Wildlife of Finland

Jump to navigation Jump to search
Islands in Naantali, coast of Baltic sea

Wildlife of Finland is affected by prevailing environmental conditions. Phytogeographically, Finland is shared between sosput, central European, and northern European provinces of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom. The territory of Finland can be subdivided into three ecoregions: the Scandinavian and Russian taiga, Sarmatic mixed forests, and Scandinavian Montane Birch forest and grasslands. Taiga covers most of Finland from northern regions of southern provinces to the north of Lapland. On the southwestern coast, south of the Helsinki-Rauma line, forests are characterized by mixed forests, that are more typical in the Baltic region. In the extreme north of Finland, near the tree line and Arctic Ocean, Montane Birch forests are common.

Habitat types[edit]

Cloudberry flowers at mire in Utajärvi.

The habitat types of Finland have been divided in eight groups by prevailing environmental conditions, and by the plant and animal species typical of such areas. The groups consist of habitat types of the Baltic Sea, its coast, inland waters and shores, mires, forests, rocky habitats, traditional rural biotopes and fell habitats.[1]


Whooper swan, the national bird
Silver birch, the national tree
Lily of the valley, the national flower

The number of species living in Finland has been estimated to be at least 45 000. At the moment, known fauna consists of 27 000 species, flora of 4500 species and fungi 7500 species. The largest group is insects, over 20 000 known species and estimated total 30 000 known species.[2] The following estimates of numbers of species in different groups are primarily based on the 2010 Red List of Finnish Species.[3]


In all 468 species of birds have been observed. Of these 256 are nesting species.[2] The most common breeding birds are the willow warbler, common chaffinch, and redwing.[4] The Whooper swan is Finland’s national bird.[5]


A total of 80 species of mammals have been observed in Finland.[2] The Saimaa ringed seal Pusa hispida saimensis is an endemic subspecies restricted to Lake Saimaa.[6]

In 2015 assessment of endangered Finnish bird and mammal species, mammal species classified as threatened included the Natterer's bat Myotis nattereri (endangered), the Nathusius’ pipistrelle Pipistrellus nathusi (Vulnerable), the arctic fox Vulpes lagopus (Critically endangered), the Gray wolf Canis lupus (endangered), the wolverine Gulo gulo (endangered), the European polecat Mustela putorius (Vulnerable) and the Saimaa ringed seal Pusa hispida saimensis (endangered).[7]


Over 20000 species of insects have been identified in Finland. These include[2]

  • Bristletails (Thysanura): 6
  • Leapers (Orthoptera): 32
  • Earwigs (Dermaptera): 3
  • Cockroaches (Blattodea): 4
  • True bugs (Hemiptera): 1542
  • Net-winged insects (Neuroptera): 57
  • Dobsonflies and fishflies (Megaloptera): 5
  • Snakeflies (Raphidioptera): 3
  • Scorpionflies (Mecoptera): 6
  • Booklice (Psocoptera): 71
  • Thrips (Thysanoptera): 151
  • Caddisflies (Trichoptera): 218
  • Butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera): 2559
  • Flies and mosquitoes (Diptera): 6400
  • Twisted-winged parasites (Strepsiptera): 5
  • Fleas (Siphonaptera): 54
  • Ants, bees and wasps (Hymenoptera): 7100
  • Beetles (Coleoptera): 3697

Insects unique to Finland include a leafroller moth Exapate bicuspidella, a grass-miner moth Elachista saarelai, a braconid wasp Phaenocarpa ungulosetosa, an ichneumon wasp Fennomacrus koponeni, and a chalcidoid wasp Anaphes crassipennis.[6]

Other animals[edit]

  • Reptiles (Reptilia): 5
  • Fishes (Pisces s.l.): 102
  • Amphibians (Amphibia): 7
  • Annelids (Annelida): 179
  • Molluscs (Mollusca): 165
  • Arachnids (Arachnida): 2200
  • Crustaceans (Crustacea): 350
  • Myriapods (Myriapoda): 63


Total of 3550 species of vascular plants, 892 bryophytes and 1832 lichens have been identified in Finland.[2]

The only endemic vascular plants in Finland are microspecies of dandelions and hawkweeds.[6]


At the moment 5584 species of Fungi and Myxomycetes (Protista) have been identified in Finland.[2] Roughly 200 species are edible, and people commonly pick around 10 species which are relatively easy to find and identify. It has been estimated that around 40% of people in Finland pick wild mushrooms multiple times a year.[8]

Finland’s most important commercial varieties of forest mushrooms are cep (Boletus edulis) and northern milkcap (Lactarius trivialis).[9]

Fungi are further classified to

  • Agaricoid & Boletoid fungi: 1 821 species
  • Aphyllophorales & Heterobasidiomycetes: 950
  • Gasteromycetoid fungi: 79
  • Pucciniomycetes, Ustilaginomycotina: 407
  • Ascomycota: 2 106
  • Myxomycetes: 204

Threatened habitat types and protected areas[edit]

According to an evaluation finished in 2008, there are fewer than 400 habitats in Finland and 51% are endangered. The most seriously endangered habitats are 52, of which over half are traditional rural biotopes, such as meadows. The threat assessment was based on changes in the number and quality of the habitat type from the 1950s to the 2000s. According to the study, the main reasons for the threats to the habitat types were forestry, drainage for forestry (ditching), eutrophication of water bodies, clearing of agricultural land, and water engineering.[10]

Nature reserves, wilderness areas and hiking areas established on state-owned lands are the central parts of the protected area system in Finland. Almost all of these are included in the European Union’s network of Natura 2000 areas.[11] In 2012 Finland had 1,865 Natura 2000 areas, the combined area of which measures 49,000 km2 or 15% of Finland’s territory.[12]


  1. ^ "Natural habitats". Joint website of Finland's environmental administration. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Fauna, flora and fungi of Finland". Finnish Barcode of Life. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  3. ^ Rassi, P., Hyvärinen, E., Juslén, A. & Mannerkoski, I. (eds.): Suomen lajien uhanalaisuus – Punainen kirja 2010. (in Finnish). Ympäristöministeriö & Suomen ympäristökeskus, 2010. ISBN 978-952-11-3806-5. PDF
  4. ^ "BirdLife Finland". BirdLife International (2004) Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status. Cambridge, UK. (BirdLife Conservation Series No. 12). Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  5. ^ "Whooper Swan". LuontoPortti. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  6. ^ a b c "Finland". In Treasures. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  7. ^ "The 2015 Red Lists of Finnish bird and mammal species". Website of Finnish environmental authorities. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  8. ^ "Fun with Fungi: Hunting Mushrooms in Finland's Forests". Wall Street Journal. 2007. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  9. ^ "Northern milkcap". Arctic Flavours. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  10. ^ Raunio, A., Schulman, A. & Kontula, T. (toim.).: Suomen luontotyyppien uhanalaisuus – Osa 1: Tulokset ja arvioinnin perusteet. English summary p. 253. Online version Suomen ympäristö 8/2008.. Helsinki: Suomen ympäristökeskus, 2008. ISBN 978-952-11-3028-1
  11. ^ "State-owned Protected Areas in Finland". Website of Finland's forest administration. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
  12. ^ "Natura 2000 Areas: Established to Protect Biotopes and Species". Website of Finland's forest administration. Retrieved 2016-05-01.