Norwegian Forest Policy

Norwegian – Forest Policy

The foundation of Norwegian forest policy is built upon promoting resilience and long term stability of resources. Policies for Norwegian forest management aim to promote sustainability and to meet cultural, social, ecological and economic needs in the present and the future. Norway has signed resolutions on the sustainable management of Europe’s forests and has also ratified the Rio Convention on biological diversity and the climate. Norwegian forest policies uphold the principles declared in these documents.

In 2005, Norway’s Forest Act was brought up to date to promote sustainable forest management. The aim was to balance the need for economic development at a national and local level with ecological concerns such as securing biodiversity. Considerations such as the cultural value of forests and the opportunity for outdoor recreation are also strongly emphasised in the Forest Act.

The Forest Act applies to all forest land and forests. The term “forest land” refers to land that is either under forest production, or is suitable for forest production according to an overall assessment, and is not under use for any other purpose. The Forest Act also applies if an area of land is pursuant to the Planning and Building Act, is already protected under the Nature Conservation Act, or is already designated for purposes other than agriculture, unless provided otherwise by planning, or protection decisions that are associated with such decisions.

Forest owners are obliged to ensure that all activities taking place in forests are in compliance with regulations and statutes. They must also take into account environmental values and pay proper attention to these when carrying out any activities within the forest. These considerations may prevent carrying out certain activities within the forest, but the owner is otherwise free to practice forest management with a view to their own objectives.

The Forest Trust Fund was set up as an obligatory reserve. It provides forest owners with a means for financing measures that are aimed at sustainably managing forest resources. The fund is intended to be used for long term investments covering timber production including forest management and planning, infrastructure such as roads and securing environmental values in forests. A proportion of the landowner’s income from harvests is allocated to the trust, and the Norwegian Forest Fund then returns service to the landowner.