Governance Solution Ruka-Kuusamo

In order to take into account the interests of both tourism and forestry sectors, a development of new PES-system, called Landscape and Recreational Values Trading (LRVT), has been proposed. Under this kind of typically many-to-many system (many sellers (forest owners) and many buyers, i.e. tourists and/or tourism entrepreneurs), forest owners would make voluntary fixed-term contracts. Based on the contracts, they would maintain and increase scenic and recreational values in a certain forest area within their holdings and get monetary compensations. Instead of clear-cutting, for example, that might potentially be prohibited in the LRVT agreement, regeneration may be allowed through patch clear-cutting or small-scale seed tree or shelter wood harvesting only. Funds fort the compensations would be collected e.g. from visitors and/or tourism entrepreneurs using the forest areas. In addition to the proposed PES system, it could be supported with landscape oriented forest management recommendations that would inform forest owners on how to manage their forests in a way that is less harmful for landscape and recreational possibilities.

Economic incentives for securing landscape and scenic values in forests within tourism areas are currently missing for private landowners. The landscape management is acknowledged in existing sustainable forest management recommendations and guidelines for private forests. The measures include recommendations to leave, for example, buffer zones and retention tree groups in clear cuttings. In areas where the importance of tourism is high, these actions may not be enough and their implementation is based largely on voluntary actions of landowners. In addition, biodiversity conservation instruments exist, but they are not directly applicable for safeguarding of landscape and recreation values of forests.

 

 

 

Compared to the existing instruments, LRVT has several advantages. For example, with help of LRVT it is possible to improve integration of the activities of two important livelihoods, i.e. tourism and forestry, in the region. In addition, as agreements are voluntary for both parties, the acceptability of the instrument is suggested to be good both among forest owners and tourism entrepreneurs. The ownership of the land remains with the landowner. Moreover, with LRVT, the uncertainty of the tourism entrepreneurs regarding abrupt changes in forest areas, where their business activities take place, will decrease. Typically, the use of forest area for other purposes (hunting etc.) does not change. Moreover, LRVT distributes part of the tourism incomes to the whole region and thus supports the viability of rural areas. Altogether, the effects on social sustainability are positive. The system also encourages tourism entrepreneurs to identify their corporate responsibility and their role in safeguarding environmental quality of forests in the region.

If LRVT would be implemented it would help to maintain adequate quality of forest landscapes for tourism. Furthermore, the system would help to mitigate the most harmful effects of anticipated future cuttings and improve the overall environmental quality of landscape over time. It is also possible that improved landscape management would attract new (nature oriented) groups of tourists to the area giving opportunities to expand the tourism business in the region. It would increase the local acceptability of the tourism sector, improve the integration of forestry and tourism, and enhance co-operation between people working within the both industries. Finally, it would secure and increase the local vitality of the region and decrease the loss of population in the long run.