The wild forest reindeer (Rangifer tarandus fennicus) was hunted to extinction in early 1900s in Finland. The last bull reindeer was killed in North Karelia, in Ilomantsi in 1918. Then, in 1960s, the stocks re-emerged slowly from Russian Karelia and spread to Western Boreal and into the Kuhmo region. Snowchange and the Landscape Rewilding Programme announce today a range of actions to support the wild reindeer.
Landscape Rewilding Programme announces a focus on securing more wild reindeer habitat and sites for recovery and restoration:
Matosuo peatland in Soini supports pastures and rewilding efforts are negotiated with Metsähallitus in Western Boreal
Ecological corridors have been established in Ähtäri municipality with intact peatlands, recovering forests and interconnected Nature 2000 sites in Oravasuo area, totaling with state lands over 400 hectares
Whole of the Naamanjoki river course has been secured to the LRP as well as Horneankoski forest, river course and peatlands in the northern expanse of Kuhmo municipality which are both ecological corridors and protected sites
In the occasional northern edge of the wild reindeer range in Muhos, Kivisuo peatland complex, currently at 650 hectares is expanded to 760 hectares of Snowchange lands to support other wildlife and reindeer habitat
We are also proud to announce early news of a 2023 Wild Reindeer book by award-winning Antti Leinonen, a National Geographic published wildlife photographer. This publication will feature traditional knowledge, unique photographs and materials regarding the Kuhmo reindeer.
ABLOY, a Finnish company joins in supporting the new Snowchange Rewilding Center in Tohmajärvi.
ABLOY will deliver state of the art locks and security solutions to the new HQ. ABLOY and Snowchange have already in the past collaborated on securing the scientific field station in Linnunsuo wetland.
ABLOY is a leader in safety and locking solutions leading to more trust in the world. By combining digital and mechanic solutions Abloy provides modern solutions for humans, property and business solutions as a part of the ASSA ABLOY group.
Onkamo lakes are a special watershed in North Karelia, Finland. The local association "Pro Onkamojärvet ry" is slowly winding down their operations after over a decade of community-led restoration. In June 2022 the association decided to hand over the baton to Landscape Rewilding Programme who will assume the responsibility.
Onkamo lakes are a historically rich cultural and biodiversity region that has suffered from nutrient and organic loading in modern history. Local associations have coordinated restoration efforts since 2000s. Now the association in a general meeting on the 11th June, 2022 has decided to coordinate with Landscape Rewilding Programme and Snowchange to transition these efforts in the future.
This will bring the total area of the Landscape Rewilding Programme into over 50,000 has.
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 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.
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 highly significant old growth forest sites, one in North Karelia and the other in Inari Sami home area herald the Spring 2022.
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 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 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.