Applicability of public participation for the Finnish Forest and Park Service Public Deposited


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  • 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 evaluated. 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.
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