Natura 2000 Areas: Established to Protect Biotopes and Species
The Natura 2000 network is in place to conserve important biotopes and species throughout Europe. The purpose of the Natura 2000 programme is to preserve nature’s diversity.
Finland´s Natura 2000 areas include protected areas, wilderness areas and areas taking part in nature conservation programmes. The network also aims to protect the natural features which have not been conserved in the past. Examples of such natural features are underwater vegetation in the archipelago and along Finland’s coast, lakes, large rivers, small bodies of water, cliffs and cultural environments.
The government drew up its first motion to the European Union concerning Finland’s Natura 2000 areas in 1998. Latere on, the motion has been added to. After Finland’s motion was added to in 2012 it covered 1,865 areas which were in accordance to the EU’s nature directive or bird directive.
Nineteen areas in northernmost Lapland in Finland ar within the alpine zone, the rest of Finland is within the boreal zone. All the suggestions made by Finland have now been approved by the EU.
The combined area of all Finland’s Natura 2000 areas measures 50,000 sq. km or 15% of Finland’s territory. Almost 80% of the area covered by the motion is state-owned and maintained by Metsähallitus.
Conservation of Natura 2000 areas can be ensured by governmental legislation, by administrative orders or by voluntary agreements. For the most part conservation leans on the Nature Conservation Act and the Wilderness Act, but nature is also conserved with laws such as the Forest Act, the Water Act, the Outdoor Recreation Act, the Land Use and Building Act and the Earth and Soil Act. Any activity which does not compromise conservation efforts can be permitted in these areas.
- Natura 2000 areas in Finland (www.environment.fi)