Reform of the Nature Conservation Act and Decree

The Nature Conservation Act is one of the key instruments in the efforts to ensure the biodiversity of Finnish natural environment. The Act will be updated in order to protect species and habitats even better than before and ensure the important services nature has to offer (ecosystem services).

The Nature Conservation Act is now more than 20 years old, and it needs to be updated and clarified to halt the decline of biodiversity in Finland. At present one out of nine of our species and almost half of the habitat types are threatened.

The objective of the reform of the Nature Conservation Act is to:

  • Improve the protection and monitoring of species and habitats.
  • Consider the role of the Nature Conservation Act in climate change mitigation and adaptation.
  • Examine the possibility to use ecological compensation for the purposes of the Nature Conservation Act. The reform process of the Nature Conservation Act includes a project to test and develop ecological compensation.
  • Improve the incentives provided by the Nature Conservation Act and consider the means and funding sources that encourage to protecting biodiversity and sustainable use of natural resources.
  • Clarify the relation between the Nature Conservation Act and Nature Conservation Decree.
  • Clarify and technically update the Nature Conservation Act.
  • Examine the interfaces between the Nature Conservation Act and other legislation relating to the use of natural resources to more effectively prevent the fragmentation of habitats.
  • Make sure that the Nature Panel (the Finnish national IPBES panel) is able to work effectively by including provisions on this in the act.

Timetable and project group for the reform

The Ministry of the Environment has appointed a broad-based project group with representatives of public bodies and stakeholders to carry through the reform of the Nature Conservation Act and Decree. The project group works under the steering group appointed to coordinate the reform of the nature conservation legislation.

The project group started its work in January 2020. The aim for the project group is to complete the Government proposal for the act by the end of 2021. 

Nature Conservation Act

The Nature Conservation Act 1096/1996 entered into force in the beginning of 1997, and it has been amended on several occasions. The main objective of the Nature Conservation Act is to ensure biodiversity. The aim is also to promote awareness and general interest in nature, conserve the beauty and scenic values of nature, support the sustainable use of natural resources, and promote scientific research on the natural environment.

In particular, the Nature Conservation Act maintains and preserves the Finnish natural environment by designating areas for nature conservation and protecting habitats and species. The aim of the act is to ensure the viability of Finnish species and habitats, i.e. to achieve a favourable conservation status from them.

Further information

Pasi Kallio, Senior Specialist, Legal Affairs 
Ministry of the Environment, Department of the Natural Environment, Biodiversity 0295250251