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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2017

Finnish forest policy in the era of bioeconomy: A pathway to sustainability?

Kroger, Markus; Raitio, Kaisa


This article analyses Finland's forest policy from the perspective of the Pathways to Sustainability approach. The historical roots and political dynamics between key actor coalitions, as well as their key concerns around sustain ability in forest policy are first outlined. After this contextualisation, we identify the current dominant pathway by analysing recent official policy documents (2010-2015) that focus on the future challenges for Finnish forestry. Additionally, we analyse the implementation of the pathway through the revision of the Forest Act (2011-2013). Our analysis shows that the dominant pathway to sustainability in Finnish forest policy aims at reconciling the different dimensions of sustainability by producing "more of everything". Yet there are underlying conflicts and priorities between different goals within this pathway, Which are not openly addressed. The dominant pathway has co-aligned with the global bioeconomy meta-discourse that has contributed to the re legitimisation of policy goals from previous industrial forestry eras. Prioritisation of production over ecological concerns are, however, challenged by the environmental coalition and in conflict with the views of the general public that has become more conscious about conservation, biodiversity and recreation. This resulted in intense struggles during the revision of the Forest Act, however with the production goals persisting over conservation. Our analysis concludes that the dominant pathway aims to safeguard increased timber production, and the studied period saw a political shift back towards more hierarchical policymaking that promotes a productivist forest policy under the guise of a "forest bioeconomy". (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Forest policy; Finland; Sustainability; Forestry; Bioeconomy; Political economy

Published in

Forest Policy and Economics
2017, Volume: 77, pages: 6-15

      Associated SLU-program

      SLU Future Forests

      Sustainable Development Goals

      SDG15 Life on land
      SDG12 Responsible consumption and production

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Public Administration Studies
      Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
      Communication Studies

      Publication Identifiers


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