Conservation contracts in habitat protection in southern Finland

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Demands for additional conservation of forests have been strong in Finland where a remarkable number of threatened species need wooded lands. In the southern half of the country the proportion of strictly protected forestland is as low as 1.1% and three quarters of forests are owned by private individuals and families. In order to promote forest protection on private lands the possibilities of landowners to participate in decision making should be improved. To assess the role of voluntary or incentive-based conservation contracts in protection of privately owned forestlands two existing conservation practices were studied: (1) voluntary establishment of permanent nature reserves and (2) payment of environmental grants that are appropriated for fixed-periods and that compensate for statutory preservation of woodland key habitats. Mean areas and compensation sums associated with sites protected using these two practices were simply compared to each other. Nature reserves were on average larger than key habitat sites. However, in the long run fixed-period environmental grants paid for key habitats provide landowners with higher compensation than that paid for establishing permanent nature reserves. These results are assessed in the light of international discussion on social, economic and ecological factors related to protection of private lands. © 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.




Tikka, P. M. (2003). Conservation contracts in habitat protection in southern Finland. Environmental Science and Policy, 6(3), 271–278.

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