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Agreement on the conservation of 356 hectares of UPM forest and mire areas in North Savolax in Finland

Press Release 12.3.2013 21:00 EET

​The Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for North Savolax and UPM have agreed to establish private conservation areas, totalling 356 hectares, on UPM owned land in North Savolax in Finland. The areas are located in Pielavesi, Keitele and Suonenjoki. These areas are part of the Natura 2000 network as well as mire and old growth forest protection programmes.

The biggest single area among the now established conservation areas is the 265 hectare Pangansuo bog which is a Natura 2000 and mire protection area. Many of the now protected zones have significant recreational values as hiking and hunting areas. The agreement does not have any impact on ‘everyman’s rights’ i.e. public access. Hunting is also allowed in the area based on a separate agreement made between a hunting club or an individual and UPM. 

The implementation of the old conservation programmes in North Savolax is now in its final stage. The Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment will focus now on nature conservation according to the Forest Biodiversity Programme METSO which aims to ensure that Finnish forests will continue to provide suitable habitats for endangered and declining species. In 2012 the Centre agreed on compensations of 560 hectares of areas according to the METSO programme with private forest owners. This year’s target is the same.

After this agreement the implementation of the old conservation programmes on UPM land in North Savolax is nearly completed. The negotiations on compensations for the last areas to be protected are on-going.

For more information please contact
The Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for North Savolax:
Mr Marko Haavisto, tel. +358 50 369 4265
Mr Jorma Tuomainen, tel. +358 40 756 7064

Ms Riitta Väisänen, tel. +358 400-546 690, riitta.m.vaisanen@upm.com
Mr Sami Oksa, tel. +358 40-560 3474, sami.oksa@upm.com

Background information

Private conservation areas
Private conservation areas are normally established based on an application made by the land owner. The local Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment makes the decision to protect the area. The related regulations impact on the use of the area. A private conservation area can be established without an application by the land owner only if the property is included in a nature conservation programme agreed by the Finnish Government. The loss of economic benefit may be compensated to the land owner by the State of Finland. The property remains in land owner’s ownership.

The Nature Service unit within Metsähallitus (the Finnish State Forest organisation) is responsible for managing the private conservation areas. The local Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment participate in planning management measures. The land owner is informed about the inventories and management plans. 

In Finland the Ministry of the Environment is responsible for setting the targets for environmental protection across Finland.

For further details please see www.environment.fi

UPM and nature conservation in Finland

UPM owns about 850,000 hectares of forestry land in Finland. The forests are managed according to the principles of sustainable forestry and UPM’s biodiversity principles. All UPM forests are certified.

Between 1997-2002 UPM implemented a project to survey all valuable habitats in company owned forests in Finland. The survey included habitats protected by the Forest Act, the Nature Conservation Act, the PEFC forest certification scheme and voluntarily by UPM. These valuable habitats and all new sites identified are recorded into UPM's database and GIS mapping system which are used in planning and implementing forestry operations. Over 10% of UPM owned land is protected or separately managed to promote biodiversity values.

Since the 1990s, UPM has sold or exchanged more than 20,000 hectares of land with the State of Finland for protection purposes:
• habitat specific national nature protection programmes
• Finnish Natura 2000 nature conservation programme

UPM promoted the creation of Repovesi National Park in 2002 through a donation of 560 hectares of land to the state of Finland. At the same time a further 1,400 hectares of UPM land, the Griffin Forest, in the surrounding area was voluntarily protected by UPM. In addition, based on decisions by the regional Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, several separate private conservation areas, have been established on land owned by UPM in different regions.

UPM has its own Global Biodiversity Programme for company forests in Finland, the UK, the United States and Uruguay. The programme started in 2006 and aims
• to maintain and increase biodiversity in forests
• to promote best practices in sustainable forestry

Global targets form the basis for local target setting and action plans. The programme is based on the experiences gained in Finland where the biodiversity programme was started in 1998.