Metsähallitus Conserves Cultural Heritage of Finland
Nature conservation and the preservation of cultural heritage is every citizen’s responsibility and right according to Finland’s constitutional law. The most visible parts of cultural heritage managed by Metsähallitus are old buildings and ancient sites in the protected areas.
Several valuable man-built cultural heritage sites are managed by Metsähallitus, of which a few are related to the history of forestry. As the single largest manager of state-owned land Metsähallitus is responsible for many other cultural heritage sites such as heritage farms located in national parks and ancient stone constructions in the outer archipelago in the Baltic Sea. Metsähallitus maintains these locations in cooperation with the National Board of Antiquities.
Slash-and-burn agriculture and other old land use types have formed Finland’s traditional agricultural landscapes, which are Finland’s most diverse but also most threatened biotopes. The abundance of species in these areas is due to people farming and cattle grazing. Only these activities will ensure that all these species survive in the future. With the help of volunteers, Metsähallitus cares for over 4,000 hectares of traditional agricultural landscape.
Cultural Heritage in Multiple-use Forests
Between 2010 and 2015, Metsähallitus carried out a field survey of cultural heritage sites in multiple-use forests owned by the Finnish government. Over a period of six years, archaeologists documented more than 10,000 sites with 100,000 individual structures. The project was the largest field survey of cultural heritage in the history of Finland, and the first to identify and protect in the forests the cultural heritage of later periods.
Laws and Agreements Bind Officials to Promote Sámi Culture
Metsähallitus is obligated by law to ensure the prerequisites for Sámi culture in the Sámi homelands and to preserve the culture within Archipelago National Park. As a state agency Metsähallitus is obligated to take into account national land use goals, also when preserving cultural environments.