Comparative study on administrative organizations for forest policy: with Finland and New Zealand as case studies

In Journal of Forest research
Volume (Issue): Vol.9 No.2
Peer-reviewed Article

Currently, many researchers argue in favor of decentralization, as it facilitates more locally based and innovative forest policy. However, many local government administrations, especially those of municipalities, lack sufficient resources to function efficiently under a decentralized regime. There is an urgent need to reassess administrative systems that can handle both decentralization and responsible administration. In this paper, resource management systems are evaluated in terms of comprehensiveness of resource management, professionalism of resource management, and public participation, by means of a comparative study of the New Zealand and Finnish systems. Finland has the advantage of nurturing and retaining experts, as a result of having specialized local organizations formed by the central government ministries. However, in Finland, it is difficult to achieve comprehensiveness and public participation, because such complex coordination is required among the vertically divided administrative organizations and between the national and local governments. In contrast, comprehensiveness and public participation are easily achieved in New Zealand because local governments are responsible for almost all resource management. However, its small-scale local governments, in particular, have serious difficulty in obtaining the services of experts. There are many lessons to learn from New Zealand about using public participation to achieve comprehensive resource management by local governments. At the same time, the effectiveness of the Finnish system, which centers on the national government, is undeniably effective in securing professionals. It is necessary to devise a combination of both systems that suits Japans situation and capitalizes on the advantages of both systems.