Finland has 2.7 million ha of forest that is protected and in restricted forestry use, i.e. 12% of the entire area of forests (both high- and low-productivity forest). Most of this, 2.2 million ha, is located in Northern Finland, where it covers 19.4% of the forest area. There are about half a million hectares of similar forests in Southern Finland. This represents 4.8% of the forest area of Southern Finland. (Source: Finnish Forest Research Institute 2008) Almost 70% (2 million ha) of forest that is protected and in restricted forestry use is completely outside the sphere of logging and is strictly protected (9% of the total forest area).
National and nature parks form the bulk of the conservation area network. This network was supplemented in the 1970s and 1990s with several conservation programmes and the Natura programme.
The aim of the Forest Biodiversity Programme (METSO) between 2008 and 2016 is to halt the decline in natural forest habitats and species and to establish favourable trends in Southern Finland’s forest ecosystems by 2016.
The biodiversity of commercial forest is being safeguarded through a diverse range of means. Forest owners can get a grant to maintain biodiversity in their forests. An important means of nature management on private land are forest nature management projects. Between 1997 and 2008, forest centres implemented 573 such projects. Biodiversity is also being safeguarded by leaving retention trees in renewal areas. The quality of retention trees (selection, location, quantity and grouping) has remained very steady since 2002.