A snapshot to Forest Biodiversity Programme for Southern Finland (METSO) in 2015

News 2016-03-08 at 12:46
METSO-metsää3.jpg
© Markku Meriluoto

The Forest Biodiversity Programme for Southern Finland METSO reached most of the objectives set for 2015. Under the METSO Programme action is taken on a voluntary basis to protect and enhance forest biodiversity.  A total of 5 877 hectares were protected permanently and 1 448 hectares for a fixed period of time.

The METSO Programme offers the opportunity for landowners to protect their forests either permanently or under fixed-term contracts and to receive compensation for this. The landowner may also take nature management measures to enhance forest biodiversity. The programme is coordinated by the Ministry of the Environment and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

The majority of the sites protected on a permanent basis, about 3 800 hectares, was protected as private nature protection area.  In addition, the State purchased about 2 050 hectares for nature conservation purposes.  The protected sites were on average 12 hectares in size. The most common types of protected areas were heathland forests rich in decaying wood, wooded mires and wooded margins of open mires.  

The average size of sites protected under environmental subsidy agreement for ten years was 4 hectares, and the most common types of areas were forests close to small water bodies, heathland forests rich in decaying wood and wooded cliffs, bluffs and boulder fields.

In addition, the projects to actively manage forest biodiversity planned or implemented together with the forest owners covered about 693 hectares. The most significant nature management measures were the management of herb-rich forests and restoration of small water bodies and mires.

Now a total of 55 848 hectares of forest has been mainly permanently protected by virtue of the Nature Conservation Act, while the objective by 2025 is 96 000 hectares. The environmental subsidy agreements cover 34 028 hectares, nature management planning has been done for 11 866 hectares and nature management work undertaken on 4 265 hectares. The aim for the area where biodiversity is protected by means of environmental subsidy agreements and nature management projects by 2025 is 82 000 hectares.

METSO results 2/2015
METSO results 2015

In 2015, Metsähallitus that administers state-owned land and water areas, restored altogether 3 290 hectares of habitats in state-owned protected areas and 128 hectares in privately owned protected areas. Restoration measures were mainly targeted towards forests, wooded mires and bogs and semi-natural grasslands. Measures include for example increasing the amount of dead wood in the forests and controlled burning. From the year 2008, totally 17 685 hectares have been restored in state-owned protected areas and 1 490 hectares in privately owned protected areas. Metsähallitus is also responsible for monitoring and surveying species and habitat types in protected areas. In state-owned managed forests Metsähallitus is taking biodiversity into account by following environmentally-oriented code of conduct.

More information:

Jani Seppälä, Senior Officer, Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 295 250 240, forename.j.surname@ymparisto.fi

Ville Schildt, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 295 162 190, forename.surname@mmm.fi