In the autumn of 2021, Metsä Group launched a ten-year programme to support regionally effective development projects that are carried out outside commercial Finnish forests and support biodiversity and the state of waters. The projects may relate to bird waters and wetlands, watercourse routes, small waters and coastal environments, pollinator habitats or new water protection methods.
Nearly 40 projects took part in the first round of applications, which ended in late November 2021. The following projects were the first to be selected for the programme, with a total financial investment by Metsä Group of approximately EUR 350,000.
- Rehabilitation and repair of the Virtaankoski dam in Tainionvirta river in Sysmä
- Rehabilitation and repair of Hiitolanjoki river in Simpele
- Maintenance and repair of wetlands and test use of soil improvement substances suitable for the retaining of agricultural nutrients in Lemi (“Kuuksenenselkä kuntoon” project)
- Improvement of the living conditions of the large Arctic char in southern Saimaa and Kuolimo (“Pro Nieriä” project)
- Repair work of Pieni Pyhävesi, headwater lake of the Kymijoki waterway in Mäntyharju
- Wetland projects in Alavus, Urjala and Orimattila
“A big thank you to all applicants. We received numerous interesting projects for evaluation. The selected projects improve the state of nature in a clearly verifiable way and their implementation is well planned,” says Tomi Salo, SVP, Corporate Affairs, at Metsä Group.
New projects will be selected for Metsä Group’s nature management programme every six months. The next selections will be made in June 2022, and the deadline for applications will be at the end of May 2022. The next round of applications will be opened in February 2022. Detailed instructions will be published at the same time.
For funding to be granted, the project must have proven positive impacts on biodiversity or the state of waters, the applicant must have provided Metsä Group with accurate and adequate information about the funded project, an analysis must have been carried out on different sources of funding, the project must be launched in accordance with the application, and the applicant must meet the monitoring and reporting requirements.
In project assessments, Metsä Group cooperates with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Ministry of the Environment, the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, the University of Eastern Finland and the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK).
“We want to support the state of Finnish nature on a wide front, also outside commercial forests. The first projects selected for the programme focus on waterways. We encourage parties to more actively propose projects also related to, for example, pollinators, birds and new technologies for improving biodiversity and the state of waters,” says Tomi Salo.