The Forest Biodiversity Programme METSO was started in 2008. The programme aims at halting the decline of forest habitats and species as well as establishing favourable trends in the forest ecosystems of southern Finland by the year 2025.
The programme enlarges Finland´s network of protected areas, increases the connectivity of protected forests and develops nature management methods used in commercially managed forests. Protection is always based on voluntary initiatives of forest owners. Forest areas can also be bought for conservation by the State.
Site selection criteria for METSO have been defined by a group of experts. The criteria form “an ecological shopping list” for forest habitats suitable for protection.
The Finnish Forest Industries Federation considers the protection measures based on voluntary initiative should be introduced across the board nationwide. A sufficient appropriation must be made in the central government budget for implementing the programme. Management of existing protected areas must also be secured through sufficient funding. Research aimed at solving practical biodiversity issues must be continued.