Biodiversity is a prerequisite for nature's ability to adapt to different conditions. It allows for the existence of species specialized for various conditions in almost every corner of our planet. Both inter-species and intra-species biodiversity are also prerequisites for nature's ability to adapt to changes in conditions. 

Despite its adaptability, the biodiversity of nature has been and continues to be depleted at an alarming rate. This depletion does not only refer to the extinction of certain species, but also to the impoverishment occurring within species and populations, as well as in the quantity and quality of habitats or ecosystems.

A change in even one aspect of biodiversity can affect the functioning and stability of ecosystems locally or globally, and ultimately, the well-being of humans through the ecosystem services provided by nature. Globally, the primary causes of biodiversity loss are changes in land and marine use, intensive exploitation of animal, plant, and fish stocks, as well as climate change, pollution, and invasive species.

In Finland, it is estimated that there are around 50,000 animal, fungal, and plant species, with approximately 20,000 of them living in forests. Most forest species can be found in lush habitats, but the species count is also high where there is plenty of dead wood. Around 2,250 of our forest species are endangered, with the majority being fungi and invertebrates. Forest biodiversity has been particularly affected by forestry, but climate change is also a significant threat to forest species 

Efforts have been made in Finland to halt the decline in biodiversity through various measures and legislation. According to an assessment by the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) and the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Finland's natural biodiversity has continued to decline over the past decade. However, the direction of this trend can be reversed by considering biodiversity in all decision-making processes in the future.

The most effective actions to promote biodiversity are believed to include extensive cooperation, independent implementation, sufficient funding, and impactful knowledge production. Examples of current measures include the METSO program, which safeguards the biodiversity of Southern Finland's forests, several EU-funded LIFE projects, and nature communication initiatives.


Forest biodiversity in the management of state forests

Metsähallitus, responsible for the management of state forests, is involved in developing biodiversity-friendly forestry through EU LIFE projects and research collaboration. Increasing emphasis is placed on active conservation of forest biodiversity in state forests, including the restoration of bogs and management of deciduous forests and open habitats. By Metsähallitus' own decision, nature and special conservation sites are excluded from forestry activities or subjected to limited management. 

One of the most significant factors for biodiversity is the amount of deadwood in protected areas and commercial forests. The National Forest Inventory (NFI) has been monitoring deadwood since the late 1990s. The most recent measurements were conducted between 2014 and 2016. According to these surveys, the average amount of deadwood in forested areas is 4.4 cubic meters per hectare in Southern Finland and 7.2 cubic meters per hectare in Northern Finland. In Southern Finland, the amount of deadwood has increased since the 2000s, while it has decreased in Northern Finland. Increasing the amount of deadwood is one of Metsähallitus' biodiversity goals, and since 2018, all deadwood has been left in harvesting areas.

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