What went right? A collaborative process to prepare a city forest management strategy

Heli Saarikoski*, Emma Luoma, Sanne Bor, Pia Polsa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


We analyze a multi-stakeholder process that succeeded in creating a joint forest management strategy for the city of Jyväskylä, Finland. The analysis draws on the participants’ own account of the process, elicited via interviews and questionnaires. We attend to critical context and process factors to account for the success of the collaborative process and evaluate the effectiveness of the agreement in terms of ecological and social outcomes. The process created a practical agreement, which increased the share of protected forests and introduced new biodiversity protection measures for commercial and recreational forests. It also created innovative solutions, like the new concept of a nature value forest, which helped the parties to negotiate around their differences. However, disagreement over the impacts of forest management practices, especially continuous cover forestry, remained. The crucial contextual conditions contributing to the agreement were strong initiating leadership and political mandate, which motivated the participants to engage in collaborative dialogue and stick with the process. The key process factors were a third-party facilitation and joint fact-finding. Most importantly, the process was not constrained by a pre-defined agenda or assumptions related to the status quo, but the participants were granted considerable influence over decisions and outputs.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Environmental Policy & Planning
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)752-765
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 16.09.2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 520 Other social sciences
  • 411,2 Forestry
  • Collaborative governance
  • conflict resolution
  • consensus-building
  • deliberation
  • forest management
  • natural resource management
  • stakeholder engagement

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoS: Responsible organising


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