Municipality: Vilppula
Protection year: 2016
Area protected: 18 ha
Kaukametsä. Kuva: Helena Saikkonen

The Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation recently acquired a forest of approximately 18 hectares in the Kolho region, located in Mänttä-Vilppula close to the northern border of the Pirkanmaa province. There was a campaign launched together with the Pirkanmaa ornithological association in 2014 to collect funds for a primeval forest to be found for the province. The co-operation achieved success in the summer of 2016, when the foundation was contacted by Mr Miika Bucktman, a man in charge of negotiating forest deals in western Finland. He was the one who recommended this remote forest that had remained intact for a long time. The forest proved to be excellent, and strangely enough, it turned out to be relatively easy for us to win the competitive bidding.

This forest is called Kaukametsä, and its eastern side is bounded by Karhunsuo, a swamp where bears are known to have hibernated. According to Mr Pentti Linkola, the foundation’s chairman, there is “a primeval atmosphere” in the forest. There is a layer of shining green moss on the ground, which provides a habitat for grand old spruces as well as a variety of deciduous trees, aspens and birches. There is a considerable amount of decayed wood as well as bracket fungus living on the decayed wood appearing in the forest, especially in the spruce sections. There are shield-barked pines, hundreds of years old, growing on the hill rising in the southern section of the area. Not everything is lying in its natural state, however: there is a younger forest planted close to the northern edge, but this spot has fortunately been neglected, which means that it has a good chance of being restored to its original state in the vicinity of the old forest.

All in all, Kaukametsä is an exceptional place left to live its life all on its own, a wilderness with its roots literally stretching out hundreds of years back in time – to an age when the Finnish heartlands were largely yet to be found.

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