Friends of Ancient Forest

Friends of Ancient Forest is an association which aims at promoting conservation of forests. Up to our knowledge Finland has hitherto lacked an organised group with the single focus of forest conservation. Forests, however, deserve their own defenders; they represent the inaugural form of Finnish nature that was only briefly disturbed for the duration of the last ace age.

At present, the peacefully soughing woods of the wild are diminishing at an accelerating rate. In southern Finland, forests are clear-cut at an average rate of over 10 hectares each hour. Thus, urgent conservation efforts are needed. Few scattered splinters of ancient forest remain in the area. These woods still display natural ecological processes and they provide shelter for numerous endangered species.

Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation dates back to 1995. Its objective is to purchase above described natural forest refuges for conservation purposes. Forests are permanently protected under The Nature Conservation Act. Appropriate sites in need of protection are primarily searched for south of Province of Lappi as only few percent of the forests in the region are preserved. The association obtains forests for preservation via donation funds, which are used comprehensively for forest purchases. In the entire country, Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation has succeeded in obtaining 11 sites for protection.

Friends of Ancient Forest is an association which was formed in the spring of 2005 to provide support for Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation. The objective of Friends of the Ancient Forest is to promote the ethical and financial framework of conservation efforts undertaken by Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation. Financial support in particular is of a key importance, because the foundation uses all its funds without deductions to claim new sites. Thus the foundation is unable to meet other expenses resulting from various activities.

Friends of Ancient Forest facilitate Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation by providing funds for public relations, advertisement, communications, and travel costs. When necessary, expenses for rehabilitation of protected forests are also met. Periodically the association has been able to employ a clerk whose task amongst other things is to find appropriate new sites for conservation.

In addition to financial aid, Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation is also ethically supported by increasing public awareness of the foundation and assembles members of the public with interest for forest conservation. Friends of Ancient Forest distribute information about importance of forest conservation and activities of Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation by taking part in public occasions, organising events for members of the public and making the foundation familiar in published leaflets and articles.

Since founding of Friends of Ancient Forest, the activities of Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation have become increasingly efficient. Already in the first year, the foundation was able to acquire five new sites, which matched the total number of protected forest to that date. The part-time employee appointed by Friends of Ancient Forest can be widely attributed for the success. A significant amount of time was thus contributed to finding old growth forests, taking part in negotiations as well as other activities of the Foundation.

This experience proved that Friends of Ancient Forest are necessary to accomplish an efficient forest conservation effort. Members of Friends of Ancient Forest are united by a profound attachment to original unaltered forest habitat and the distress caused by its hindered persistence. The increasing number of species classified as endangered as well as how the loss of forests will affect the Finnish landscape and culture alarms Friends of Ancient Forest. Membership fees primarily fund the association - there are about 500 members now. Joining the association is a potent deposition for Finnish forests. We hope you can join us!

Members of Friends of Ancient Forest receive a membership bulletin regularly, which provides information on current events and recent undertakings of the association. The foundation also organises activities such as trekking in woods and voluntary management work in the protected forests as well as trips to culture events. Members are invited to participate in planning and organising activities or search and map advisable sites for future conservation. Members are free to contribute their resources up to their own interest and will.

Membership fee for Friends of Ancient Forest is 25 € annually. The family fee is 10 €, students, unemployed, and other parties of limited funds are invited at the fee of 17€. For support groups such as companies, businesses, and other organisations the minimum advised annual fee is 100€. The membership fee is to be paid towards Ikimetsän ystävät ry (Friends of Ancient Forest) account number 553701-253906, bank contact at Tampereen seudun Osuuspankki, IBAN FI32 5537 0120 0539 06, SWIFT (BIC) OKOYFIHH. Please enclose your name and address.

For more information about Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation, please follow the link.


Facts about the state of Finnish forests:

  • Approximately 20 000 species inhabit the Finnish forests 1600 of which are endangered.
  • The main reason for endangerment of species is the modern forestry business.
  • Approximately 100 species have gone extinct in Finnish Forests.
  • Forests are least protected in the southern part of the country: only 1-2 percent is presently protected. In the north, the situation is slightly better.
  • Undisturbed natural forests are extremely scarce, at most 5 % of forest-cover.

The remaining ancient forests ought to be protected contiguously in order to retain the biological, cultural, and social values of the forests.

Translation by Inkeri Lokki, BSc