Aarnivalkea expands to a beautiful mire

The Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation gets a new largest protected area as the Aarnivalkea protected forest in Kuusamo expands to a nearby mire. The Foundation acquired a 62 hectare parcel of land in late October to the northeast of Aarnivalkea. As a result, the total area under protection will now be 118 hectares.

The southern margin of Kivisuo (‘ Rock Mire’) is a prime example of the forest and mire landscape of Kuusamo. The area consists of virgin slope-fens and forest patches with the average age of trees reaching beyond 200 years at places. Single red barked and flat crowned pines must be well over 300 years old. Despite the relative proximity of the community centre of Kuusamo one is easily overtaken by a feeling of wilderness at Kivisuo.

The mires of Kivisuo are dotted with small puddles. Old observations from the 1970s and 80s indicate that their bird fauna is especially rich – breeding red-necked phalaropes, ruffs and lesser black-backed gulls have been seen, for example. Even during the visits this autumn, when the nearly all mire birds had already left, willow grouse, Siberian jays and western capercaillies animated the landscape.

The Foundation continues to negotiate with the landowners of adjacent areas. Especially the forested landscape to the northeast of Aarnivalkea–Kivisuo is breathtakingly beautiful.