More shades to the conservation palette
"There's still a need to increase strict conservation, in particular to safeguard the survival of the most demanding old-growth forest species. Many nature values can, on the other hand, be protected through temporary conservation or long-term nature-focused forest management, such as sparing significant number of trees in fellings and exclusively small-scale logging."
Karjalainen says emphatically that protection of forest biodiversity should not be made the responsibility of private owners alone. The thin and fragmented conservation network of Southern Finland can be strengthened by actively linking national parks, founded on state-owned lands, with private conservation areas.
"Conservation needs to be turned into an attractive alternative to cutting the forest and pocketing the money."
According to Karjalainen, the message about the conservation options can be best got through to the owners by prioritizing it in forest counselling. Conservation takes its time in the same way as changing people's attitudes.
"If we put all the forests in Southern Finland under strict conservation this very minute, it would take 50 years before nature would seethe in them. There is an urgent need to act, but one cannot call nature back by rushing it."
The inevitable slowness of nature gives the forest owners, too, time to adapt to conservation over a long period. As the forests become more varied, they also become an increasingly attractive recreational and visiting destination for the increasingly urban population.
BY RISTO PITKÄNEN
PHOTO BY MIIKA KAINU