Nature conservation has a long tradition in Kuopio. When it was founded in 1928, Puijo Nature Reserve was one of Finland's first nature conservation areas. Also Korkeakoski and Pisa core areas have been protected for a long time. Korkeakoski’s first protected area was established in 1947 and Pisa in 1963.
Approximately 6650 hectares in the Kuopio area are included in the national conservation programs. The largest area is the shore protection program (4 844 ha). Approximately 16,000 ha are included in the EU's Natura 2000 programme, which includes areas under the Nature Conservation Act, the Water Act, the Land Extraction Act and the Land Use and Building Act. The areas under the Nature Conservation Act are mainly contained in previous conservation programs.
The various types of nature protected area, mostly forest land, in the Kuopio region totals about 4,350 hectares. There are also state protected areas and areas acquired for the state for nature conservation purpose in that area. The majority of the Natura 2000 area booking and national programmes are included in the protected areas.
Nationally valuable scenic areas include Puijo, Pisa, North Sänkimäki-Sänkimäki and cultural landscapes of Lake Maaninka. The total surface area of these areas is over 11,000 ha.