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Forest protection

Featuring:Timo Lehesvirta, UPM

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Timo Lehesvirta, UPM

Forest protection

sustainable forestry

Forests with most significant nature values are protected.

Forests are full of life. For Finland, being a country of forests, big share of biodiversity is linked to different forest habitats. Safeguarding biodiversity is integrated into modern forestry guidelines and practices. Beyond these actions, there is a need for protected forests to secure most significant nature values and species requiring minimal disturbance.

Tools for forest protection are legislation, forest certification and voluntary protection. Legally based protection sets basic level requirements based on international agreements, national conservation programs and biotope and species level protection targets. Forest certification standards, set in open stakeholder process, define additional important biotopes to be protected. Voluntary protection mechanisms are important for common acceptability of nature conservation in private forests. In Finland there is a voluntary state-run protection program in place, where forest owners can offer their forest sites with high ecological values to be protected and get economic compensation for protection.

The scale of protected forest areas varies from a national park with hundreds of square kilometers to a small key biotope, fraction of a hectare in size. Large, generally state-owned, nature conservation areas are often significant for recreational use of forests and nature-based tourism too. Protected areas of private forests tend to be smaller in size. Both elements are needed for a conservation area network with sufficient coverage. This enables ecological dynamics between protected areas and populations of species living on them.

Important thing for both ecological and economical efficiency of forest conservation is that protection actions are targeted in right manner. Protection of conservation values needs to be prioritized. Besides conservation values, right spatial distribution of protected areas improves their impact. Careful planning is needed to fit different protection solutions together in a way that best serves overall target. Fit-to-purpose thinking is also a key for combining forest protection with other multiple values of forests.