Current issue: 53(3)
Under compilation: 53(4)
Forest policy can be traced several hundred years back in Sweden. One of the early restrictions was related to iron industry, which was dependent on supply of charcoal. This led in the 17th century to the regulation of the industry in order to fit its capacity to the sustained yield of the forests. Also the early sawmill industry was kept under supervision in the mining districts in order not to compete with the iron industry of the forests resources.
In 1903 the fears of shortage of wood, caused by a few decades of unrestricted use of forests and the rise of pulp and paper industries, resulted in the first forest law (enacted in 1905). The leading principle of the law was that the owner of the forest had to secure reforestation after felling. When previously the regulation had limited the fellings within the sustainable yield of the forests, the new law aimed at promoting the productive capacity of the forests. New felling methods were developed and the new practices were spread to the forest owners with help of education, propaganda and giving advice. One important factor in the success of the forest law was founding of County forestry boards, which are the main agencies to materialize the constructive ideas of the new forest policy.
The First National Forest Survey was conducted in 1923-29, followed by the second in 1938, and third in 1954. A new forest law came into force in 1923, which prohibited the cutting of immature forests in other ways than by thinning. In 1948, new amendments of the law were introduced, which, for instance allowed the forest owner to put part of the income derived from the timber sales into a bank account to be later used in reforestation.
The Silva Fennica issue 61 was published in honour of professor Eino Saari‘s 60th birthday.
Comprehensive state laws regulating the practice of forest management on private lands are in effect in seven of the United States. Established to protect a wide range of non-timber forest resources and to ensure reforestation after harvest, these laws may impose significant administrative costs on states and significant compliance costs on landowners and timber operators. Total state administration costs for 1984 are estimated at $10.1 and total private sector compliance costs are estimated at $120.5 million, for a total regulation cost of $130.6 million.
The resource protection effectiveness of state forest practice regulation is difficult to quantify. However, agreement is strong that regulation has led to significant improvements in forest resource conditions and has helped to increase reforestation.
Forest legislation is one of the important institutional elements for the development and expansion of the forest sector. It provides the structural framework within which national forest policies are set and in turn reflects or should reflect their objectives and priorities. It is also an indispensable instrument for the implementation of those policies.
Forest laws in the sector specific sense have been modified and developed considerably during the last decades. They tend to incorporate more and more provisions on environmental protection and natural resources management and become de facto part of such legislation. Forest legislation as a whole can today only be interpreted meaningfully if it is considered within the framework of an expanding legal system for environmental conservation and social development.