Natural monuments are protected natural formations

Trees, groups of trees, glacial erratics and other natural formations may be protected as natural monuments. Such features may be protected due to their beauty, rarity, scenic relevance or scientific value.

Natural monuments must be marked in the terrain in a way that is clearly visible, and it is prohibited to damage or degrade a protected natural monument.
More information on natural monuments, their protection, marking in the terrain and lifting of the protection order is available in the brochure on natural monuments published by Metsähallitus (in Finnish).

Protecting natural monuments

A decision to protect a natural monument on private land is made by the municipality, based on an application or with the consent of the landowner(s).

An application concerning the protection of a natural monument can be filed via the electronic service of the relevant municipality (if available), using the protection application template of Metsähallitus or a free-form application. Besides the information on the property and its ownership, the application must also indicate the municipality in which the site is located, its name, the type of site (e.g. tree, group of trees, glacial erratic, etc.) and whether the site is located in domestic premises such as a private yard.

The Local Council has the power to decide on the protection of a natural monument within the municipality, unless the power of decision has been delegated e.g. to the Environmental Committee. Once the protection decision has become legally valid, the municipality delivers the decision, including the attached maps and any photographs, to the applicant(s), and to Metsähallitus (natural [email protected]) that will save the site in the national information system for protected areas. The municipality is also responsible for marking the natural monuments located on private lands in the terrain in a way that is clearly visible e.g. with a metal sign attached to a wooden pole. Causing damage or degradation to a protected natural monument is prohibited.

A decision concerning the protection of a natural monument located on state-owned land is made by the authority in whose territory the natural monument is located. 

  • The protection application template concerning the protection of a natural monument located in a privately-owned area, template for marking a protected natural monument and guidelines for municipalities on protecting natural monuments are available on the natural monuments website of Metsähallitus (in Finnish).

Lifting a protection order on a natural monument

A decision on lifting a protection order concerning a natural monument located on private land is made by the municipality based on an application by the landowner(s) or proposal of the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment. The application may concern lifting the protection order concerning a natural monument in full or partly if the grounds for the protection no longer exist or the protection prevents the implementation of an important project or plan of public interest.

An application for lifting a protection order concerning a natural monument can be filed via the electronic service of the relevant municipality (if available), using the protection application template of Metsähallitus or a free-form application. Besides the information on the property and its ownership, the application for lifting a protection order must also indicate the municipality in which the site is located, its name, the type of site, the party that issued the protection order and the year when this was issued, a description of the current state of the site and reasons for lifting the protection order. 

The Local Council has the power to decide on lifting a protection order concerning a natural monument within the municipality, unless the power of decision has been delegated e.g. to the Environmental Committee. Before making the decision, the municipality must request a statement from the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment concerning an application for lifting a protection order concerning a natural monument. If the lifting of a protection order concerning a natural monument has been initiated on the proposal of the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, the municipality must give the landowner(s) an opportunity to be heard on the matter.

Once the lifting of a protection order has become legally valid, the municipality delivers the decision on this, including the attached maps and any photographs, to the applicant(s), and to Metsähallitus (natural [email protected]) that will save the information on lifting the protection order in the national information system for protected areas. In addition, the municipality must ensure that the marking of a natural monument located on private land is appropriately removed.

A decision concerning the lifting of a protection order concerning a natural monument located on state-owned land is made by the authority in whose territory the natural monument is located. 

Further information

Janne Hesso, Specialist 
Ministry of the Environment, Department of the Natural Environment, Biodiversity 0295250008