Regenerative land use supports biodiversity in the built environment

By regenerative land use, we mean supporting biodiversity in the built environment, such as in the area of ​​our mill sites.

The objective of regenerative land use

Our goal is to create operating models and methods that support biodiversity in the built environment. We want to be developing an international operating model, the aim of which is to create a change in the land use of the built environment. 

Biodiversity plans are made for the mill sites and the surrounding lands owned by Metsä Group. The Kemi mill site and its surroundings serve as a pilot site. The plans are made for all Metsä Group's 25 mill locations.

The biodiversity plans don't change the main purpose of the areas for industrial production, and the built environment remains appropriate and safe in terms of its industrial use. Strengthening the state of nature is carried out in areas that are not important in terms of industrial production, such as noise barriers, former lawns and industrial wastelands. There are many such areas in mill sites.

Photos from Kemi pilot site

Terek Sandpiper (Xenus cinereus) is one of the rarest breeding birds in Europe. The European population is less than 10 pairs and about half of the population breeds in the Kemi mill area.
The collection of local seeds, which started in the summer of 2023, has been done by hand
The aim of hand-picking is to use only seeds from plants of local strains in order to preserve genetic diversity.
Bluntleaf sandwort (Moehringia lateriflora) found in Lapland is a protected species due to its decline
The collected seeds must be dried so that they are preserved for next year's sowing
Species are interdependent. Geranium sylvaticum is an important food plant for the endangered bluewing (Aricia nicias)
The seeds of the collected wild plants are sown by hand in the Kemi mill site

Principles of regenerative land use

  1. 1

    Implement solutions that maintain and enhance the native character of the local nature

    The key to planning is to analyse and identify the natural characteristics of the surrounding area, its habitats and the natural species adapted to them. The planning will support the habitats of species naturally occurring in the area by reinforcing the habitats typical of the area. The dependence of different species and species groups on different natural resources and resource combinations will be recognised and these features will be created and replicated in the built environment. Populations of native plant species that are genetically representative of a local strain are preferred for sowing and planting.

  2. 2

    Support the presence of endangered species in the built environment

    Species of conservation concern will be a cross-cutting theme across all habitats and species groups. The presence of endangered species and the maintenance and enhancement of their occurrence is a key planning objective. In situations requiring an official permit, regulatory permits and conditions will be applied. Vegetation planning will recognise the importance of plant species that are food plants for threatened insect species.

  3. 3

    Safeguarding the local and culture-historical importance of the site

    The aim of the planning is to identify the species that have been present in the area at different times as an asset. Those conservation, in addition to biodiversity, is a means of enhancing the local historical significance of the area. Plant species of cultural and historical value may be ancient species, archaeophytes, that spread in the early 17th century or earlier, or neophytes, new species that spread later as a result of human activity.

  4. 4

    Identification and conservation of species reflecting local industrial history

    Industrial sites inhabit species that have been transported to the site by industrial activity, for example, as seed deposits with soil. Industrial activity also creates habitats to which certain species are adapted. These species are part of the species to be maintained on the industrial site and are recognised as part of the local cultural history. The industrial history of the site will be demonstrated as part of a locally developed biodiversity complex. In Kemi, such species include the Terek Sandpiper (Xenus cinereus) and the Wood Cow-wheat (Melampyrum nemorosum).

  5. 5

    Prevent invasive alien species in line with national targets

    The prevention of invasive alien species found in the area will be carried out on a planned and case-by-case basis. In the case of plant species, prevention will be carried out and monitoring will continue in order to prevent possible new occurrences and minimise damages. Invasive animal species populations will be controlled and monitored through active cooperation within local communities.

  6. 6

    Identify and safeguard ecosystem services in the area as municipal services

    Planning will identify locally important ecosystem services and guide nature-based solutions to deliver practical benefits to local residents and other users. Built environment nature solutions and urban nature play a wide range of roles as a living environment for people. Nature solutions have a key impact on human health, well-being, safety and security, including flood protection, air and water quality, recreation and leisure opportunities. The ecosystem services provided by nature as municipal services can be a significant attraction factor for a municipality.

  7. 7

    Creating a sense of community and working together locally

    The planning process will engage citizen and local communities through dialogue, community events and concrete projects. Nature reinforcing activities aim to create a spirit of cooperation that is respectful and rewarding for all. Shared action builds a shared positive vision of the future, and relationships with nature are given the opportunity to develop. Private sector biodiversity objectives and measures complement the objectives and obligations of the public sector and environmental authorities.

  8. 8

    Supporting and developing nature solutions for environmental education

    Planning for implementations with natural solutions in the urban environment that support environmental education. These solutions can be based as much on functionality and play as on information content to support curricular objectives. The local urban environment will be developed as an inspiring environment for experiences and learning for all ages, with an emphasis on stimulating and sensory experiences of nature.

  9. 9

    Combining art and culture with science-based solutions to support the natural environment

    The planning aims to strengthen the role of nature as a local cultural value. Art will be given the opportunity to be integrated into nature-themed spatial art, and attention will be paid to the visual appearance of the solutions. Nature-themed works may be commissioned or, on a case-by-case basis, open calls may be organised to raise awareness of the plans and their objectives.

  10. 10

    Innovating new approaches to the development of regenerative land use

    In the built environment, new techniques, methods and approaches for nature management and ecological restoration will be tested and developed to reinforce biodiversity in the built environment. The utilisation of industrial by-products will enable the innovation of new growing mediums. Adequate experience of the different solutions will allow the mainstreaming of best practices. Experiences with novel nature solutions will be documented and described in a transparent way so that other actors in Finland and abroad can benefit from the lessons learned in the process.