Biodiversity and nature protection

Biodiversity must be protected and maintained in order to safeguard the conditions which support life on the planet. Protection is necessary because many organisms and habitats have become endangered due to harmful changes caused by mankind. Biodiversity is conserved by establishing nature reserves and protecting different habitat types and species.

The national strategy and action plan for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity outlines objectives and measures for halting the decline in biodiversity by 2020. Safeguarding biodiversity requires an effort from the whole of society. Natural resources must be used sustainably.

Public authorities are responsible for conserving biodiversity

According to the Constitution, nature and its biodiversity, the environment and the national heritage are the responsibility of everyone. The public authorities shall endeavour to guarantee for everyone the right to a healthy environment and for everyone the possibility to influence the decisions that concern their own living environment.

The Ministry of the Environment guides and monitors nature conservation in Finland. It prepares legislation to maintain biodiversity and is responsible for the general monitoring of the implementation of this legislation. The Ministry also prepares nature conservation programmes and establishes nature reserves under these programmes. Furthermore, it approves the management and use plans of major nature reserves.

The Finnish Environment Institute researches and assesses biodiversity, serving various public bodies and agencies, businesses and communities. It assesses the endangered status of organisms and habitats, conducts research on the management and restoration of different habitats, and on the importance of ecosystem services and their interaction with biodiversity.

Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres) promote and supervise nature conservation and landscape protection in their respective regions. They safeguard biodiversity, for example, by

  • establishing nature reserves on privately owned land
  • acquiring areas for the state, for the purpose of nature conservation
  • approving proposals for protected areas and management and use plans for these areas
  • safeguarding natural values in land use planning
  • planning the management and use of Natura 2000 areas

For more information:

Municipalities promote and supervise nature conservation and landscape protection within their areas of jurisdiction. For example, they can prepare proposals for protection and draft management and use plans related to protected areas. They can also decide on the protection of natural monuments. Municipalities are responsible for ensuring that land use planning and construction planning support ecologically sustainable development and that the environmental impacts of such plans are taken into account.

The state forest administration Metsähallitus maintains most of Finland's nature reserves.

Further information