Along with the development of rural areas, rural ecological issues caused by inappropriate anthropogenic activities have not been drowned in the contexts of global environmental problems. The acceleration of rural development in developing countries would result in a series of potential threats to the deteriorating environment, if no effective governance strategies were applied. The significance of ecological governance in rural development has been widely recognized. Nonetheless, literature information available on successful approaches for ecological governance in rural areas is limited or fragmented. As a successful country in both urban and rural environmental protection, Finland has the advanced mechanism of ecological governance applied in all sectors of society. Based on an exploratory investigation, this study generally illustrates and discusses the Finnish approaches and practices in rural ecological governance. As a context of this research, the Finnish rural development in general has been discussed. Subsequently, this paper illustrates the Finnish approaches and practices in the governance of rural water, waste and land, followed by the discussion of the enlightenments for the promotion of rural ecological governance in developing countries. The main contribution of this paper resides in the experience sharing and learning to help developing countries or regions build up better ecological governance to support their rural development.
Key words: Ecological governance, rural development, environmental instrument, Finland.
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