Published 4.5.2023

Protection of old-growth forests: Metsähallitus commits to a transparent process

Metsähallitus commits to a transparent process to protect old-growth and natural forests.

“The prevention of biodiversity loss is at the core of Metsähallitus’s operations and strategy. According to the EU biodiversity strategy, Finland is committed to protecting old-growth and natural forests, and Metsähallitus wants to carry this out on state-owned land in a transparent manner and based on the best available data,” says Director General of Metsähallitus, Juha S. Niemelä.

The Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) and the Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE) are currently preparing national criteria and guidelines for the inventory of sites to be protected.

Once the guidelines have been completed, Metsähallitus will survey the state-owned forests that fulfil the criteria. The inventory required by the criteria will be carried out in the field and utilise all the expertise available in Metsähallitus. The survey is expected to take two years.

“It is important to thoroughly review and inventory the potential sites in the field. Metsähallitus’s National Parks Finland has a lot of ecological expertise that can be used in this work,” says Executive Director of Parks & Wildlife Finland, Henrik Jansson.

Metsähallitus will publish the survey which will be evaluated by a third-party evaluator. With this, Metsähallitus aims to improve the transparency of the process.

In addition to Metsähallitus’s own information sources, work carried out by various stakeholders and voluntary ecological surveyors will be used in identifying the sites.

“We receive important data from various stakeholders on valuable nature sites in state-owned multiple use forests. The Natural Forest working group (Luonnonmetsä-ryhmä), which published its final report last week, has done an excellent job, and the sites mentioned in the report will be reviewed in connection with the survey. A significant percentage of the sites in the report are already excluded from operations or in limited use. We are also happy to continue the discussion with the working group,” says Jussi Kumpula, Managing Director of Metsähallitus Forestry Ltd.

After the survey, the parliament will decide on the areas to be protected on a government proposal.

Further information:
Metsähallitus, Director General Juha S. Niemelä, tel. +358 (0)206 39 4201, email: juha.niemela(at)
Metsähallitus, Executive Director, Parks & Wildlife Finland Henrik Jansson, tel. +358 (0)400 328 759, email: henrik.jansson(at)
Metsähallitus Forestry Ltd., Managing Director Jussi Kumpula, tel. +358 (0)400 388 614, email: jussi.kumpula(at)

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