State of the Parks Reporting
A comprehensive international management effectiveness evaluation (MEE) of the Finnish protected area system was commissioned by the Metsähallitus Natural Heritage Services (NHS) and organised in cooperation with the Ministry of the Environment and stakeholders in 2004. The evaluation report was published in 2005.
The management effectiveness evaluation gave the general rating that Finland’s protected areas are well managed, and with some exceptions, they appeared to be achieving their aims of conserving biodiversity. However, the evaluators gave a number of recommendations for improvements, summed up into ten areas of suggested action. Some of these rise from the Finnish context specifically, all reflect the goals and targets of the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas.
First State of the Parks report published 2007
The recommendation dealing with State of the Parks reporting was a major strategic proposal. An internal project was established in 2005 to gather data needed. The first State of the Finnish Parks report was published in English at the end of the year 2007.
This report presents the State of protected areas in Finland in 2005 by
- reviewing the milestones made in conservation of national biodiversity and describing changes that have taken place in the surrounding environment during the past few years
- introducing the national administration, conservation programmes and protected area system
- displaying the diversity of natural and cultural as well as recreational values
- describing the use and users of protected areas
- explaining the challenges of protected area management through analysis of pressures and threats faced by biodiversity in natural and man-made environments
- evaluating productivity and effectiveness of Metsähallitus in managing the protected areas by using measures and indicators
summarizing the results at regional and national levels
- presenting examples of significant outputs and outcomes as well as best practices
- looking into the challenges of conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in the immediate future reflecting on the National Biodiversity Strategy 2006-2016 and the 2010 targets set in the context of the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity (CBD).
The report gives a comprehensive overview of the present state and the level of knowledge on the protected area network in Finland. A review of the state and level of biodiversity conservation in each of the major ecosystems helps to understand why protected areas are essential and in need of good management. The State of the Parks report also pinpoints the ecological, cultural, social and economical benefits offered by national parks and other protected areas.
State of the Parks reporting carries out objectives of the CBD work programmes. Frameworks used for the reporting are the Management Effectiveness Evaluation methodology designed by the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the model for environmental monitoring developed by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the concept of Adaptive Management in management and use of natural resources.
State of the Parks reporting will continue
The NHS plans to publish State of the Parks reports in the future. They will provide a useful tool to monitor as to how the NHS and Finland are reaching the target to significantly reduce the loss of biological diversity. Reporting will allow the NHS to develop its own work, to understand changes and to assess threats.
Site-specific information management under development
Although basic information on the conservation values, recreational facilities and different uses of protected areas is routinely gathered for management plans, large-scale park-level reporting is a novel approach in Finland. The NHS has even intentionally suppressed such individual park-centred ideas of protected area management in favour of cost-efficient process-based management which is coordinated on the regional (unit) level. However, park-level reporting provides a comprehensive way to gather and present existing data in an interesting way. There is also a need for more protected-area-specific aims and activities, defined on the basis of specially conducted assessments and risk analyses. A suite of indicators to evaluate biodiversity and cultural outcomes of management in protected areas is under construction as part of the system.
The State of the Parks report (julkaisut.metsa.fi)
The report should be cited as follows:
Heinonen, M. (ed) 2007: State of the Parks in Finland.
Finnish Protected Areas and Their Management from 2000 to 2005.
Nature Protection Publications of Metsähallitus. Series A 170. 313 p.
State of Parks, Summary (julkaisut.metsa.fi)