Natura 2000 areas in Finland

The European Union aims to halt the loss of biodiversity throughout its territory. One of the most important means to achieve this goal is the Natura 2000 network.

The Natura 2000 network protects the habitats of wild fauna and flora defined pursuant to the Habitats Directive. Europe is home to 200 of such habitats and 700 of such species.

The EU Member States propose sites for inclusion in the Natura 2000 network. These are known as SCI areas, or Sites of Community Importance. The final decision on inclusion in the network is made by the European Commission. After the decision is made to include a site in the network, the Member State designates the site as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). These areas are the targets of important measures to conserve the habitats and species in question.

The network also includes Special Protection Areas (SPAs) pursuant to the Bird Directive. Member States select these sites themselves and then notify the Commission.

Natura areas in Finland

The Natura 2000 network in Finland covers around five million hectares. Three quarters of the area is land and one quarter is water. The total number of sites is 1,865, 87 of which are in Åland. The northernmost part of Lapland is part of the alpine region, while the rest of Finland is part of the boreal region.

There are 1,721 SAC areas pursuant to the Habitats Directive in Finland. They cover an area of 4.8 million hectares, which is around 12.4 per cent of the overall area of Finland. There are 468 SPA areas pursuant to the Bird Directive, and they cover an area of 3.1 million hectares or around 8 per cent of Finland’s overall area.  SCI and SPA areas may overlap.

The SAC areas in Mainland Finland were established by a Ministry of the Environment Decree (354/2015) issued on 24 March 2015, which entered into force on 17 April 2015.

In addition, on 5 December 2018, the Government decided to propose to the European Commission that the area designated for protection under the Habitats Directive be extended to include three new sites: FI0100006 Tulliniemi bird protection area, FI0200090 Archipelago Sea and FI1400030 Södra Sandbäck. Their total surface area is about 113,500 hectares. After designating these areas for protection, the total surface area of Finland’s Natura 2000 network amounts to about 5.07 million hectares, which represents about 13 per cent of the total area of Finland.

The borders of the sites can be viewed via the open environmental data systems:


Leila Suvantola
Legal Adviser
+ 358 29 525 0433

Published 2013-11-04 at 9:45, updated 2022-12-22 at 10:44