First National Rewilding Center Opens in Tohmajärvi

Today the municipality of Tohmajärvi in North Karelia has sold the former school of Tietäväinen to Snowchange. The first rewilding center of Finland has been thus established.

The Tietäväinen school is located on the Asematie in the municipality of Tohmajärvi, a famous Karelian location. It has 2000 m2 of space. The building was originally built in 1971 and underwent large renovations in 2004 and 2017. It has several classrooms, a 160 seat auditorium for conferences and concerts and a fully equipped kitchen.
The building will be repurposed to house several Snowchange key work processes:
- fish storage and fish processing
- conferences and workshops
- public exhibits about the rewilding programme and Snowchange work over the past 20 years
- equipment depot
- Indigenous and traditional knowledge oral history archives

The organizational HQ will be transferred to Tohmajärvi, which is appr. 50 km from Selkie. Snowchange continues to operate field bases in Lieksa, Selkie, Mönni, Ilomantsi and other locations in North Karelia.



Lake Kuivasjärvi receives new funds for 2022

Lake Kuivasjärvi rewilding and restoration efforts in Western Finland have received a new substantial funding from the state and Landscape Rewilding Programme.

Lake Kuivasjärvi in Western Boreal has been the target of catchment-wide rewilding efforts since 2016 in partnership with a local NGO Pro Kuivasjärvi. 2nd May the regional authorities and Landscape Rewilding Programme agreed on a new year-long funding, totaling 47,000 €, to work in the northern parts of the lake basin.
Main actions will include peatland restoration, establishing peatland functions and erosion prevention. Lake Kuivasjärvi efforts won the best regional water project prize in 2021.



Traditional knowledge guides protection of planetary health in Finland

Mongabay News Service has a large story out on the Landscape Rewilding Programme. Scientists and Finnish traditional and Indigenous knowledge holders are collaborating to rewild and protect peatlands and associated forests and rivers, turning them into carbon sinks again, while bringing back wildlife and supporting fishing, hunting, and even tourism, offering economic benefits to local communities.



Two Old Growth Forests Herald the Spring

Two highly significant old growth forest sites, one in North Karelia and the other in Inari Sami home area herald the Spring 2022.

North Karelia:

Jaakonvaara is a old-growth forest area in the village of Jaakonvaara, Lieksa. It totals appr. 15 hectares of boreal natural forests. There is also a 1924 traditional Karelian-style pine log building and a 1987 log sauna on the site. Due to the old growth forest many boreal species can be found here.

Inari Sami home area:

Partakko is a Inari Sámi Indigenous forest area, totalling 26 hectares of preserved habitats including a small lake. has many ecological values left. It is next to Siuttajoki river.



Full survey of biodiversity of Linnunsuo Peatland available

Full survey of biodiversity of Linnunsuo available.

• The Aves group is the most studied taxonomic group in the area, as it has the biggest number of observed species and there is a lot of information about this group in the different sources used in this document. As we lack information about the rest of taxonomic sections (specially in Insecta and Tracheophyta), a larger study in these groups should be done in the area to get more information about them.
• As most of the observed species have been found in the wetland, a major study in the surroundings must be done to better represent the real biodiversity in the area.
• Almost 20% of the observed bird species nest in the wetland, which means that Linnunsuo is an important nesting spot.
• The 6% of the total species found in Linnunsuo aren’t assessed in the Red list of the Finnish species, which means that in Linnunsuo wetland. It’s possible to find some rarities of the Finnish fauna.
• Three invasive species have been found in the area (according to the IUCN): The Canadian goose (Branta canadensis), the American mink (Neovison vison) and the Racoon dog or Tanuki (Nyctereutes procyonoides). The only game species detected in the area is the common pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) and the only species introduced through human actions (deliberately released in the wetland) are the perch (Perca fluviatilis) and the roach (Rutilus rutilus).
• At a Finnish and European level, the most common conservation category in the area belongs to the “LC” status, which contains the species that are still abundant in the wild. The species included in this category aren’t currently threatened, but they’re also important for the area, as they play an important role in the ecosystem and their presence increases the richness of the area.
• Even if any species has been classified as “Data Deficient (DD)” at a Finnish or European level, some species (about 7% at a Finnish and European level, Figure 4 and 5) haven’t been assessed by the IUCN. These species can be found in all the groups observed in Linnunsuo area, except for the Reptilia and Actinopterygii groups. This lack of information could be explained by different reasons: Species that are considered rarities in any of the two studied levels, species that are classified as invasive species, taxonomic groups that are so diverse that are very difficult to study, etc.
• Even if most of the species are still abundant in the wild, we have to consider that Linnunsuo’s area (specially the wetland) is also a refuge for species that are threatened at a Finnish and European level. This means that Linnunsuo should work to its characteristics, and a long- term monitoring of the area should be done to record how the area will develop in the future.



