Sparsely populated, Finland is covered with forests and waterways. The coastal lowlands extend along the Gulfs of Finland and Bothnia, off which lie thousands of rocky islands; the lake district in the interior is dotted with lakes, swamps and bogs; and the northern upland, much of which lies north of the Arctic Circle, turns to tundra.
Due to Finland’s geographic position, the northern parts of the country experience long periods of darkness in winter and the white nights of summer.
Despite the pristine environment, Finland still faces a number of threats, which include air pollution from manufacturing and power plants, eutrophication from agriculture, and habitat loss and illegal hunting that threatens such wildlife as brown bear, lynx, wolf and wolverine. The flying squirrel, the white-backed woodpecker and the highly endangered freshwater saimaa seal, found only in small numbers in Finland’s Lake Saimaa, are also at risk.