A potential role for EIA in Finnish forest planning: learning from experiences in Ontario, Canada
Reconciling diverse forest values within policy and decision-making processes is an ongoing challenge in forestry. The use of environmental impact assessment (EIA) provides potential for improving forest management and making it more responsive to diverse interests. This paper examines EIA in Canadian and Finnish forest planning. In Finland there has been a reluctance to see EIA as a tool for forest planning while in Canada some provinces have long applied EIA to forest management. Ontario, Canada, provides one example of applying EIA to forest planning at a range of scales in order to advance integrated planning and help conflict management. The paper provides a brief analysis of the Finnish forest planning system, an illustration of the Ontario EIA forest management experience, and then considers the application of EIA to Finnish forest management. The paper concludes that EIA may be workable for Finnish state forests and would likely enhance planning and management, but given the existing institutional frameworks EIA would be difficult to apply to private forests.
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