Marine and Inland Water Habitats Conservation in State-owned Areas

Metsähallitus manages state-owned lands and waters stretching across about one third of Finland’s surface area, or more than 120,000 km². Roughly one quarter of this, or over 28,000 km², are marine areas and about 6,000 km² are lakes. Most of the water bodies are state-owned public water areas, but many different nature reserves also encompass water courses.

Marine underwater nature

The main aim of the conservation work is to ensure the good status of biodiversity and species of the Finnish underwater nature. This is done by planning the management and sustainable use of state-owned marine areas and the marine conservation network. We also strive to bring the Finnish marine nature into a good ecological status according to the Marine Strategy Directive. Our marine underwater inventory data is also used in monitoring, marine spatial planning and other political decision making.

The data in the field of marine biology is collected by mapping natural underwater features (species and habitats) in marine areas. Our work is part of the Finnish Inventory Programme for the Underwater Marine Environment (VELMU).

Metsähallitus, Parks & Wildlife Finland cooperates closely with local organisations and international research projects. Many of the nature protection projects in Finland are carried out with the support from the EU LIFE fund.

Inland waters

Metsähallitus manages over 600 000 hectares of inland water, which include both protected areas and fishing waters. We make habitat and species inventories and restore streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands and peatlands in protected areas and state-owned fishing waters. We aim at improving the state of inland waters and the diverse forms of nature that are dependent on them. The improvement of habitats begins in the head waters and drainage areas, where even large water bodies originate. As water bodies and drainage areas have no boundaries, the efforts of many people are needed. We actively co-operate with local public authorities, associations and owners of private waters .

We support and revive fish stocks and collect the national fisheries management fee and, for the state-owned waters, sell fishing permits.


The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. There are 49 Ramsar sites in Finland, ranging from the shores of the Baltic Sea to mires in Lapland.  They all are Natura 2000 sites, too. Most of the Finnish Ramsar wetlands are sparsely settled or unsettled natural environments. Metsähallitus manages wetlands mostly in protected areas but also restores drained peatlands and mires to improve the habitats of waterfowl.

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