The Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation is a non-governmental organization that promotes protection of old growth forests. The foundation has been active since its establishment in 1995, purchasing old untouched forests with donation funds and applying for a permanent protection for them according to the Nature Conservation Act. In Finland, a mere two percent of the woodland south of the Province of Lapland is under legal protection. This is why the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation's primary goal is to purchase forest sites from the southern and middle parts of the country.
At the moment (2013) the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation owns 35 protected sites, which the foundation has acquired in 46 separate transactions. At this time, the woodland sites protected by the foundation cover appr. 630 hectares. It is notable that all these sites consist of dense forests, except a few swamp and meadow areas.
When searching for appropriate sites, the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation focuses on old forests that haven’t been cut and display a high degree of biodiversity. Generally speaking, the trees in a suitable forest represent numerous species and different life stages from saplings to full-grown trees and decaying ones.
In order to find suitable sites, the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation collaborates with public authorities represented by the regional environmental centres.
A board of twelve permanent members and three deputy members governs the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation. At the moment, the foundation employs one full-time and two part-time workers. The office is situated in Hämeenlinna.