METSO is voluntary forest protection
The fundamental aim of the METSO Programme is to provide voluntary-based conservation as a competitive option for forest owners.
Almost 90 per cent of protection target set in METSO Programme already reached – more funding needed for environmental subsidies and nature management
Last year Finnish forest owners protected about 4,800 hectares of forests on a permanent basis under the Forest Biodiversity Programme for Southern Finland METSO. About 300 hectares were protected for a fixed term of 20 years. The objective set in the METSO Programme is to create 96,000 hectares of new protected areas by 2025. By the end of 2021, 88% of the target had been reached as the protected area totalled 84,000 hectares. Last year’s result for environmental forestry subsidy agreements and nature management projects was excellent, 4,500 hectares, which means that 68%, 56,000 hectares, of the target of 82,000 hectares are now covered by these. However, reaching the target will require a clear increase in the level of funding towards the end of the programme period.
Last year Finnish forest owners protected about 5,500 hectares of forest on a permanent basis through the Forest Biodiversity Programme for Southern Finland METSO. In addition, about 3,500 hectares of forest habitats were protected under 10-year environmental forestry subsidy agreements and nature management work was done on 128 hectares. METSO is a conservation programme based on voluntary action by forest owners through which they can protect their forests and receive compensation for this. Nature management measures are also taken that do not involve any costs to landowners.
Forest conservation under METSO Programme proceeds on schedule – more resources needed for environmental subsidies and nature management projects
In 2019 about 4,700 hectares of new forest area was conserved under the Forest Biodiversity Programme for Southern Finland METSO. In addition, about 2,400 hectares of valuable habitats were protected through 10-year fixed term environmental forestry subsidy agreements. More than 100 hectares were covered by more extensive nature management projects involving lands belonging to several holdings. With respect to forest conservation, the METSO Programme has proceeded according to its original schedule, but the resources for environmental forestry subsidy agreements and nature management projects should be doubled from the present to reach the objectives.
The objective of METSO is to have about 96,000 hectares of forest established as permanent or temporary nature reserves. In addition, about 82,000 hectares of valuable forest habitats in commercially managed privately owned forests are to be protected by fixed-term environmental forestry subsidy agreements or to be managed or restored in nature management projects.