Yllätyksen politiikka liito-oravakartoituksessa
Implementation of nature conservation policies is highly dependent on fieldwork: key habitats and endangered
species need to be identified and located in order to protect them. In Finland, mapping the whereabouts
of Siberian flying squirrels, a species strictly protected by the EU Habitats Directive, has become an
important part of land use planning and forestry during the past 15 years. In this article, we analyze the
fieldwork practices of both professional flying squirrel surveyors and forestry experts who identify and
locate flying squirrel habitats. Our focus is on the affective, embodied nature of fieldwork through which
flying squirrels come into being. Based on our analysis, we discuss the micropolitics of policy implementation.
We point out that although the flying squirrel gets articulated through epistemic standards guiding
policy implementation, the animal should also be regarded as an actor in its own right. In particular, the
agency of the animal is manifested in its potential to surprise and question the epistemic standards applied
in policy implementation. We argue that paying attention to the experience of surprise is crucial because
it highlights alternative ways of policy implementation.