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.
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) 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.
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.
The rewilding efforts in the lake Kuivasjärvi basin have been awarded the regional "Best Water Action of the Year" in Pirkanmaa.
Hangasneva is a 12,5 hectare ecological corridor, with old growth forest, young forest and a peatland. It is directly connected to partially preserved Hangasneva peatland complex, 72 hectares. The site was included into the Landscape Rewilding Programme in November 2021.
Hangasneva rewilding site forms an ecological corridor with many ecological values left. The site is important because it is connected to the larger Hangasneva peatland on state lands.
The site has a OGF forest features as well as young forests. For example forest hare lives on the site.
It is worth noting that Hangasneva reflects a unique cultural heritage, implying the hunting of wild reindeer.
A three year large basin-wide rewilding action is concluded. Approximately 12 % of the loading to lake Kuivasjärvi has been stopped.
Catchment Restoration on Lake Kuivasjärvi ends. Kuivasjärvi is located in the Western Finnish community of Parkano. In summary, the project between 2019-2021 was able to
- rewild over 50 hectares of peatlands
- restore several kilometers of erosion prone ditches
- construct 5 landscape-relevant wetlands in the catchment areas
- acquire and restore Louhineva, a partially intact 90 hectare peatland into health and alleviate pollution from upstream sources on over 500 hectare wide action
Kuivasjärvi restoration efforts are one of the largest system-wide actions in the Landscape Rewilding Programme. 50 % of the costs were received from the Finnish state action on water protection.
Onkineva, over 200 hectare highly significant sub-Arctic fen mire and forest site joined the programme in early October. Pahajoenjänkä, a 104 hectare Arctic aapa mire maintains critically important waders and is an important reindeer herding area.
Two major ecosystem complexes have been added in October to the Landscape Rewilding Programme. Onkineva is located in the community of Kärsämäki, north-central Finland, and is the largest natural, little affected fen mire in the region. It is a home of for example endangered Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis), Western Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava) and Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola). Overall it is major regional bird sanctuary and stabilizes also the water quality on the locally important small lake, Onkilampi.
Pajajoenjänkä is a 105-hectare sub-Arctic aapa peatland rewilding site in Salla community in Lapland. It is an important site also for reindeer herding. It joins Landscape Rewilding network of Arctic aapa mires and is close to both EU Natura 2000 FI1301404 site Joutsenaapa - Kaita-aapa (12785 ha) and Kouteloaapa Rewilding site acquired earlier in 2021.
Snowchange Co-op has won the The St Andrews Prize for the Environment. It is one of the most prestigious and largest environmental global prizes. The award goes to the Landscape Rewilding Programme of Snowchange. The cash prize is 100,000 USD.
Tero Mustonen comments:
”We bow humbly in receiving this prize which we dedicate to the northern Indigenous and community women who lead the Snowchange work. Rewilding landscapes in Finland using traditional knowledge and science matters for all of Europe because of the migratory bird fly ways and large amount of peatlands we can restore. Our work also ratifies Saami indigenous rights in practice, even though unfortunately they are still not recognized by Finnish Government. We hope the global society joins us in a broad alliance to protect the boreal forests and Northern ecosystems of Finland.”
The St Andrews Prize for the Environment is a major international initiative led by the University of St Andrews that recognises and supports innovative and inspirational responses to environmental challenges, including the climate crisis.
Since 1998, the Prize has awarded more than $2 million in prize money across the world to individuals and organisations whose imaginative solutions are protecting the environment and promoting a more sustainable society. Now in its 23rd year, the Prize aims to champion the people and ideas addressing the greatest challenge of our age.
The St Andrews Prize for the Environment was established in 1998 by the University of St Andrews to recognise significant contributions to environmental conservation. Since its launch, the Prize has attracted almost 6,000 entries which cover everything from reducing human-animal conflict, to environmental justice, to reducing and eliminating waste, to urban regeneration.
There have been 22 winners, who have each received $100,000 to further develop and implement their projects while the runners up have each received $25,000.
Myllypuro stream in the Koitere area has been restored.
Myllypuro stream connecting lakes Valkealampi and Syväyslampi has been rewilded and restored as a part of the efforts of the Koitere rewilding actions. Hydrology, and stream ecology are functioning again.