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Lessons from the Past? A Survey of Finnish Forest Utilisation from the Mid-Eighteenth Century to the Present

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This article looks for guidelines on how regions depending on natural resources could meet future challenges. We do this by seeking past regularities through a survey of the long-run development of the use and discussion of timber and other forest-related natural resources in Finland, from slash-and-burn cultivation in the eighteenth century to present day bioeconomy. The uses and rank orders of the forests have changed several times over the centuries, often quite rapidly, especially compared to the rotation period of forests. To anticipate this uncertainty, we need to keep as many eggs and baskets as possible. Regarding forests, that could mean using many tree species and protecting biodiversity in general. The bioeconomy concept seems to encompass all the conflicting goals set for the utilisation of Finnish natural resources over the last two and a half centuries. In contrast to the single perspectives of earlier periods, however, it tries to take them all in simultaneously.
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Keywords: Finland; bioeconomy; forest

Appeared or available online: May 22, 2020

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