Article | 02 Avr, 2014

Applying IUCN Protected Area Management Categories in Finland

Summary based on the original Finnish document approved by the Ministry of the Environment.

Edited by Mervi Heinonen, Metsähallitus Natural Heritage Services.

Final version approved by the National IUCN Committee of Finland, June 17th, 2013.

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Photo: Metsähallitus Natural Heritage Services

Finland started preparations in 2012 for a systematic application of the IUCN management categories to all established national protected areas. As a part of the process, the national principles for defining protected areas and assignment of categories were agreed by a participatory process facilitated by the IUCN National Committee and the Ministry of the Environment of Finland.

In 2013, the results were compiled in a document Applying IUCN Protected Area Management Categories in Finland by Metsähallitus Natural Heritage Services (NHS), the government agency responsible for management of all state-owned protected areas. A shorter version of the original Finnish document has now been edited in English for the benefit of the international community of protected area administrators. Though not a handbook, this may serve as an example of how to go about applying the IUCN management categories to a national protected area system.

The NHS has also now assigned IUCN categories to all statutorily established nature reserves (552 sites) and other state-owned protected areas (339 sites). This work was based on the agreed protected area type based principles of category application.