Biodiversity refers to the entire spectrum of life: genetic variation within species, the abundance of species and the diversity of their habitats. Halting the loss of biodiversity is a global target.
Biodiversity in sustainable use and management of natural resources
Biodiversity is preserved through the sustainable use and management of the natural environment and through protection. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry preserves biodiversity by ensuring the sustainable use and management of natural resources within its administrative branch. This comprises forests, agricultural areas including landscapes, game management and reindeer husbandry, fish and water resources and genetic resources.
The key instruments include the Forest Biodiversity Programme for Southern Finland METSO, Helmi Habitats Programme, NOUSU Migratory Fish Programme and SOTKA Project. In addition, managing the risks related to invasive alien species is an important part of the protection and sustainable use of biodiversity.
Forests are an integral part of Finland’s nature and its diversity. The Forest Act provides the baseline for the preservation of biodiversity, including provisions on the protection of habitats of special importance. Both conservation areas and nature management in commercial forests are needed to protect biodiversity. Measures to preserve biodiversity are included in the Forest Biodiversity Programme for Southern Finland METSO for 2016–2025, Helmi Habitats Programme 2021–2030 and National Forest Strategy 2035.
- METSO Programme
- Helmi Habitats Programme
- National Forest Strategy 2035
- Forest biodiversity and protection
- Biodiversity in commercial forests
Agriculture and landscapes
One of the objectives of the Common Agricultural Policy of the EU (CAP), Finland’s CAP Strategic Plan 2023–2027 and Helmi Habitats Programme is to promote the preservation of biodiversity, habitats and landscape. The Common Agricultural Policy of the EU has set as the target for Finland that the share of managed semi-natural grasslands and natural pastures will be 75% of the national management target by 2027. The Common Agricultural Policy contains measures that maintain indigenous breeds and plant varieties by ensuring that their genetic diversity does not decrease.
Game management and reindeer husbandry
The aim in game management is to influence the game animal populations and improve the balance between different species, and to manage the habitats of game animals. This work is guided by strategies and management plans. The SOTKA project of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to reverse the trend in declining gamebird populations implements the measure concerning bird waters in the Helmi Habitats Programme. The measures include building wetlands and a network of resting areas, restoring mires and catchments, and preventing invasive alien predators, mink and raccoon dog.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry sets the maximum allowable number of reindeer for ten years at a time, taking into account factors such as the sustainable productive capacity of winter pastures.
Water and fish resources
The aim is to maintain a good status of waters in Finland and improve their natural state through various programmes. When managing tasks related to agriculture, forestry, waters and fisheries, the aim is also to manage the state of surface waters and groundwater and ensure that their use is sustainable.
The purpose of the Common Fisheries Policy of the EU (CFP) is to ensure sustainable fisheries. Fishing quotas are set at the level of maximum sustainable yields and the environmental harm caused by fishing is minimised. The Fishing Act obliges to ensure a good state of the fish stocks, and multi-annual plans are adopted to promote the preservation of viable fish stocks and ensure their natural life cycle. The NOUSU Programme has improved the living conditions of migratory fish and efforts have been made to reintroduce the natural breeding of migratory fish stocks in Finland’s flowing waters.
The preservation of genetic diversity and genetic resources is an important part of the protection of biodiversity, and a goal to which Finland has committed through international agreements. Finland’s National Genetic Resources Programme for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries guides activities concerning the conservation, protection and sustainable use of genetic resources in Finland. The objectives of the programme are implemented through sectoral policies, including measures under the Common Agricultural Policy of the EU (CAP).
Invasive alien species
Harmful invasive alien species are one of the greatest threats to biodiversity. To protect the indigenous natural environment, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry promotes the prevention of invasive alien species in different sectors in Finland, including by developing the legislation on invasive alien species and promoting its implementation.
Finland’s National Biodiversity Strategy promotes EU and global biodiversity targets
Finland’s policy on biodiversity is based on the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. Besides Finland’s national objectives, the strategy presents targets included in the EU Biodiversity Strategy and UN Convention on Biological Diversity. The strategy aims to halt the loss of biodiversity and put it on a path to recovery.
The EU Biodiversity Strategy that extends to 2030 sets the EU targets for the protected area, as well as numerous concrete and quantitative restoration targets concerning the rehabilitation and improvement of different kinds of habitats. In December 2022 the UN Biodiversity Conference in Montreal adopted the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework that sets four long-term goals and 23 targets.
- EU Biodiversity Strategy
- UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
- Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework