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Abstract

The ongoing Forest Biodiversity Programme METSO largely relies on voluntary participation of family forest owners. In the METSO programme, forest owners have the power to decide upon conservation, in contrast to traditional top-down programmes. Forest owners can get advice and information about conservation practices from a wide range of forestry and environmental professionals, who should help owners to make decisions that respond to their values and needs. The study at hand examines the present situation of how the nature values are taken into account in advisory services in Finland. It was designed based on soft systems methodology (SSM). Semi-structured interviews and observations of actual service encounters in forest were conducted in seven practical organizations. Qualitative analyses of the material helped to compile and combine conceptual models of the present state and observe tensions between actors’ purposeful action models. METSO programme’s voluntary-based conservation agreements and forest owners’ ability to make initiative about conservation, has been accepted positively among forest owners and authorities. Nevertheless, nature values planning and conservation depends a lot on the actors’ and organizations’ worldviews and operational practices, which could lead to a situation where forest owners get different kind of information and guidance depending on organizations they were contacted with. Nature values conservation is not yet fully internalized and knowledge about different voluntary conservation alternatives varies among actors. There is an obvious need for trainings, guiding material and practical decision-support tools for introducing nature values conservation alternatives.

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