooms, and wood production. However, research on multiple use is significantly more diverse. It includes research on ecological, financial and social sustainability. It is also necessary to study the public policy instruments and assess their impact, the valuation of non-market benefits, and planning and development based on geographic information. In the multiple use research by Natural Resources Institute Finland, all these perspectives are taken into account.

Agents responsible for the management and planning of the use of the areas require research on multiple use. New forest-related uses create new research and development needs, because the impact assessment of the policy instruments requires related research and monitoring.

Picture on top of the page: Erkki Oksanen, Luke.