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Commitment made by Metsähallitus improved water conservation in forestry and produced maps to protect aquatic biodiversity

In 2015, Metsähallitus, a state enterprise that administers around a third of Finland’s land and water areas, made a Baltic Sea Commitment. The Commitment, which was structured into two parts, has now been completed. As one part of the Commitment, Metsähallitus produced maps, which display sites where the environment is particularly rich but faces great pressure due to heavy use. The maps will help in the conservation of precious environment in sea and coastal areas as the information compiled in them will be a valuable reference in zoning processes and other planning. The maps were produced based on survey data which the organisation collected in the Finnish Inventory Programme for the Underwater Marine Environment.

“The Finnish coastal areas are home to a rich variety of species and their protection should be advanced in every possible manner. Thanks to the surveys and mapping done by Metsähallitus it will now be easier to make protection decisions”, says Johan Schmidt, managing director of BSAG.

“Metsähallitus administers around one third of Finland’s land and water areas, so it is obvious that our actions have a large potential of improving the state of the Baltic Sea and protect biodiversity elsewhere, too”, says Director General Pentti Hyttinen.

The second part of the commitment was aimed at improving the state of lakes and rivers. Metsähallitus sought out areas where the state of nearby lakes and rivers – and in extension the habitat of the species living in them – could be improved. By means of education on sustainable forestry practices and careful planning of drainage basins Metsähallitus worked towards limiting nutrient run-offs from the activities of the forestry sector. Metsähallitus and BSAG are currently discussing new cooperation and a renewal of the commitment.

“It’s important to pay attention to the nutrient loads that enter lakes and rivers. Almost all of Finland is part of the Baltic Sea catchment area, which means that what happens in proximity to our lakes and rivers does not only affect local ecosystems but also the state of the Baltic Sea”, Schmidt concludes.

Metsähallitus is a state enterprise. In addition to the publicly owned land areas it also administers waters and protected areas at sea. The total area of the waters, 27 826 km2, is comparable to the size of the Uusimaa, Varsinais-Suomi and Satakunta regions combined. Metsähallitus attends to and develops these areas in accordance to its responsibility scheme.

Additional information:

Communications Director Pieta Jarva, BSAG, pieta.jarva(at), mobile: 050 338 1096

Nature Conservation Manager Anu Riihimäki, Metsähallitus, anu.riihimaki(at), mobile: 040 842 1916

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