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State of Finland's Forests 2012: Criterion 5 Protective forests

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The management of timberline forest in northernmost part of Finland is strictly restricted by law in order to prevent the timberline from receding further south.

Maintenance and increasing of the protective functions of forests (B.7)

Owing to the flatness of the topography and the lack of mountainous areas, forests in Finland do not have the same kind of protective function against erosion and avalanches as they do in many other European countries. Therefore, protective functions mostly focus on protective forests in the timberline area in Lapland. In the protective forest zone31, the special aim of forest management is to prevent the retreat of the timberline and to maintain the vitality of forests in the area.

Under the Forest Act, forests in the protection zones must be managed with special care to prevent the timberline from retreating further south.

Under the Government Decision on Protective Forests, the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla) is required to monitor the regeneration of forests in the protective zone and in the highaltitude areas in the Provinces of Lapland and Oulu.

The supreme administrative and executive powers in matters pertaining to protective forests belong to the Ministry of the Environment.

Policies are implemented by Metsähallitus and the Finnish Forestry Centre. The Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla) monitors the regeneration of the protective forest zone and the high-altitude forests in the Provinces of Lapland and Oulu, and prepares a report on these every ten years for the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Environmental protection is taken into account when planning the management of protective forests. In the protective zone, fellings for any other purposes than household use are only permitted if covered by harvesting and regeneration plans specifically approved by the relevant regional districts of the Finnish Forestry Centres .




31 The protective forest zone consists of the municipalities of Enontekiö and Utsjoki in their entirety, and areas in the municipalities of Inari, Kittilä, Kolari, Muonio, Salla, Savukoski and Sodankylä whose boundaries are marked in the terrain in the land survey operation.

  Updated: 12.04.2012 /MLier|  Photo: Erkki Oksanen, Metla, unless otherwise stated | Copyright Metla | Feedback