Finland preparing criteria to protect primary and old-growth forests under EU biodiversity strategy; Metsa CEO says forest protection means 'clear set of national criteria, mapping of sites to be protected and financial compensation for forest owners'

Sample article from our Government & Public Policy

February 9, 2024 (press release) –

Safeguarding the biodiversity of forest nature requires, in addition to forest protection, the promotion of practices that strengthen the state of nature in commercial forests. Metsä Group has set a goal of verifiably strengthening the state of nature by 2030.

"Forest protection and strengthening the state of nature in commercial forests support each other. It is important that the boundaries of protected areas and commercial forests become clearer than at the moment, as it also stabilizes the operating environment for wood procurement and forest ownership," says Ilkka Hämälä, President and CEO of Metsä Group.

According to the biodiversity strategy published by the European Union in 2020, the remaining primary and old-growth forests must be protected by 2030. The member states, including Finland, are committed to this objective as part of a broader goal to stop the biodiversity loss. The national criteria set for the protection of primary and old-growth forests is being prepared under the guidance of the authorities, and it is important to set the criteria quickly. The completed set of criteria is the starting point for the forest mapping work, which can be used to expand the network of protected areas on scientific grounds. It is also particularly important that the criteria cover all groups of forest owners, such as private forest owners. At the same time, property protection and adequate and fair protection funding must be ensured.

Safeguarding biodiversity and forest protection initiatives are important for Finland and Finns in many ways. Stopping the biodiversity loss and strengthening the state of nature is also important for economic life, regardless of industry. Vibrant forest nature creates a strong foundation for a developing forest-based bioeconomy.

"We are ready for a fair sustainability transition and strengthening the state of forest nature in our own operations. In terms of forest protection, this means a clear set of national criteria, mapping of sites to be protected and financial compensation for forest owners," states Hämälä.

For further information, please contact:

Juha Jumppanen, EVP, Wood Supply and Forest Services, Metsä Group, tel. +358 50 384 4808

Metsä Group

Metsä Group is leading the way in advancing the bioeconomy. We invest in growth, bioproduct development and a fossil free future. The raw material for our products is renewable wood from sustainably managed northern forests. We focus on the growth sectors of the forest industry: wood supply and forest services, wood products, pulp, fresh fibre paperboards, as well as tissue and greaseproof papers.

Metsä Group’s annual sales amount to approximately EUR 7 billion, and we have around 9,500 employees in around 30 countries. We promote a culture of diversity, equality and inclusion. Our international Group has its roots in the Finnish forests: our parent company is Metsäliitto Cooperative which is owned by over 90,000 forest owners. 

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