Protected areas in the Barents region

Finland - Norway - Russia - Sweden 

  • Barents Protected Area Network - The aim is to promote and support a representative protected area network for conservation of biodiversity and boreal-arctic nature - especially forests and wetlands.
Regions Forests km2 National parks/km2 Number of
national parks 
Protected nature reserves / km2
Kainuu 16 600  45 1 1 300
Lapland 49 720 6 169 6 13 130
Oulu 23 500 615 4 2 500
Finnmark 832 1 564 3 264
Nordland 6 411 3 379 3 1 068
Troms 3 116 1 615 3 213
Arkhangelsk 220 860 4 392 2 2 428
Karelia 93 900 2 080 2 585
Komi 297 500 18 917 1 11 880
Murmansk 52 530 632   5 058
Nenets 1 910 1 130   3 134
Norrbotten 35 500 6 042 8 18 275
Västerbotten 31 920 11 1 8 000

Forests and protected areas in the Barents region, 2003


In national parks  nature protection is the primary function. The national parks are protected areas exemplifying the more valuable and characteristic habitats and land forms in the country, such as archipelago, lakes, forests, peatlands and fells.

Strict nature reserves   have been established for scientific reasons. They primarily serve the needs of nature conservation and research as well as, within certain limits, instruction. For studying changes in nature, they also act as control areas. The regulations applying to strict nature reserves are stricter than those in the national parks. It is generally not possible to move around in them without a written permit.

Wilderness reserves   are not nature reserves in the strict sense. They have been established in northernmost Lapland under the Act on Wilderness Reserves with the aim of preserving the wilderness character of these areas, safeguarding the Sami culture and nature- based forms of livelihood, and also of developing the multiple use of nature and the conditions required for this. The areas were protected in 1991. There are 12 wilderness reserves, with a total surface area of 14,890 The wilderness reserves are administered by Metsähallitus.

National Parks in northern Finland:  Urho KekkonenOulankaRiisitunturiSyöte

Other protected areas in Finland are: Mire reserves, Protected herb-rich forests and protected old-growth forests.

  • Kevo web walk - virtual walk trough Kevo nature park - only in Finnish


National parks    (clickable map)
National parks are large, relatively undisturbed natural areas, usually on state-owned land, set up to safeguard undisturbed countryside and to preserve Natures legacy for future generations. Another important objective has often been to maintain the possibility for traditional open-air recreation. In the national parks the natural environment and landscape together with the vegetation, animal life and any traces of human activity are protected from site development, contamination or other intervention.

Landscape preservation areas
Any special natural or cultural landscape where it is desirable to keep the character of the landscape can be designated as a landscape preservation area. In such areas traditional land use and agriculture may continue, but any activity that would essentially change the character of the landscape is prohibited.

Nature reserves
Nature reserves are usually small, almost undisturbed areas where the aim is to protect special habitats or animal communities, e.g. coniferous forest, wetlands, seabird colonies, etc. The areas often have a high scientific value. This is the strictest form of protection that can be applied.

National Parks in northern Norway, (maps and facts) :
BørgefjellSaltfjellet / SvartisenJunkerdalMøysalenRagoReisaStabbursdalenØvre AnàrjokaØvre DividalØvre PasvikÅnderdalen.


Russia has a unique system of protected areas, consisting of: Zapovedniks are established at the federal level, and are the highest level of protection in Russia. The main goals of the zapovedniks are ecosystem conservation, ecological monitoring, and education. Other functions filled by zapovedniks are restoration of rare and endangered species. Zapovedniks have permanent staff. There are currently 101 zapovedniks in the Russian Federation covering a total area of 338,000 square kilometers. 

Zakazniks are established typically for a particular time period and purpose, such as to preserve a rare plant community (botanicheski zakaznik) or a wildlife population needing to recover (zoologicheski zakaznik).  Zakazniks can be established on the regional level or the federal level. In 2006, there were 2,439 regional zakazniks in Russia, covering 438,000 square kilometers, and 68 federal zakazniks, covering 125,000 square kilometers.  

National parks (natsionalnyy park) are established on the federal level, have staff, and are open to the public. There are currently 40 national parks in the Russian Federation, covering 76,800 square kilometers. 

Regional nature parks (prirodnyy park) are under the jurisdiction of local, oblast, republic or kray authorities and serve recreational, educational, and conservation functions. In 2006, there were 56 regional nature parks covering 175,904 square kilometers.  

Natural monuments (pamyatnik prirody) can be established at the federal or regional level, although they are most common at the regional level. They are deserving of protection as unique natural, historic, cultural, or artistic sites and can be natural or man made. In 2006, there were 28 natural monuments at the federal level, covering 289 square kilometers, and 8,942 natural monuments at the regional level, covering 41,500 square kilometers. Russian Conservation News, Fall 2008


The basic idea of national parks is to preserve parts of national cultural heritage for future generations. According to Swedish law, the national parks are to be representative biotopes which are preserved in their natural state, but also beautiful unique environments which have experiences to offer. Another idea is also to give people the opportunity of getting into the forest and countryside. Most national parks have hiking trails and some have information centres. Some also have places where you can stay the night.

  • National Parks in Sweden - This website from Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, covers the country’s National Parks.