The case of conflicting Finnish peatland management : Skewed representation of nature, participation and policy instruments

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Researchers

Research units

  • University of Helsinki
  • Finnish Environment Institute

Abstract

Peatlands that are close to a natural state are rich in biodiversity and are significant carbon storages. Simultaneously, peat resources are of interest to industry, which leads to competing interests and tensions regarding the use and management of peatlands. In this case study, we studied knowledge–management interactions through the development of participation and the resulting representation of nature (how nature was described), as well as the proposed and implemented conservation policy instruments. We focused on the years 2009–2015, when peatland management was intensively debated in Finland. We did an interpretative policy analysis using policy documents (Peatland Strategy; Government Resolution; Proposal for Conservation Programme) and environmental legislation as central data. Our results show how the representation of nature reflected the purpose of the documents and consensus of participants' values. The representation of nature changed from skewed use of ecosystem services to detailed ecological knowledge. However, simultaneously, political power changed and the planned supplementation programme for peatland conservation was not implemented. The Environment Protection Act was reformulated so that it prohibited the use of the most valuable peatlands. Landowners did not have the chance to fully participate in the policy process. Overall, the conservation policy instruments changed to emphasize voluntariness but without an adequate budget to ensure sufficient conservation.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)694-702
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Volume223
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Land use, Natural resources, Participation, Peat, Policy, Sustainable use

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