With its endless expanse of coniferous forests, mires and lakes, the Boreal Region forms part of a distinct band of vegetation which circles the entire northern hemisphere. Habitat types blend seamlessly into one another, creating a characteristic mosaic landscape of forests and wetlands.
Along the coast, bedrock archipelagos intermingle with lowlying brackish fens and meadows, providing ideal nesting grounds for hundreds of thousands of migratory birds.
The Boreal Region of the European Union includes most of Sweden and Finland, all of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and much of the Baltic Sea. It has a relatively fl at topography, mostly below 500 m. To the north, the zone merges with the forest-tundra of the Arctic, to the west the ground rises up onto the Fennoscandian mountains and, in the south, there is a transition to the deciduous forests of the Continental Region.
Forests cover around 60% of the region and dominate the landscape. The majority is used commercially and is, consequently, of reduced conservation value compared to the original natural old-growth forests, which now account for less than 5–10% of the resource. The dominant forest type, known as western taiga, contains a mixture of Norway spruce Picea abies and Scots pine Pinus sylvestris.