Collaborative Process Resulted in Jyväskylä’s Strategic Forest Programme

The city of Jyväskylä has finalised its first strategic Forest Programme. The consensus building process facilitated by Akordi had five different phases: 1) stakeholder assessment, 2) defining the process and its goals, 3) joint fact-finding, 4) finding and discussing the solutions and 5) compacting the programme. The sixth phase will be implementation and evaluation phase.

The process began in 2017 for the city of Jyväskylä had regognized a need for renewing their forest alignments. By a strategic Forest Programme the city aimed to create coherent instructions of forest management that would help to maintain the most important values of the forests. The vision for the Forest Programme was defined by the working group as following:

”The city of Jyväskylä is a pioneer in harmonizing economical, ecological and social goals that are addressing the forests.”

The group responsible for the planning and compacting the programme was assembeled from different stakeholder groups that had been identified as key actors by a stakeholder assessment. The group had representatives from the city of Jyväskylä, Central Finland Bird Club, Forest Group, the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation (Jyväskylä), the Finnish Nature League, JAPA association and the University of Jyväskylä. Representatives in the group were selected by participants from different stakeholder groups in the process kick off.

During the process the group engaged in joint fact-finding. During that phase the group focused on identifying the most important views, needs and goals for the management of Jyväskylä’s forests. They organized a seminar about topical forest information having professional speakers from different fields, visited different forest locations and executed a survey for the residents of Jyväskylä. In the following phase the group engaged in deep discussions and finding solutions that could be approved by all members. By working with different kinds of drafts the group searched for a solution that all parties could agree on and commit to.

The Forest Programme was presented to the board of Urban Planning and City Infrastructure in 2.5.2018 after which it was published and commented on by the public during May 2018 including a public audit in 30.5.2018.

The working group met 18 times during the planning process. The final Forest Programme aligned that the conservation rate of Jyväskylä forests would be raised to 17 %, the amount of restorative forest would be stepped up by decreasing the amount of forests in financial use and that the ways and tools of commuciation between the forest management and residents would be enhanced.

The city of Jyväskylä has been the first city in Finland to engage in a consensus building process in their forest planning while having a consensus building practitioner as a neutral party and facilitator. For more materials visit here.