Protected Areas in Finland

Nature reserves, wilderness areas and hiking areas established on state-owned lands are the central parts of the protected area system in Finland. Almost all of these are included in the European Union’s network of Natura 2000 areas. Privately-owned protected lands further expand on the state-owned network of protected areas.

Nature reserves are established on state-owned lands by law or by a government regulation or on privately-owned lands by the decision of Finland’s environmental administration.

Wilderness areas are established in accordance to the Wilderness Act on state lands in Lapland. National hiking areas are established in accordance to the “Outdoor Recreation Act” on state land in different parts of Finland.

Most protected areas are situated on state-owned land. State-owned protected areas are managed by Metsähallitus, Parks & Wildlife Finland.

The protected area management principles are partly determined directly by national legislation and partly by Metsähallitus as the land owner and site manager. Many of the principles are also national and regional best practices that have been developed and agreed over time.

More information