Press release of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of the Environment and Metsähallitus
More than 8 000 hectares of new protected areas to Finland as 100th anniversary gifts
The campaign My Nature Gift to the Centenarian organised to celebrate Finland’s 100th anniversary of independence encouraged landowners to designate their sites for protection during 2017. The surface area of these new areas totalled 3 064 hectares. In addition to this, the municipalities protected 1 980 hectares of their lands. Now the State has also selected the sites where, in accordance with the campaign pledge, it will double the number of hectares covered by private protection decisions.
Most of the new protected areas on State lands are administered by Metsähallitus. Of these 94 sites more than half are in southern Finland, 27 in Ostrobothnia-Kainuu region and 15 in Lapland. More than half of the sites follow fully or in part the limits for protection proposed by the nature organisations.
The total surface area of the State sites designated for protection in this campaign is 3 358 hectares. Of these areas about 300 hectares had already been nature sites relating to e.g. mire conservation that were excluded from forestry measures. The total area of new sites is a little over 3 000 hectares.
“I am particularly delighted that two-thirds of the sites border on areas that were already protected”, says Pentti Hyttinen, Director General of Metsähallitus.
Besides Metsähallitus, State-owned lands were also designated for protection by Senate Properties and the Finnish Transport Agency. Among the sites with the highest conservation value is Verijärvi Lake in Mikkeli, where 43.5 hectares of land administered by Metsähallitus and about 41 hectares of land administered by Senate Properties is now protected.
“The natural beauty of the shores and islands of Verijärvi Lake is well worth protection. There is a lot of unbuilt shoreline and no trees have been harvested for decades”, Pentti Hyttinen says.
One way to participate in the campaign was to donate money to foundations. In total these donations amounted to about EUR 350 000, and some of this has already been used to purchase new sites for protection.
Most of the areas donated by private landowners will remain in private ownership as sites protected under the Nature Conservation Act.
Metsähallitus: Pentti Hyttinen, Director General, pentti.hyttinen(at)metsa.fi, tel. +358 206 39 4201
Ministry of the Environment: Päivi Gummerus-Rautiainen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, paivi.gummerus-rautiainen(at)ym.fi, tel. +358 295 250 240
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry: Marja Kokkonen, Head of Unit, marja.kokkonen(at)mmm.fi, tel. +358 295 162 444