Metsähallitus Monitors the Development of the Natural Habitat Types
As nature conservation activities have expanded within in Metsähallitus, the development of natural habitat types has been monitored increasingly, and the aspects of interest are more varied. Previously the habitat types were monitored to find out facts for commercial forestry purposes, such as drying and wood production of drained areas. Now the reasons are more related to nature conservation, and monitoring is becoming increasingly common.
Reasons Why Monitoring of Natural Habitat Types Increases in Protected Areas
- The nature management and restoration works carried out in the protected areas: It is important to monitor how the measures have succeeded and how the habitat types change because of them.
- The EU Habitats Directive obligations: The Habitats Directive obliges Finland to monitor the habitat types mentioned in the Annex 1 of the Habitats Directive (there are 69 in Finland), and to report regularly to the EU. Metsähallitus has a central role in this, because it manages most part of the areas which have been chosen to Natura 2000 Network on the grounds of their habitat types.
- The better, extensive data on natural habitat types: Because Metsähallitus is making inventories on natural habitat types, it has got extensive data on the habitat types in the protected areas. Therefore it is easy to monitor the development of the habitat types.
What is Important When Monitoring Natural Habitats?
In individual areas, attention is paid to the characteristics of the habitat type, and changes in the set of species or functions of the habitat.
- Characteristrics of natural forests include the age of the tree stand, the composition of tree species, the amount of decaying wood, and the decay rate. Characteristics of raised bogs are, for example, the number of trees and the direction of the hummocks.
- Habitat functions signify how the typical natural processes function there. In natural forest this means, among other things, that there is a diverse set of decaying wood naturally forming.
In larger areas, especially changes in the representativeness of habitat types are of interest.