Legislation safeguarding biodiversity

The aim of the Nature Conservation Act is to:

  • maintain biological diversity;
  • conserve the beauty and scenic value of the natural environment;
  • promote sustainable use of natural resources and the natural environment;
  • promote awareness of and the general public’s interest in nature; and
  • promote scientific research.

The Nature Conservation Act applies to nature and landscape conservation, and landscape management. According to the Nature Conservation Act, it is possible to establish nature reserves on state-owned land. Use of such areas is provided for by the same Act. The Government can specify regulations by issuing region-specific decrees. The Nature Conservation Act's provisions on the protection of animal species also apply to areas in commercial use. However, the maintenance and use of forests mainly occurs under the Forest Act.

The act on the protection of rapids (koskiensuojelulaki, 35/1987) protects Finland's most valuable rapids from waterway construction. The act is complemented by legislation on the special protection of certain waterways.

Legislation on damage to the environment

The prevention of accidents and other accidental contamination is not only regulated by environmental protection legislation, but also marine legislation and the Nuclear Energy Act.

EU legislation

Key environmental protection legislation in the European Union includes the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive.

Other provisions protecting biodiversity

Biodiversity is also protected by legislation such as the following:

  • Erämaalaki (62/1991, Finlex)
  • Maa-aineslaki (555/1981, Finlex)
  • Valtioneuvoston asetus maa-ainesten ottamisesta (926/2005, Finlex)
  • Laki valaiden ja arktisten hylkeiden suojelusta (1112/1982, Finlex)
  • Maastoliikennelaki (1710/1995, Finlex)

Everyman's rights

Everyman's rights refer to the right of anyone resident of Finland to roam the natural environment, regardless of the owner or holder of the land in question.

Further information

Satu Sundberg, Director, Legal Affairs, tel. +358 2952 50278, firstname.lastname@ymparisto.fi,

Heikki Korpelainen, Legal Adviser, tel. +358 2952 50135, firstname.lastname@ym.fi

Published 2013-07-30 at 13:06, updated 2016-05-19 at 10:45