Forests

Finland belongs to the northern boreal ecoregion in terms of its nature and climate. Special characteristics of the region include the combined effect of Arctic daylight hours and cool climatic conditions, a short growing season, mild winters, and the sensitivity of ecosystems characterised by snow and ground frost to even tiny regional and temporal changes in rainfall and temperature. The low pressure systems formed out in the Atlantic Ocean which regularly pass over Northern Europe create major temporal and regional variation in the region's weather conditions.

Finland is the most forested country in Europe, and forests cover approximately three quarters of the country's total area. Forests have a major significance to our national economy and cultural heritage, because forests produce both tangible and intangible commodities, act as a source of renewable raw material for the industrial sector, and provide Finns with numerous economic and recreational opportunities.

Boreal forests play an important part in the global nitrogen and carbon cycles, because they capture atmospheric carbon dioxide and store it in vegetation and the soil in the course of photosynthesis. Climate change affects natural cycles and may change carbon dynamics in forests considerably. 

Forests also have a major role as a habitat for many species. Even though the number of different species of trees found in our forests is small, the forest species found in the northern parts of Finland in particular are, thanks to the Gulf Stream, surprisingly diverse considering the latitude. The diversity and abundance of forest species may change, because the most vulnerable species are sensitive to climate change especially in Northern Finland.

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