The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry directs and develops forest policy and legislation in Finland and participates in EU decision-making through the Government. Metsähallitus (State Forests), the Natural Resources Institute and Suomen metsäkeskus (the Finnish Forest Centre) operate under the guidance of the Ministry.
Metsähallitus (State Forests)
Metsähallitus is a state-owned enterprise that runs business activities while also fulfilling many public administration duties. Metsähallitus administers more than 12 million hectares of state-owned land and water areas. It has the responsibility of managing and using these areas in a way that benefits Finnish society to the greatest extent possible. Reconciliation of ecological, financial, social and cultural sustainability lies at the core of Metsähallitus’ duties.
One of the main principles of Metsähallitus is to work in co-operation with various organisations in order to realise their shared goals. Various interactive methods are utilised to give and to receive information especially when planning the management and use of state-owned land.
Business operations of Metsähallitus comprise its subsidiaries and the Metsähallitus Property Development business unit. For instance Parks and Wildlife Finland unit provides the public administration services of Metsähallitus, including the management of statutory protected areas and other areas reserved for conservation, protection and care of endangered species, management of wilderness areas, recreational areas and other special areas, free-of-charge hiking services for the public and game, fisheries and off-road traffic permits.
The Finnish Parliament annually approves the main service goals and other operational objectives of Metsähallitus. At the same time, Parliament decides to what extent proceeds from land sales or land and water area ownership of Metsähallitus will be used in the acquisition of new conservation areas. On the basis of the objectives set by the Parliament, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry decides on the annual targets of Metsähallitus.
Social responsibilities, as well as their goals and financing, are also decided annually, together with the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. These tasks include, for example, management of nature conservation and hiking areas, promoting conservation on state-owned lands and waters, control of hunting and fishing rights and general promotion of the recreational use of state-owned lands.
Suomen metsäkeskus (the Finnish Forest Centre)
Suomen metsäkeskus – The Finnish Forest Centre is a state-funded organisation covering the whole country. Its main tasks include promoting forestry and related livelihoods, advising landowners on how to care for and benefit from their forests and the ecosystems therein, collecting and sharing data related to Finland's forests and enforcing forestry legislation. Their Metsään.fi eServices provides forest owners with the latest information on their forest properties.
The Finnish Forest Centre operates under the guidance of Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luonnonvarakeskus)
The Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) is a multidisciplinary research and development organisation, which works to advance the bioeconomy and sustainable use of natural resources and food production. It supports sustainable development through research on forestry, agriculture, food, game, and fisheries.
Luke has both research activities and statutory official duties. In addition to over 500 ongoing R&D projects, Luke monitors natural resources, certifies plant production, inspects control agents, stores genetic resources, produces data on greenhouse gases, supports natural resource policies and produces Finland’s official food and natural resources statistics.
The Natural Resources Institute Finland operates under the guidance of Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
Picture above: Organization chart of the forest governance in Finland.