Metsäsuhteet metsäkulttuurisen kestävyyden rakentajina

Translated title of the contribution: Human-forest relationhip as a creator of the cultural sustainability

Tuulikki Halla, Reetta Karhunkorva, Jaana M Laine

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleScientificpeer-review


The Human-Forest Relationship in Creating Sustainable Forest Culture

The forest is part of Finnish culture, and forest-related culture is forest culture. In a broader sense, forest culture is interaction between man and the forest as it was in the past and as it will be in the future. Forest culture, i.e. the concepts and practices concerning forest nature, also manifests individual forest relationships. This interactive relationship between man and the forest – the forest relationship – plays a significant role in cultural sustainability of the forest. The interaction and adaptability of forest relationships and forest culture is the key to cultural sustainability of the forest.

Cultural sustainability of the forest involves the recognition and unbiased assessment of different forest-related values, attitudes and power relationships as well as forest-related cultural practices – i.e. different forest relationships – and their inclusion in local forest-related decision-making. Participation is therefore a key feature of cultural sustainability of the forest – the opportunity to have “one's own forest relationship” on an equal footing with “the forest relationships of others” – along with an open and unbiased attitude towards different alternatives and conflicting, even opposing, views.

In the debate about values related to forests, the values of different communities, organisations and ordinary citizens meet and may clash. Disagreement creates tensions and may escalate into disputes and conflicts in which there are attempts to try to influence power relations in different ways. In terms of cultural sustainability of the forest, it makes a difference whether these situations are perceived as "forest wars" or as natural and necessary, even desirable, ways of developing forest relationships in a democratic society. At their best, debates formulate and define what Finnish forests should be like, what they are used for and what meanings are attached to them. In the context of cultural sustainability of the forest, the diversity of forest relationships is thus seen as an asset and a resilience that enhances the ability of communities and society as a whole to anticipate and respond to changes in forests.
Sustainable forest culture is an on-going assessment of what cultural traits are thought to follow the principles of sustainable development and to support the changes in forest culture towards sustainability. In a sustainable forest culture, forest relationships contribute to cross-generational sustainability, which is the main, perhaps the only, way to address current environmental challenges. A sustainable forest culture also gives different generations an equal opportunity to cherish, use and enjoy the immaterial and material benefits of forests.
Translated title of the contributionHuman-forest relationhip as a creator of the cultural sustainability
Original languageFinnish
JournalVuosilusto / Lusto, Suomen metsämuseo ja metsätietokeskus
Pages (from-to)24-37
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - May 2020
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal

Fields of Science

  • 5202 Economic and Social History

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