Metsähallitus to launch natural resource plan focusing on marine areas next year

Metsähallitus, the Finnish forestry agency, administers more than half of Finland’s outer territorial waters, about 2.8 million hectares. As the body in charge of large areas, it plays an important role in safeguarding marine environment and the use of the sea. The maritime area is used for tourism, recreation, fishing, fish farming, wind power generation, and marine mineral extraction, in addition to protection.

Natural resource plans, which have been prepared jointly with stakeholders, form the core of planning the marine areas. In the future, the regional division of these plans will change, and all of the marine area administered by Metsähallitus, from the far reaches of the Gulf of Finland all the way to Sea Lapland, will be covered by a single natural resource plan applying only to the maritime area. Planning of the natural resources in the maritime area will begin next year, and the final plan will be completed in 2023 following a consultation.

Finland’s maritime spatial plan 2030, which took effect in December 2020, provides a strong basis for Metsähallitus to commence natural resource planning in the maritime area. It is the key document underpinning the planning work, along with the various regional programmes. The natural resource plan will also take into consideration aspects such as regional land use plans.

The natural resource plan for the maritime area will be prepared in cooperation with stakeholders. As the plan will cover a large geographical area, digital tools will be used for collaboration.

The natural resource plan will not include plans for the locations of different activities. Instead, stakeholders will contribute to a description of the needs for different activities and a consideration of the wishes and constraints applying to different areas. The most important part of natural resource planning is to capitalise on opportunities for collaboration: how can parties work together to generate added value so that one plus one actually makes three? A further aim is to identify innovative solutions.

The natural resource plan for the maritime area will set out Metsähallitus’ action plan for five years and discuss how actions should be measured, especially with regard to their impact and value creation. One of the tasks is to think about the need for further planning.

Additional information

Project manager Marja Hokkanen, Metsähallitus