Metsä Group has made the funding decisions for 2023 in its nature programme. Twenty-three projects were selected for funding to manage and restore Finland’s biodiversity. As a result of these selections, the projects are more diverse, and their geographical coverage is more extensive. Independent experts from the University of Eastern Finland, the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Sitra and the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK) participated in evaluating the project.
The themes of the projects selected for funding include watercourse improvement, restoration of flowing waters, removal of invasive species and predators, management of traditional habitats, restoration of wetlands and management of sandbanks. The nature programme does not fund activities in commercial forests, as these are developed as part of Metsä Group’s strategy for regenerative forestry.
“The nature programme’s visibility reached a new level this year, and we received a significant number of high-quality applications. People are clearly looking for joint action and a sense of community in nature-related work,” says Timo Lehesvirta, leading nature expert at Metsä Group.
The following projects received funding in the 2023 call for proposals:
- Sandy beach project in Etelä-Saimaa
- Management of traditional landscapes in Salo, Taivassalo and the Archipelago Sea
- Restoring sun-lit habitats in Kankaanpää
- Invasive predator trapping in the Archipelago Sea and a national invasive predator project
- Invasive species projects in Uusimaa and Loimaa
- Restoration of flowing waters and migratory fish projects in Lieksa, Kuusamo, Äänekoski, Viitasaari, Lapland, South Savo and South Karelia
- Projects related to the condition of water bodies in Mänttä-Vilppula, Central Finland, Ikaalinen, Southern Lapland, South Karelia and Kukkiajärvi.
“We welcome a wide range of funding channels to safeguard biodiversity. Metsä Group’s nature programme also directs funds from the private sector to social conservation initiatives, complementing the total range of social funding instruments,” says Jaana Husu-Kallio, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, who is a member of the nature programme’s advisory board.
Metsä Group’s nature programme is part of the company’s expanding efforts to safeguard biodiversity. The funding scheme will run for ten years, and 41 projects have been funded to date. During 2022–2023, Metsä Group’s funding amounts to EUR 1.2 million.
“We aim to promote practical action by encouraging people to open-minded cooperating for the benefit of nature. Project experts share their experiences and best practices in events built around the programme. This way, knowledge of nature is shared and conservation activities have a chance to develop,” says Lehesvirta.