Alien species

Alien species are species that have spread to a new area through human action, either intentionally or unintentionally. Some invasive alien species have become established in Finland, causing economic, environmental, social and health-related impacts. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is responsible for the overall coordination of alien species matters in Finland, such as implementing the EU and national invasive alien species legislation as well as the National Strategy on Invasive Alien Species.

The Finnish Advisory Board for Invasive Alien Species, appointed by the Council of State, is Finland’s national expert body in matters concerning invasive alien species. Its key tasks include following the implementation of the invasive alien species legislation and awareness raising of the impacts and management measures concerning invasive alien species.

EU Regulation and National Legislation

The EU Regulation on invasive alien species was adopted in September 2014. Its aim is to reduce the environmental, social and economic damage caused by alien species and to prevent new invasive alien species from spreading to the EU territory. The measures introduced by the regulation are targeted at the most harmful invasive alien species.

The Act on Managing the Risk Caused by Alien Species (laki vieraslajeista aiheutuvien riskien hallinnasta 1709/2015) lays down provisions on how the EU Regulation on Invasive Alien Species is to be implemented in Finland. In addition, the Act contains provisions on invasive alien species which are not included on the List of species of Union concern but which can be considered harmful in the Finnish environment, and the control of other alien species, which are not, at least not at this time, considered invasive alien species.

Lists of species of Union and National concern

The List of species of Union concern contains the invasive alien species to which the EU Regulation on Invasive Alien Species applies. A separate regulation by the EU Commission contains provisions regarding the List. The list is being updated regularly.

The national list includes the invasive alien species which are not included on List of species of Union concern but which can be considered harmful in the Finnish environment. Provisions on the national list are laid down in a Government decree. The list is being updated as necessary.

An invasive alien species included on the List of species of Union concern or list of national concern may not be imported to Finland from outside the EU, or from another EU country. Such a species may not be cultivated, sold or marketed. It is prohibited to release such a species into the environment. Provisions may be issued by Government decree concerning a species included on the list of national concern to specify that not all of the aforementioned bans apply to the species or its specific use. However, releasing the species into the environment is prohibited without exception.

National alien species portal

The national alien species portal (vieraslajit.fi) enables citizens to recognise alien species and report their observations. The portal includes information on and pictures of alien species, maps of their ranges and instructions on combating them.

Convention on Biological Diversity

The international Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) also contributes to combating invasive alien species. One of the targets of the Convention is that by 2020 invasive alien species and their pathways are identified and prioritised and particularly harmful alien species are controlled.

See also:
The national alien species portal  
EU regulation 
Act on Managing the Risk Caused by Alien Species  
EU List of species of Union concern  
Government decree on invasive alien species of national concern and the national list   
Finland's National Strategy on Invasive Alien Species 
The international Convention on Biological Diversity