Alien species in Finland

The Finnish Advisory Board for Invasive Alien Species was established on May 2013.

The Finnish Advisory Board for Invasive Alien Species functions as the Finland´s national expert body in matters relating to invasive alien species.

Tasks of the Finnish Advisory Board for Invasive Alien Species

Appointment decision on the Finnish Advisory Board on Invasive Alien Species

A national strategy to combat invasive alien species

Finland’s National Strategy on Invasive Alien Species was completed in April 2012. The purpose of the strategy is to prevent damages and risks caused by invasive alien species (IAS) to the Finnish nature, sustainable use of natural resources, livelihoods and well-being of the society and people. The strategy was adopted by a Government Resolution on 15 March 2012. The proposal for Finland's National Strategy on Invasive Alien Species was prepared in collaboration between a broadly-based working group and experts, involving a total of more than 100 people.

Download the new brochures here! (Available only in Finnish)

Puutarhan haitalliset vieraslajit -esite (Invasive alien species in gardens) [pdf, 543 KB]

Jättiputkiesite (Hogweeds) [pdf, 644 KB]

The objective of Finland’s National Strategy on Invasive Alien Species is to minimise the threat and damage caused by invasive alien species, both those already present in Finland and the potential ones. The aim is to take action at the earliest stage possible to combat invasive alien species, because this is the most effective and far less costly approach to prevent damages caused by IAS.

Invasive alien species and potentially or locally harmful alien species have been identified from among all alien species in Finland (in 2011).

Invasive alien species

A total of 157 invasive alien species permanently established in Finland which cause clearly identifiable, direct or indirect damage have been identified. A significant share of these species (100 species) are alien agricultural and forestry species. Some of them may also constitute a threat to the indigenous natural environment. Of the alien species in other groups, 5 occur in the territorial waters of Finland in the Baltic Sea, 5 in inland waters, 6 are land vertebrates, 24 are plant species, and 9 are indoor pests.

List of invasive alien species occurring in Finland

Potentially or locally harmful alien species

In addition, 123 potentially or locally harmful alien species which may cause direct or indirect damage have been identified in Finland. About a third of these are agricultural and forestry species. Most of the potentially or locally harmful alien species are already present in Finland, while some of these are still outside our national borders.

List of potentially or locally harmful alien species in Finland

Particularly harmful alien species

Particularly harmful alien species were classified into a specific category. These include dangerous plant pests or quarantine species (37), whose import and dissemination is prohibited by a directive in all EU Member States. Hogweeds, Japanese rose, crayfish plague, Spanish slug and [American] mink have been declared particularly harmful alien species in Finland. For these species immediate and systematic action must be taken to eradicate them, or at the very least to prevent their spreading and to mitigate their harmful impacts.

The Action Plan

Dealing with the harmful impacts of invasive alien species requires a clear division of responsibilities between actors and a wide range of measures. The Action Plan for Finland’s National Strategy on Invasive Alien Species puts forward 16 measures, 12 against all invasive alien species and 4 against specific groups of species.

The Action Plan for Finland's National Strategy on Invasive Alien Species

What are alien species?

Alien species are organisms which have spread from their natural distribution range to a new area through human action. In their new environment these undesired species may be a threat to native species, spread diseases, or change the structure of ecosystems. Worldwide, alien species are regarded as the second greatest threat to biodiversity.

Alien species have migrated, for instance, in wood packages, ballast water of ships, or through pathways built by humans, such as railways. Some species have been imported for commercial purposes. These include garden plants, game for hunting, and fish for aquaculture. Most of the alien species introduced to Finland (almost a thousand species) are not a threat to indigenous species, but some of them may cause serious ecological and economic damage.

The Nature Conservation Act states that non-native species are not to be released into the wild if there is cause to suspect that they may become permanently established there. It is almost impossible to eradicate the most harmful alien species which have become permanently established, which is why it is easier as well as more cost-efficient to prevent the spreading of the species.

Further information:

Johanna Niemivuo-Lahti
Tel. +358-40-358 5523
forename.surname(at)mmm.fi
[johanna.niemivuo-lahti]

Updated 7.1 2014

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