Protection of forests in Finland

In Finland, national parks and strict nature reserves constitute the basic framework of the nature conservation network. Other areas dedicated to biodiversity conservation include, inter alia, strictly protected zones so called wilderness areas, protected old-growth forests and areas under other conservation programmes, as well as habitats of special importance as defined in the Forest Act.

In total, 2.9 million hectares of forests are protected or under restricted use, which is 12,6 per cent of the total forest area in Finland. Forest, in this case, refers to forest land and poorly productive forest land, including forested peatlands.

Protected forests consist of forests protected by law and biodiversity conservation areas in commercial forests. In total, 2.4 million hectares (of which 1.4 million hectares is forest land) is protected by law, which covers 10.6 percent of forests and poorly productive forest land areas, and 6.7 percent of forest land area. In addition, there are 0.5 million hectares of biodiversity conservation areas in commercial forests (2.0 percent of the total forest and poorly productive forest land areas), of which 0.3 million hectares (1.5 percent) is forest land. 

The total forest area under strict conservation is 2.2 million hectares, which is 10 per cent of the total forest area. It is a large share in international comparison. Most of the protected forest areas are in Northern Finland, while in the Southern part of the country the share of protected forest areas is much smaller.

Related topics

Forest management practices

Related links

Nature conservation areas in Finland (Ministry of the Environment)
Protection of species and habitats (Ministry of the Environment)
Natura2000-areas (
Forest protection statistics (Natural Resources Institute Finland)
METSO programme

Further information

Ville Schildt, Ministerial Adviser 
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Natural Resources Department, Unit for Forests and Bioenergy 0295162190