People, Environment

Call for More Forest Protection Funds in Finland

Call for More Forest Protection Funds in FinlandCall for More Forest Protection Funds in Finland

Finland’s forest product companies have teamed up with environmental organizations to request more funding for forest conservation.

This spring they appealed to Minister of Agriculture and Environment Kimmo Tiilikainen to increase the funding of its Metso program to promote forest biodiversity in southern Finland.

The government will consider the issue during its upcoming budget talks scheduled for August and September, according to Finland’s national broadcasting company YLE.

In the current budget, some €18 million have been earmarked for the procurement of new nature conservation areas and the required compensation in 2017. Experts believe that the sum should be €30 million larger, for a total of €48 million.

“Landowners are contacting us a lot. They often own a small bit of forest, with trees suitable for pulp production. They hope to protect it,” says Paivi Lundvall, the new executive director of the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation.

The groups say current funding would be used up already early in the year, leaving central government representative ELY offices to tell interested parties that there is no Metso money left.

In 2008, Finland committed to protecting 100,000 hectares of forested land by 2025. It is only halfway toward this goal at present.

The government has made clear its support for bio-economy projects that make increasing use of raw materials from the forest.