Protecting and monitoring natural habitats
Dune is a natural habitat type protected under Finland´s Nature Conservation Act. Dunes in Hailuoto. Photo: Mikko Kuusinen.
Finland’s Nature Conservation Act protects the following natural habitat types:
- broad-leaved woods
- hazel woods
- black alder swamps
- sandy shores
- coastal meadows
- juniper meadows
- wooded meadows
- large trees in open landscapes.
These habitats are scarce, and often small-scale, but nevertheless valuable in terms of their biodiversity or their landscape value. In many cases habitats have to be carefully managed to preserve their valuable features.
The Forest Act additionally safeguards the characteristic natural features of seven key forest habitat types, while four aquatic habitat types are protected under the Water Act.
Habitats protected under the EU Habitats Directive
A total of 69 habitats listed as important in the European Union’s Habitats Directive can be found in Finland. These include:
- marine habitats around Baltic Sea and its shores
- inland waters
- rocky areas
- arctic fells
Such areas are protected through their inclusion in the Natura 2000 - network of protected areas.
Assessment of threatened habitats
The Finnish Environment Institute prepared the first Red List of habitat types in Finland in 2008. Additionally, it assessed the changes that have occurred in them during the last fifty years.