Natural habitats include land and water areas characterised by certain environmental conditions, and by the plant and animal species typical of such areas. Habitat types are protected in order to safeguard ecological diversity and the habitats of different species.
Habitats are protected by legislation and international agreements, in national park, strictly controlled nature reserves and other conservation areas.
Natural habitats referred to in the Nature Conservation Act
In Finland, nine habitat types are protected under the Nature Conservation Act.
It is prohibited to alter the habitat types mentioned in the act in such a way as to jeopardise the preservation of the features characteristic of the area in question. Such a prohibition takes effect as of when the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment has set the boundaries of the natural habitat in question and has notified the site’s owners and holders of its decision. Parties affected by the decision will be heard before the boundaries are set, unless such hearing jeopardises the conservation objectives. Appeals may be made against the boundaries set by the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment.
Natural habitats referred to in the Habitats Directive
Annex II of the EU's Habitats Directive Council Directive lists 69 valuable habitat types found in Finland, 22 of which are priority types. Natura 2000 nature reserves have been established to protect these habitats.
Natural habitats referred to in the Forest Act and the Water Act
The Forest Act covers seven particularly important habitats, while the Water Act covers four small water body types. Actions jeopardising the special characteristics of these areas are prohibited.
Other means of protecting natural habitats
In addition to setting up nature conservation areas, natural habitats may be protected through sustainable use of natural resources and by taking such habitats into account when planning land use. If natural habitats have been altered, their condition may be improved by means of nature management and restoration.The Ministry of the Environment has drawn up an action plan for improving the condition of endangered habitats.
Toimintasuunnitelma uhanalaisten luontotyyppien tilan parantamiseksi (SY 15/2011) (Publication Archive Helda)
Campaign for preserving natural habitats in municipalities
The campaign for preserving natural habitats in municipalities involved the selection of natural habitats at municipal level; the selected habitats are either particularly important and valuable to the region in question, or are endangered.
Aulikki Alanen, Environment Counsellor, tel. +358 40 684 7146, email@example.com