Footprints in Forests – Effects and Impacts of Finnish Forestry Assistance
Forestry has been constantly present throughout the 50-year history of Finnish development cooperation, although the forms and modalities of the various forestry interventions have changed greatly. Much has happened during these years, but one thing is clear: the present state of the forests and the benefits derived from them are not what it was hoped they would become when aid was started, either globally or in Finland’s long-term partner countries.
Although global and national forest policies are generally thought to have improved greatly, with ‘sustainable forest management’ becoming widely accepted as a goal, sustainability is far from being achieved on the ground. Deforestation continues on the global scale, as well as in almost all of Finland’s partner countries.
There are a few positive signs, to be sure: in some countries it has been possible to turn the decrease in forest area into an increase, and participatory approaches to forest management in other countries hold potential for stopping the destruction.
This book aims to make a contribution to understanding why it has been easier to draft and pass forest and forestry policies than to implement them, and why forestry assistance supporting the new policies is so complex and its impacts are so often contradictory.
The authors of the book are researchers who have followed the changes in Finnish forestry assistance achieved through their research projects in Africa, Asia and Central America. Most of the studies presented here were part of a research project entitled ‘Does Finnish Aid Matter,’ which assessed the impacts of Finnish aid.