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State of Finland's Forests 2012: Finnish Forests in
European context demonstrated with selected indicators

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Protected forests

Protected areas are one of the oldest instruments for protecting nature and natural resources, and are included as a main pillar in nature conservation laws across Europe. Explicitly designated protected areas focus mainly on conserving biological diversity, landscapes, natural monuments and protective functions of forests.

The MCPFE Assessment Guidelines for Protected and Protective Forest and Other Wooded Land in Europe were created in 2001– 2003 especially for European conditions where protected forests areas are often small, most of which are located in fragmented landscapes with other land use categories and are protected with various management options and regimes. The MCPFE classes for biodiversity are no active intervention, minimum intervention, and conservation through active management.



Total forest area protected (size of the pie) and the share of the protected area by MCPFE Classes 1.1–1.3 (1.1 no active intervention, 1.2 minimum intervention, 1.3 conservation through active management) for biodiversity by countries in Europe (1,000 hectares and percent), 201012. Germany and Spain: included Natura 2000 forest areas in the MCPFE class 1.3.


Over the last 10 years, Europe’s forest area designated for biodiversity and landscape protection has increased by half a million hectares annually. About 10 percent of European forests are protected with the main objective of conserving biodiversity.

The strictness of protection for biodiversity varies considerably within Europe: in North Europe and in some Eastern European countries, restrictive protection with no or minimal intervention dominates, whereas in Central and Southern European countries, active management in protected areas is emphasized. This shows the different policies applied across Europe due to natural conditions, traditions and population density.

Strict forest protection is emphasised in Finland. Under various protection programmes and decisions, the area of protected forests has been tripled over the past 35 years.The largest areas with no active intervention of the total area of forests protected for biodiversity in Europe are located in Finland – nearly half (841 000 ha) of the area.



  Updated: 10.12.2012 /MLier |  Photo: Erkki Oksanen, Metla, unless otherwise stated | Copyright Metla | Feedback