- Under what circumstances and in what ways can public participation be utilized in managing Finland's
national forests? In the first chapter, a framework for answering this question is set by analyzing Finnish
legal, cultural, historical and political background. The frame defines the Finnish Forest and Park
Service's (FPS) decision making space within Finnish society. After the frame is set up, the needs,
premises and requirements for participatory decision making within national forest management are
In the second chapter, literature is reviewed on how public participation is currently being applied within
natural resource decision making in the US and Canada. First, the usefulness and necessity of public
participation is analyzed from a natural resource agency perspective. Then, the most salient bathers for
effective public participation are identified along with strategies suggested for effective public
participation. Based on this literature review, criteria for effective public participation in Finnish Forest
and Park Service are defined.
In the third chapter, a public participation model is presented for the Finnish Forest and Park Service. The
proposed public participation model integrates the current multiple use planning approach with the
participatory planning system. The model is organized into four phases suggesting a clear temporal flow
for the decision making process: (1) defining the planning situation, (2) direction setting, (3)
implementation and (4) evaluation. Based on phase one, public participation will either be initiated or
the conventional multiple use forestry planning approach will be applied. The assessment of
recommended level of shared decision making authority is the single most important factor in
differentiating between these approaches.
The step by step process described includes identifying the key attributes and making recommendations
to approach constructively unique planning situations. In addition, information exchange and participatory planning techniques are analyzed and categorized. Some promising participation techniques
for the Finnish context are described in more detail, and a model for infonnation exchange is presented.
hi the fourth chapter, implications of the Finnish Forest and Park Service's current approach to forest
plamung are assessed. Then the likely benefits from implementing a participatory planning system are
explored. In light of these results, it is recommended that the Finnish Forest and Park Service continue
strengthening its voluntary approach to institutionalizing public participation as an integral part of the
agency's natural resource decision making. This might be done by initially adopting the public
participation model developed by the author.