Preserving highly biodiverse boreal forests in South Karelia in Finland

This project is implemented by the South Karelian district of the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation from March 2024 to October 2025.

Natural boreal forest. © Kimmo Saarinen


Boreal forests in South Karelia stretching along the Finnish Green Belt are particularly poorly protected, with only 1% of the area currently covered. Other woodlands are heavily exploited due to a dense concentration of pulp and paper mills and the timber industry. We urgently need to protect the biodiversity values of the remaining valuable forest areas, which are mostly owned by private forest companies.






We want to actively inform and help forest owners to preserve forest biodiversity, either by legal means or by introducing new silvicultural practices. The project will pave the way to for the creation of an ecologically valuable forest nature reserve system in the northern part of the province – a step towards South Karelia’s first national park!



To achieve our project objectives, we will:

  • Carry out a background survey using open GIS data and detailed forest nature value inventories in the field.
  • Contact relevant landowners and inspire them to rethink their forest management through appropriate advice and negotiation.
  • Disseminate new ideas through an open seminar and a guided excursion, and through media releases, including on social media and websites.
Natural boreal forest. © Kimmo Saarinen

Expected Results

Our aim is to contact at least 80 landowners with high nature value forest areas and to activate at least 20 of them i) to either protect their forests (5) or ii) to change to softer forms of silviculture in their forests, covering an area of at least 100 hectares (15). The same process, if successful, will be applied to other areas along the Finnish Green Belt in the

Preserving highly biodiverse boreal forests in South Karelia

The project is implemented in the province of South Karelia in southeastern Finland.


South Karelia district of the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation (FANC)
Katariinantori 6, 53900 Lappeenranta


Nearest city: Lappeenranta

Contact person for the BESTbelt project: Kimmo Saarinen kimmo.saarinen(at)

Duration: 20 months

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