Person working with a tablet.
Photo: Katri Lehtola.


Finland is committed to protecting primary and old-growth forests in the EU Biodiversity Strategy. Metsähallitus is responsible for the inventory of the forests in question on state-owned land.

Upon completion of the criteria for primary and old-growth forests and the guidelines for their application, Metsähallitus will inventory state-owned forests in accordance with the criteria. On state-owned land, this is done in a transparent manner on the basis of available information.

In the past, Metsähallitus has done several types of inventories of state-owned forests (e.g. the METSO programme and Natura sites). In addition, valuable habitats are identified in accordance with the Environmental Guidelines in Finnish State Forests as part of forest use planning. Valuable habitats are excluded from use, for example, as part of an area-ecological network.

The Inventory of primary and old-growth forests 2024 – 2025 project now being carried out is considerably larger than previous inventories, especially considering that it will only be carried out during two field seasons.

Pine forest and deadwood on the ground.
According to current information, the inventory will measure the amount of decaying wood and the age of the trees. When the criteria are confirmed, the sites to be inventoried will be scouted according to the base material. Image: Päivi Lazarov/Metsähallitus.

What is being done?

  • The purpose of the inventory is to identify and protect primary and old-growth forests in accordance with the EU Commission definition and national criteria.
  • Valuable habitats identified during the inventory that meet the habitat criteria specified in the Metsähallitus Forestry Ltd. Environmental Guidelines in Finnish State Forests will also be excluded from use as part of the regional ecological network of multiple-use forests.
  • The inventory required by the criteria is carried out as field work during two field seasons (2024–2025).
  • Read more about inventory work in practice (in Finnish).

Who does the inventories?

  • In addition to Metsähallitus’ own experts participating in the project, approximately 50 external experts will be recruited for the inventory. Recruitment will take place in spring 2024.
  • Metsähallitus Forestry Ltd. is responsible for the costs of the inventory.
  • The expertise of all Metsähallitus experts will be put to use in the inventory.

What information will be used?

  • In addition to Metsähallitus’s own information sources, information provided by various stakeholders and voluntary ecological surveyors will be used in the identification of inventory sites. We will use the map information of which we get the coordinates.

Who decides on the establishment of protected areas?

  • Based on the results of the inventories, the Metsähallitus Board of Directors submits a proposal to the Government on areas that are to be strictly protected under the Nature Conservation Act (and their transfer to property used for nature conservation purposes, not subject to a profit requirement).

Project progress

  • 1–4/2024: Inventory planning
  • 2–4/2024: Recruitment of experts for inventory
  • 5–11/2024: 1st field season inventories and recording of results
  • 12/2024–4/2025: Recording of results and planning the second field season
  • 5–11/2025: 2nd field season inventories and recording of results
  • Processing of results
  • Inventory reporting
  • External evaluation
Person in a forest during winter time.
Environmental expert Reijo Hokkanen visiting a forest near Jyväskylä. The area will probably be inventoried in the project. Image: Laura Kammonen/Metsähallitus.

Press releases

More information on the inventory

Niklas Björkqvist
Tel. +358 40 732 4463
Forest Resources and Planning Manager
Metsähallitus Forestry Ltd.

Communications contact person:
Päivi Lazarov
tel. +358 40 821 8292
Communications Manager
Metsähallitus Forestry Ltd.

Last updated 9 April 2024