Protecting the Forest Owner's interests
Various Services for Forest Owners
Forest Management Associations (FMAs) are working in close co-operation with forest owners in all matters related to forests – from planting to harvesting. FMAs offer training and guidance and provide professional assistance in forestry issues thus protecting forest owners' interests and helping to achieve set objectives. The Associations take care of planning and implementation of forestry measures in private forests. They also provide consulting services in wood sales planning and wood sales transactions.
About 80 – 90% of the activities related to timber production in private forests as well approximately 75% of preliminary planning of timber sales are carried out by FMAs. Much emphasis is placed on the profitability of forestry as it has a direct impact on the welfare of rural areas.
Forest owners can also grant their FMA the power of attorney concerning wood sales and deliveries. This has proved to be a valuable service for those forest owners who themselves do not have the time or opportunity to actively participate in the management of their forests or timber sales. The demand for power of attorney services has grown steadily with urbanisation of the forest owners.
Forest Owners Own Association
Forest Management Associations are governed and financed by forest owners. The Act on Forest Management Associations enables them to collect a forest management fee from forest owners. Every forest owner pays the fee and thus is automatically a member of the FMA in the area where his or her forest is located. Forest management fees account for approximately 20% of the associations' turnover. The rest is generated by the services provided.
There are 96 Forest Management Associations, each financed and administered by the forest owners themselves. The total number of members in the associations is nearly 330 000.
FMA administration is based on elections that are open to all forest owners. A Council whose members are elected by mail voting holds the highest authority of the FMA. All FMA members have equal rights to participate in the elections and nominate candidates.
Long Traditions for Promoting Forestry
The co-operation between forest owners in Finland has long traditions. The first Forest Management Associations were founded in 1907. The Act on Forest Management Associations was passed in 1950. In 1999 the legislation was brought up to date. In the amendment the task of Forest Management Associations (FMAs) is set out as follows:
The forest Management Association is a forest owners' body, the purpose of which is to promote profitability of forestry practised by forest owners and the realisation of the other goals they have set for forestry, and to advance the economically, ecologically, and socially sustainable management and utilisation of forests.
(Forest Management Association Act, part 1)