The Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation was recently given 30.5 hectares of land as a gift by Heino Jokelainen from Siikalatva in Northern Ostrobothnia.
According to the terms of the donation, the Foundation is obligated to make sure that the area is placed under protection within a year from the day of the signing of the documents.This was important to Heino - being sure that the Laitakangas and Tuohisaari surrounded by mires are truly allowed to develop in peace and serve as a home for both animals and plants.
Laitakangas-Tuohisaari is no old-growth forest yet. Two thirds of the upcoming Laitakangas-Tuohisaari conservation area consists of peatland. The draining of these lands has been just as systematic as anywhere in the surrounding areas, but from nature’s perspective, they were luckily to drained already in the 1960s. In those days, the drainage was completed by ploughing, which made the ditches shallow and narrow compared to modern ones, and for this reason, their influence on nature remained limited.
The protection measures will likely include us taking an active role in speeding up the process of blocking the ditches and restoring the original ecosystem of the swamp. This means that the significant carbon sink no longer flies into the air but remains in the ground, where it can start growing and do its part in slowing down the global warming.
The Laitakangas-Tuohisaari forests are currently either young or middle-aged in the scale of commercial forests. Their potential is clear, however. There is no harm caused to the soil by loggings, and there are aspens and goat willows growing in great numbers on the heaths, which all contributes to nature’s diversity.
At the first impression, the moose and the hare, in particular, seem to the species that enjoy living in this forest. In the middle of the winter, there were observations of the willow tit and the crested tit, which have both become so rare that they are now considered endangered.
Heino Jokelainen decided to donate the area on his 68th birthday. What a marvellous gift to the future – the upcoming generations of both forest birds and people who long for the peace that only a forest can provide.
Laitakangas-Tuohisaari is located in the Hyvärilä region of Pulkkila in Siikalatva, east of the grand peat production area of Kivisuo. See the place on the map of the National Land Survey of Finland.