Metsä Group established a ten-year initiative in the autumn of 2021 to assist regionally effective development projects that are carried out outside commercial Finnish woods and protect biodiversity and water quality. The projects might be on bird waters and wetlands, watercourse routes, tiny bodies of water and coastal ecosystems, pollinator habitats, or novel water protection technologies.
The initial round of applications, which closed in late November 2021, had around 40 projects. The following initiatives were the first to be chosen for the programme, with a total financial expenditure of around EUR 350,000 by Metsä Group.
- Repair and rehabilitation of the Virtaankoski dam on the Tainionvirta river in Sysmä
- Simpele’s Hiitolanjoki River is being rehabilitated and repaired
- In Lemi, wetlands are being maintained and repaired, and soil enhancement compounds suited for preserving agricultural nutrients are being tested (“Kuuksenenselkä kuntoon” project)
- Improvement of the huge Arctic char’s life circumstances in southern Saimaa and Kuolimo (“Pro Nieriä” initiative)
- Pieni Pyhävesi, the headwater lake of the Kymijoki river near Mäntyharju, is being repaired
- Alavus, Urjala, and Orimattila wetlands projects
“I’ would really like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all candidates. We were sent a slew of intriguing proposals to evaluate. The selected projects improve the status of nature in a clearly provable way, and their execution is properly planned,” says Tomi Salo, Metsä Group’s SVP, Corporate Affairs.
Every six months, new projects will be chosen for Metsä Group’s nature management programme. The next round of choices will be made in June 2022, with applications due by the end of May 2022. In February 2022, the next round of applications will be open. At the same time, detailed instructions will be made available.
For funding to be granted, the project must have demonstrated positive impacts on biodiversity or water quality, the applicant must have provided Metsä Group with accurate and adequate information about the funded project, an analysis of different sources of funding must have been performed, the project must be launched in accordance with the application, and the applicant must meet the monitoring and reporting requirements.
Metsä Group collaborates with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Ministry of Environment, the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, the University of Eastern Finland, and the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners in project evaluations (MTK).
“We wish to promote the status of the Finnish environment on a broad scale, even outside of commercial forests. The initial projects chosen for the initiative are concerned with rivers. We want parties to more actively propose initiatives including, for example, pollinators, birds, and innovative technology for boosting biodiversity and water quality,” adds Tomi Salo.
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