Situated in the boreal coniferous forest zone, Finland is surrounded by the Baltic Sea, Sweden, Norway and Russia. The northernmost part of the country lies above the Arctic Circle, whereas the southern area of the landscape is dominated by an archipelago of 179,000 islands. Between those extremes, Finland is characterised by vast forests and 188,000 lakes, for which the country is dubbed the land of a thousand lakes.
Finland hosts approximately 45,000 species of animals and plants, representing 29% of the total species described for Europe and possibly 3% of the species in the world. Of the total number of species found in the country, 21,400 were assessed in 2010, and 10% of these are threatened.
Finland’s first Nature Conservation Act came into effect in 1923 and the first conservation efforts were implemented for the protection of individual species and natural monuments, and in the establishment of protected areas. Amended in 1997, the Nature Conservation Act aims at ensuring natural diversity.
The overall protected area network includes 37 national parks, 19 strict nature reserves, 12 wilderness reserves and 500 other protected areas, helping the conservation of islands, lakes, mires, forests and fell landscapes, and of the species they host.
Finland’s five IUCN Member organisations are: Ministry of the Environment, WWF Finland, Finnish Society for Nature and Environment, Finnish Wildlife Agency and Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, which was one of the founders of IUCN in 1948. Finland is one of IUCN Framework Donors.
The Country Focus on Finland presents projects by IUCN Members, aimed at protecting nature and its diversity. You can read about:
- The conservation of the endangered Saimaa Ringed Seal;
- The restoration of rural wetlands;
- IUCN Vice-President Marina von Weissenberg's opinion on the need for better mainstreaming of biodiversity;
- A series of five stamps depicting some of Finland's National Parks;
- The close partnership between Finland and IUCN.
Read the Country Focus here.