Photo: Hannu Vallas. Lemmenjoki, Finland.
Finland ratified the Ramsar Convention in 1975 among the first parties. Today Finland has 49 wetlands which are designated for the Ramsar List. The total area of these 49 areas is 785 780 hectares. Metsähallitus, Natural Heritage Services manages 22,5 and Economic, Traffic and Environment Centres manages 24,5 Ramsar sites. Two of the sites are located in the autonomous province of Åland.
All the Ramsar sites are also included in the Natura 2000 network and the boundaries of the Ramsar areas follow the boundaries of the Natura areas. Ramsar sites are also included to the national conservation programmes covering mires, bird wetlands and shores. Managing Ramsar sites supports implementing of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD).
Finland is often called the land of the thousand lakes. In fact there are 187 888 lakes if we include the lakes and ponds which are at least 0,5 hectares in area. 56 000 of these are bigger than 1 hectare. Despite the large number of the lakes the capacity is only about 235 square litres which corresponds to one quarter of the capacity of the biggest lake in Europe, Lake Ladoga. All lakes are suitable habitats for waterbirds. Also mires are very important wetland habitats for many waterbirds. About 2,5% of the total mire area of the world is situated in Finland. 24 of the 49 Ramsar sites in Finland are mire complexes making them the most important wetland type in Finland.
According to RIS the dominant wetland types in Finland are: Non-forested peatlands, forested peatlands, permanent shallow marine waters and permanent freshwater lakes.
Wetland habitat types in Finland are the Baltic Sea and its coasts, inland waters and shores, mires, forests (alluvial forests) and traditional rural biotopes.
Ramsar sites in Finland
Waterfowl was the most important criteria for nominating mires, bay and archipelago areas and birdlakes for Ramsar sites.
There are several significant archipelago areas among the Ramsar wetlands of Finland, among them Söderskär-Långören in the Gulf of Finland, Björkör and Lågskär and Signilskär-Märket in Åland, Valassaaret-Björkögrund and Mikkelinsaaret in the Kvarken, and Krunnit in the northern Guld of Bothnia. The most significant bay areas are Liminganlahti and the coastal meadows and bays of Hailuoto.
Estuary of Kokemäenjoki and the bays Preiviikinlahti and Mietoistenlahti and several bays in Ostrobothnia forms a chain of rest places at the migration route along the eastern coast of the Gulf of Bothnia.
Bird-rich waters like Hanko, Vanhankaupunginlahti and Laajalahti in Helsinki, Ruskis, Pernajanlahti, Kirkkojärvi, Lupinlahti and Kirkon-Vilkkiläntyrä are located along the Gulf of Finland. Siikalahti is among the most significant lake areas. Various types of lakes with various types of bird fauna are represented by such areas as Koskeljärvi and Otajärvi and the Puurijärvi-Isosuo National Park and the bird-rich lakes of Rääkkylä and Kitee and the lakes of Haapavesi.
The mire complex areas among the Ramsar areas represent all types of mire complexes in Finland. Among the areas are Torronsuo national park in southern Finland, Levaneva and Pilvineva in western Finland, Patvinsuo and Kesonsuo in eastern Finland, Veneneva-Pelso and Olvassuo in Northern Ostrobothnia and Martimoaapa and Sammuttijänkä in Lapland.
Further information about the Ramsar Sites in Finland:
Liminganlahti Wetland Centre
The first Ramsar Wetland Centre in Finland was opened in 2012 at Liminganlahti which is one of the Ramsar sites and internationally important bird areas in Finland. The Wetland Centre's task is to increase awareness of the significance of the wetlands for biodiversity and people.
The aim of the centre is to improve communication on the best practices and projects related to management and maintenance of wetlands and to build a network of wetland specialists.
Centre has Nature Exhibition of Birds and Wetlands. There is also network of bird watching towers in the area. Centre gathers available know-how and organizes courses and seminars in cooperation with its partners, coordinates World Wetlands Day events in Finland and maintains a material bank of wetland publications.
The wetland centre coordinates CEPA work in Finland.
More information: Liminganlahti Wetland Centre
Ramsar organization in Finland
AA: Ministry of the Environment: Kristiina Niikkonen
NFP: Tuula Kurikka, Metsähallitus, tuula.kurikka (at) metsa.fi
CEPA GOV: Sari Airas, Metsähallitus, sari.airas (at) metsa.fi
CEPA NGO: Hannu Klemola, Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, varsinais-suomi (at) sll.fi
SRTP NFP: Jari Ilmonen, Metsähallitus, jari.ilmonen (at) metsa.fi
Wetlands committee has been nominated in spring 2013.