Jyväskylä Strategic Forest Program

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The city of Jyväskylä launched a Strategic Forest Program in early 2017. The city had recognized a need for renewing its forest management. By designing a  comprehensive forest program, the city aimed to create coherent forest management instructions to help preserve the most important values of its forests, fostering a long-term strategic plan to help guide the management and use of the city’s forests. The vision for the program was to make Jyväskylä “a pioneer in harmonizing the economic, ecological and social forest management goals.”

Jyväskylä was the first Finnish city to use a consensus building process with the assistance of an intermediary in their forest planning. Akordi played a key role in facilitating the consensus building process in five distinct phases:

1) Stakeholder assessment,

2) Process and goal definition

3) Joint fact-finding,

4) Finding and discussing solutions, and

5) Compiling the programme.

The sixth phase involves the implementation of solutions and evaluation of the overall process.

Stages in Jyväskylä’s Strategic Forest Program

Prior to the start of the process, Akordi carried out a baseline survey of stakeholder groups and city actors, for which a total of 24 people were interviewed. In January 2017, a kick-off event was held and a 15-person collaborative group of stakeholder representatives was assembled to work through the process, including representatives from the City of Jyväskylä, the Central Finland Ornithological Society, Metsä Group, JAPA ry, the Jyväskylä local association of the Finnish League for Nature Conservation, the Central Finland district of the Nature League and the University of Jyväskylä. The groups nominated their own representatives during the first meeting.

The working group started its work with defining the process and goals, where the objectives and ground rules of the work were formulated. 

In the following stage, the group engaged in joint fact-finding, focusing on identifying the most important needs and goals for the management of Jyväskylä’s forests. A key moment of this phase was the productive seminar organized by participants that brought speakers from different fields to discuss the future of forest management. Participants also visited various forest sites in Jyväskylä and Mänttä and conducted a survey of the residents of Jyväskylä, which aimed to determine what was most important to residents, as well as what they would like to see in the management of the forests.

In the next phase the group engaged in deep discussions, searching for solutions that everyone could agree with and commit to. The degree of consensus in the working group was checked at various points using a consensus-based ‘meter’, i.e. each member of the group could raise a green, yellow or red card to indicate whether he or she could agree with the proposed issue.

The working group met 18 times during the planning process, and presented the final version of the Forest Program to the Urban Planning and City Infrastructure board in May 2018. Once the program was published, the public had a chance to comment in a public meeting. Some of the changes to Jyväskylä forest management that the program introduced were:

  • Increasing conservation rate of Jyväskylä forests to 17 %
  • Decreasing the amount of commercial forests to enable more forest restoration 
  • Improvement of communication between forest managers and Jyväskylä residents

The conclusions of the group were approved on June 12, 2018. The Forest Program guidelines are valid until the year 2030. The sixth phase of the process, implementation and monitoring, is currently ongoing. The City of Jyväskylä commissioned an external audit by Tapio to evaluate how well the Program’s objectives have thus far been achieved. The results of the audit were published in February 2023.

Jyväskylän metsäohjelma 2030

Jyväskylän kaupungin metsäohjelmatyön lähtötilanteen kartoitus

Jyväskylän kaupungin metsäohjelmasivut

Tutustu tarkemmin prosessiin ja vuorovaikutteiseen neuvottelumenettelyyn Akordin blogissa.

Akordin Emma Luoman pro gradu -tutkimus Intressien yhteensovittaminen monenvälisenä neuvotteluprosessina: tarkastelussa Jyväskylän strateginen metsäohjelma. Tampereen yliopisto, 2018.

Jonna Kangasoja
Co-founder, Chief Executive Officer
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