Functioning and connectivity

19) In order to safeguard biodiversity, improve the ecological functioning of the Natura 2000 network and its connectivity as part of more extensive green and blue infrastructure, by means of, for instance, the Nature Conservation Act, land use planning and natural resources planning for state land, and by efficient targeting of agri-environmental support.
Responsible institutions: Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry

Schedule: 2013–2020

Status in 2018: The connectivity of the Natura 2000 network has systematically been improved on state-owned land, for example, through the METSO Programme (approximately 150 sites, 13 000 hectares of new conservation areas in 2014), through the Supplementary Programme of Peatland Protection (the goal on state-owned land is to conserve 38 000 hectares, which has almost been completed) and by extending the ecological network with multi-purpose forests and other biodiverse elements. Metsähallitus’ method of ecological land use planning has been updated in 2015, and the assessment of ecological networks on state-owned land has been clarified in Eastern Lapland and Kainuu. The work will continue in the next few years.

In a Government Decree on the renewal of national land use objectives from December 2017, the preservation of biodiverse areas and ecological connectivity was stipulated as a binding priority of land use planning. The preservation status is being reported, and new protection measures are applied continuously as a part of regional land use planning. The Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council, the Council of Tampere Region, The Regional Council of Päijät-Häme and the Regional Council of North Karelia have published reports on the preservation status.

The Rural Development Programme for Mainland Finland 2014–2020 (the Rural Development Programme) is being conducted through environmental compensations, non-productive investments, compensations for organic farming, and project funds to promote the biodiversity of rural areas. These actions have been allocated both regionally and parcel-specifically. For example, the traditional rural biotopes of the Natura network are managed by the environmental agreements of the environmental compensation scheme. In 2019, the Finnish Environment Institute and the Natural Resources Institute Finland will complete their assessment of the biodiversity actions of the Rural Development Program). When preparing the following financing period 2021–2027, the needed actions for promoting biodiversity in rural areas will be considered. 

Further information: The Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 at the website of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry