Helsinki’s forests to be maintained more naturally

The principles guiding the management plans and management of Helsinki's forests have been updated. The diversity of forests in Helsinki will be systematically increased and an increasing number of woodland areas will be left to age naturally. In forest management, preparations will also be made for climate change, increasing population and urban densification.
Metsän läpi kulkee ulkoilureitti ja reitin reunoilta on poistettu puita.
Photo: Aino Karilas / Sitowise

The principles factor in the forests' ability to cope with the pressures resulting from climate change, urban densification and population growth. The premise is that naturally diverse forests have an inherent ability to withstand such pressures. 

The new principles have been set in line with the City Strategy and its objectives related to nature management. The current forest management policies no longer reflect the objectives set out in the Strategy and the LUMO biodiversity programme pertaining to the diversity of urban nature and the natural ageing process of forests.

Recreational use and safety also taken into account in forest management

The diversity of forests in Helsinki will be systematically increased and forest areas will be left to age naturally. In addition to these key objectives, other aspects to be taken into account include the importance of woodland areas for recreational purposes and as a source of health and well-being for residents, the safety of being in the forest and the landscape values. 

To advance these objectives, fourteen principles have been identified, outlining the desired state and the forestry management practices leading to it, and providing background information.

Separate management plans for forests in nature reserves

The principles of forest management will apply to forests owned by the City of Helsinki, both within Helsinki itself and in other municipalities. The principles will guide the planning of nature and landscape management. Location-specific management and usage plans will always be created for nature reserves. When located in other municipalities, the land use plans and other management regulations of these municipalities will be observed. Helsinki does not have financial profit goals for the forests it owns. Additionally, land use planning will not be subject to the principles of forest management.

The Principles of Nature Management Part 1: Forests is available for viewing in Finnish at, under the section Katu- ja puistosuunnitelmat. Feedback can be submitted until 28 April 2024 via email to opens default mail program) and opens default mail program). 

The Urban Environment Committee will discuss the principles in May 2024, after which the more pragmatic nature management work instructions will be updated.