Invasive alien species 

Alien species are species that have spread to a new area through human action, either intentionally or unintentionally. Invasive alien species are one of the biggest threats to biodiversity. Some invasive alien species have become established in Finland, causing economic, social or health-related impacts. The aim is to preserve indigenous and endangered species and to prevent harm caused by invasive alien species. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is responsible for the overall coordination of alien species matters in Finland, including implementing the EU and national invasive alien species legislation. 

How can invasive alien species be prevented?

Invasive alien species cause harm and risks to Finnish nature, sustainable utilisation of natural resources, economic activities and wellbeing of people and society. Legislation has been adopted to combat these. 

Act on Managing the Risk Caused by Alien Species

The purpose of the Act on Managing the Risk Caused by Alien Species is to combat harm to indigenous animal and plant species, including by preventing the import, rearing or release of invasive alien species. The Act entered into force in the beginning of 2016. It lays down provisions on the responsibility of landowners and professional operators for combating harmful invasive alien species and invasive alien species that may cause harm especially in the Finnish conditions. Provisions on such species, which are also included in the list of species of national concern, and on banning their import and other operations related to them have been laid down by government decree.

Government Decree on Alien Species and list of species of national concern

The Government Decree on Managing the Risks Caused by Alien Species includes a list of invasive alien species of national concern. The taxonomic groups of mammals included in the list of invasive alien species of national concern are alien carnivores, bats and chipmunks, and the taxonomic groups of bird species are alien birds of prey, falcons, owls and crows. When released into the wild, these species can cause significant damage to biodiversity by preying on other species, competing for the same nesting places or nutrients, or spreading diseases. Certain species of frogs as well as sand lizard, Spanish slug and black-headed slug are also included in the list.

Of the plant species, the list of invasive alien species of national concern includes Nootka lupine, Aleutian ragwort, Himalayan knotweed, Japanese knotweed, giant knotweed, Canadian waterweed, large-leaved lupine, rugosa rose, orange jewelweed, Canadian goldenrod, early goldenrod, tall goldenrod, false spirea, white meadowsweet and sycamore. 

The most recent, updated list entered into force on 15 August 2023.

EU IAS Regulation and list of species of Union concern

The aim of the Regulation on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species is to minimise the adverse effects of invasive alien species to biodiversity, society and the economy and prevent the entry of new invasive alien species to the EU territory. The focus of the measures is on the most harmful invasive alien species. The IAS Regulation entered into force in 2015.

Of the 88 species included in the list of species of Union concern, 47 are animal species and 41 are plant species. New species were added to the list in 2017, 2019 and 2022. The importation, sale, growing, use and release of species included in the list are prohibited in the EU.

Management plans

The purpose of the management plans is to target the prevention of harmful invasive alien species to certain priority areas where effective means are used to prevent the species. All plans include prevention measures for specific species and designate the parties needed for the cooperation on these. Management plans have been drawn up for all species included in the lists of species of national and Union concern.

National cooperation to combat invasive alien species

The prevention of invasive alien species is the most effective when it takes place in cooperation between different authorities, operators and private people. The Finnish Advisory Board for Invasive Alien Species has served as the national expert body since 2013. It is tasked with promoting, monitoring and developing the implementation of the EU and national legislation on invasive alien species and diverse communication that reaches the different target groups on matters related to invasive alien species. 

Information on invasive alien species in Finland has been compiled on the website. The website helps to identify and combat invasive alien species and collect sightings of these, including for monitoring the species and for research. The website contains information on the legislation related to the prevention of invasive alien species and on the management plans.

International cooperation to prevent invasive alien species

Barents Invasive Alien Species

The aim of the Barents Invasive Alien Species project is to strengthen the management of invasive alien species and the related competence in the Barents region. The focus is on invasive alien plants and the pink salmon (humpback salmon) in the Barents region in Norway, Sweden and Finland. 

Arctic cooperation on invasive alien species

The Arctic Invasive Alien Species Strategy was adopted at the Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council in 2017. 

UN Convention on Biological Diversity

The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity also serves to prevent invasive alien species.

See also

Finland's National Strategy on Invasive Alien Species 2012

Further information

Johanna Niemivuo-Lahti, Ministerial Adviser 
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Natural Resources Department, Unit for Natural Resources and Water Management Telephone:0295162259   Email Address: