Background to the Finnish-Russian co-operation on nature conservation

Of the boreal or taiga forests in the world, 60 % are located in Russia. The volume of the Russian forest resources is unique and so are the specific features of nature. Some of the vast old-growth forests are located close to Finland, in northwest Russia. The degree of biodiversity is high in these old pristine forests. Thus, the decisions concerning nature conservation in Russia are of great importance for the future of the boreal nature as a whole.

Finland and Russia share a 1,250 km long common border which is also the border of Russia and the EU. Therefore, Finland and Russia have great responsibility for protecting valuable European natural heritage.

New protected areas as a result of cooperation

Ever since the 1970s there has been an extensive cooperation between Finland and Russia in the field of nature conservation. Despite the similarity of the natural conditions in Finland and northwest Russia, there are considerable differences in land use and management of natural resources. These circumstances give an opportunity to comparative research on the impacts of various human-induced changes on nature.

In 1985 Finland and the Soviet Union signed an agreement concerning cooperation within the field of environmental protection. This was also the beginning of the Finnish-Russian Working Group on Nature Conservation. The agreement between Finland and Russia was renewed in 1992.

The first concrete achievement of the cooperation was establishment of the first Finnish-Russian twin park: the Friendship Park in the territories of Kuhmo and Kostamus was established in 1990. Vodlozero, the largest mire and forest national park in Europe, was established in the Republic of Karelia and the Arkhangelsk Region in 1991. In 1992 a national park was established also in Paanajärvi, in the northern part of the Republic of Karelia. The Oulanka National Park on the Finnish side of the border forms another twin park combination with the Paanajärvi National Park.

Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Northwest Russia

Developing the network of protected areas together with protecting endangered species is essential to fulfill the obligations of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Russia. In 2011 the list of new planned federal protected areas was approved by the authorities of the Russian Federation to be established by 2020. Onezhkoe Pomore National Park (established in 2013), Ladoga Skerries National Park and Eastern Gulf of Finland Nature Park (established in 2017) and Khibiny National Park (established in 2018) were few of the target areas of the Finnish-Russian nature conservation cooperation.

    The Finnish-Russian co-operation programme

    The Finnish-Russian Development Programme on Sustainable Forest Management and Conservation of Biodiversity in northwest Russia was established in 1997. The import of timber from Russia to Finland had increased and there had been conflicts between forestry and conservation interests.

    Due to the Programme's nature conservation projects in northwest Russia, the co-operation between the countries has increased. Moreover, it has been extended from the border regions to the other parts of northwest Russia. During these years a significant part of nature conservation activities between the countries has been implemented by this Programme. During the programme, over 50 nature conservation projects had been realized. The projects Gap analysis of nortwest Russia and Development of regional protected areas started in 2006 and were finalized in 2011.

    Cooperation in nature conservation continued after the programme in the forms of few projects, of which the biggest was the Barents Protected Area Network (BPAN).

    Forest and Nature newsletter

    Forest and nature is the newsletter of the Finnish-Russian Development Programme on Conservation of Biological Diversity and Sustainable Forest Management in Northwest Russia. The newsletter contains articles about nature conservation projects, seminars and publications of the Development Programme.

    Forest and nature newsletter (pdf)


    Forest and nature 2012

    Forest and nature 2010

    Forest and nature 2008

    Forest and nature 2007

    Forest and nature 2005-2006

    Forest and nature 2004

    Forest and nature 2003, part 1

    Forest and nature 2003, part 2

    Forest and nature 2002


    Published 2013-05-07 at 14:45, updated 2023-06-20 at 14:31
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