Protected species

The Nature Conservation Act (Chapter 6) protects all species of birds and mammals not specifically listed as game species or unprotected species. Species other than mammals or birds can be protected by a separate decree. Plants are always protected by a decree.

The Nature Conservation Decree lists 62 animal, 131 vascular plant and 13 moss species that are legally protected. In addition, the Decree lists the fish protected by the Nature Conservation Act.

The Ministry of the Environment approves the guideline values for the protected species in euros. They help courts to handle protection regulation violations and determine compensation fees.

Protected spring pasqueflower (Pulsatilla vernalis). © Terhi Ryttäri / Image Bank of the Environmental Administration.

Protected plants

The picking, collecting, cutting, uprooting or destruction of a protected plant species or parts thereof is prohibited.

Protected animals

It is prohibited to deliberately kill or capture a protected animal. The appropriation, removal or deliberate destruction of nests, eggs and animals at other developmental stages in their life cycles is also prohibited. 

Protected animals must not be deliberately disturbed, particularly during breeding or in important resting places during migration. In addition to this, the Habitat and Birds Directives contain regulations on the appropriation and trading of bird species.

Any tree marked by an authority and hosting the nest of a bird is protected. Any tree hosting a large bird of prey is protected if the bird in question nests in it on a regular basis and the nest is clearly visible.

Exceptions to protection regulations

The Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment may issue special permits exempting an animal or plant species from protection, if their conservation status remains favourable. If the exemption application covers the entire country, the decision is always made by the Ministry of the Environment.

The exceptions do not apply to animals mentioned in Appendix IV (a) of the Habitats Directive, plants mentioned in Appendix IV (b) of the Habitats Directive, or birds mentioned in the Article 1 of the Birds Directive. The protection regulations for these species can be deviated from only on the grounds listed in the Habitats and Birds Directives.

Further information

Esko Hyvärinen, Environment Counsellor, Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 2952 50094,

Published 2013-11-04 at 9:19, updated 2017-06-27 at 13:12