Flying Squirrel LIFE

Kuopio is involved in an extensive EU project coordinated by Metsähallitus’ Parks & Wildlife Finland unit, the aim of which is to safeguard the favourable conservation status of the flying squirrel. The project started on 1 August 2018 and will continue until spring 2025.

The budget for the entire project is approximately EUR 8.9 million, of which the share of the City of Kuopio and the Kuopio Museum of Natural History is approximately EUR 630,000. In addition to cities, many actors from the forest sector and voluntary organisations are involved. In total, there are 18 partners, including Estonia, so the project covers the entire European range of the flying squirrel.

Among other things, Kuopio aims to develop operating methods for coordinating the protection of flying squirrels and land use planning together with Espoo and Jyväskylä, who are also participating in the project. Kuopio is also involved in developing methods for treating recreational forests in urban areas that reconcile the protection of flying squirrels and the needs of residents and hikers. In addition, Kuopio monitors the state of the flying squirrel population in the central urban area, improves the mobility of flying squirrels by planting trees and strengthens the flying squirrel population in recreational and conservation forests by offering enclosed nesting.

The Kuopio Museum of Natural History participates in the project with a versatile section related to environmental education and communication. The project involves hiring an envoy to organise lessons on flying squirrels in primary schools in Kuopio. Excursions, lectures and panel discussions are organised for the general public, and the museum also produces a travelling exhibition on flying squirrels.

LIFE is an EU funding scheme to promote the conservation objectives of Natura 2000 sites and to safeguard the favourable conservation status of species under the Habitats Directive. The flying squirrel is a strictly protected species of Annex IV to the Habitats Directive with unfavourable population development. The greatest threat is the reduction of suitable habitats. Projects focusing on species in Annex IV of the Habitats Directive have the possibility to receive up to 75 per cent of EU funding for the costs of the measures.

Consideration of flying squirrel in urban planning – Guide to good practices

A guide prepared by the partner cities of the Flying Squirrel LIFE project (Espoo, Jyväskylä, Kuopio) was published in 2021. The guide offers a look at good practices for coordinating the protection of the flying squirrel and land use planning.

The guide presents methods and tools recognised as good in the project cities, with which the habitat networks of the flying squirrel can be secured at the municipal level. The guide covers issues such as flying squirrel surveys and information management, land use planning and implementation, building projects and management of local and recreational forests owned by the city. The guide reviews the deviation permit process and discusses the use of mitigation measures in flying squirrel issues. The text also includes practical examples of the application of different operating methods in project cities.

The guide is primarily aimed at other municipalities, cities and authorities, but it also serves as an information package for city residents and organisations interested in flying squirrels and urban planning. The guide can also be applied to the protection of other species.

Flying squirrel in urban planning – Guide to good practices (pdf)

LIFE funding from the European Union has been received to produce the material. The content of the material reflects the views of its authors. The European Commission is not responsible for the use of the information contained in the material.

Contact information

Anniina Le Tortorec

Environmental protection planner

+358 44 718 2143