Citizens' view of legitimacy in the context of Finnish forest policy.

Annukka Valkeapää, Heimo Karppinen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The goal of forest policy is to enhance sustainable production of the material and immaterial benefits of forests to serve the needs of all citizens. A theoretical model for explaining the formation of legitimacy in a certain political sector was developed and empirically tested in the context of Finnish forest policy. Nationwide mail survey data was used to determine the differences in the perceptions of forest policy by Finnish forest owners and other citizens. The questionnaire measured the legitimacy of the forest policy, the acceptance of laws, the justice of the procedures, the fairness of power relations, the acceptance of forestry operations and the competence in forest policy issues. Overall legitimacy was evaluated positively, and the forest owners considered forest policy in general to be more acceptable than other citizens did. The most criticized aspects of forest policy were the justice of the procedures and the use of clearcutting. Procedural justice and acceptance of forestry operations were the strongest explanatory factors for the legitimacy. Acceptance of the power relations of different stakeholder groups explained legitimacy for non-owners but not for forest owners. In both groups, forest policy competence led to a more negative evaluation of legitimacy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalForest Policy and Economics
Pages (from-to)52-59
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2013
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 4112 Forestry
  • 5144 Social psychology

Cite this