Sensitivity to climate change

30) Basic data on the sensitivity of species and habitat types to the impacts of climate change will be gathered in support of decision-making on protected areas, their management and monitoring. An assessment of the functionality of the network of protected areas and the need for management of them, as regards adaptation to climate change, will be made.

Responsible institutions: Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Education and Culture

Schedule: 2013–2020


Status in 2018: A scoping study  on the protected area network in a changing climate was published in 2017 by the Finnish Environment Institute. The study listed the most important research needs related to the theme and looked at methodologies that can be used to study the functionality and coverage of the protected area network from the point of view of climate change and land use. In addition to protected areas, the study also looked at how management actions implemented in areas that are in economic use may enhance adaptation to climate change and what is the role of ecological corridors reaching outside of national borders. Attention was paid to how climate change has been accounted for in strategies and action plans related to biodiversity, and vice versa, how biodiversity is considered in climate change policies.

A three year research project titled Finnish protected area network in a changing climate (SUMI) was started as a follow up to the scoping study. The project aims to produce knowledge on the functionality of the protected area network under the simultaneous pressures from climate and land use changes. Focus is put on the sensitivity of species and habitat types to climate change as well as the capability of protected areas to maintain species and habitat types that are of special conservation interest. The project consists of four work packages: 1) vulnerability of species to climate change, 2) vulnerability of ecosystems to climate change, 3) biogeophysical characteristics and buffering capacity of protected areas, as well as 4) carbon sequestration and storage in protected areas.


Further information: Aapala, K., Akujärvi, A., Heikkinen, R. ym. 2017.  Protected area network in the changing climate – preliminary report (in Finnish with English summary). Suomen ympäristökeskuksen raportteja 23 | 2017.

Kuusela, S., Aapala, K., Aalto, J., Heikkinen, R.K., Leikola, N., Pöyry, J. & Virkkala, R. 2018. Finnish protected area network in a changing climate (SUMI). Poster presentation. Conservation of Artic fauna and Flora (CAFF). Arctic Biodiversity Congress, 2018, Rovaniemi.