Suomussalmi gets two important rewilding sites, at 75 hectares

Suomussalmi region in NE Finland is a new region for the rewilding actions. Näätimäisjoki (34 hectares) and Valkola (43 hectares) are important recovering ecosystems and are both interconnected with Nature 2000 sites.

Näätimäisjoki is a 34 hectare ecological corridor, with old growth forest, young forest, peatlands and most of the river course of Näätimäisjoki In Suomussalmi included. It is connected to the nearby Nature 2000 site Huuhkajanlehto (FI1200714), totalling 392 hectares that has 150 year old boreal forest intact.

Valkola rewilding area is 42,3 hectares that includes a river stream, decaying timber OGF forests, younger forests and a direct bordering to Riuskanselkonen (FI1200735) Nature 2000 area, totalling 4226 hectares.



Year Kicks Off With Major Conservation News

The Landscape Rewilding Programme and the state of Finland have agreed to formally protect 1139 hectares of peatlands and forest ecosystems in the Sub-Arctic. Lands continue to be owned by Snowchange and local community actions, including hunting, berry picking and rewilding actions will be continued.

Today the state environmental authority ELY-Keskus and Snowchange have agreed to conserve and protect in total 1139 hectares of peatland and forest ecosystems which are in the Landscape Rewilding Programme.

More specifically the following sites are now protected formally

1. Kallansuo, Pudasjärvi (130 ha)
2. Pitämisuo, Pudasjärvi (77 ha)
3. Onkineva, Kärsämäki (250 ha)
4. Kivisuo extension, Muhos (totaling at 682 ha)

All of these sites are regionally major biodiversity hotspots especially for the migratory and nesting birds, CSA sites for carbon stabilization and communally relevant locations. This level of action represents already a national significance in rewilding and conservation of critically important northern ecosystems.



Rautavaara (Ruʹvddvääʹrr), Skolt Sámi Indigenous forest area, joins the programme

Rautavaara (Ruʹvddvääʹrr) OGF is a Skolt Sámi Indigenous forest area, totalling 108 hectares of preserved and recoveting habitats in the Rautaperäjärvi lake basin has many ecological values left.

Rautavaara (Ruʹvddvääʹrr) OGF is a Skolt Sámi Indigenous forest in the north boreal. Capercaillies, black grouse and other forest birds can be found here. It is also an important reindeer herding area for the local cooperatives. The site covers most of the Ruʹvddvääʹr fjell and has several small rivers, ponds and other water bodies.



Odotana - Dragonflies Inventoried in Linnunsuo

Alicia Jarma and Ari Parviainen, biodiversity specialists, have inventoried in English and Finnish the species and scarcity / rarity of dragonflies on the rewilding site.

The report is available below.



Kuivasjärvi Rewilding Receives the Best Water Action of the Year

The rewilding efforts in the lake Kuivasjärvi basin have been awarded the regional "Best Water Action of the Year" in Pirkanmaa.

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