Laipansalo in Pirkanmaa becomes conservation area

The Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation has purchased a forest with a high tree density in Kuhmalahti, in the municipality of Kangasala, to turn it into a conservation area. The conservation area will be called Laipansalo after the legendary forest located to the south of the area.

“By creating the Laipansalo conservation area, the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation wants to highlight the significance of large, uninhabited forests such as Laipanmaa, and the importance of protecting them,” states Anneli Jussila, Conservation Director for the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation.

The landscape in Laipansalo is particularly beautiful, and its forest retains a strong feeling of an old-growth forest in its natural state. The terrain varies from light, rocky pine woods dotted with Cladonia stellaris, a type of reindeer lichen, to spruce-dominated forests where sunken decayed trees covered in bracket fungus show how untouched the area has remained. In the hollows of the forest, the wetlands covered in peat moss stand out as shining green spots among the dark surrounding spruce woods. The long shoreline of the small lake hidden in the forest is particularly charming. As a conservation area, the natural state of the wild forest will be strengthened over the coming decades, and the habitats will become more and more suitable for species that live in old-growth forests.

The new protected forest, covering 18 hectares, will be directly connected to the hiking area known as Laipanmaa, which is located between the old villages of Luopioinen and Kuhmalahti, in the Kangasala and Pälkäne municipalities. Pentti Linkola, the founder of the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation, admired the wildness of the area and still went hiking there as late as the early 2000s. During one of these visits he found an impressive old forest with old pine trees covered in thick, dry barn, small mires and lush valleys on the shore of an untouched forest lake on the northern edge of Laipanmaa.

“He tried to get the forest protected by visiting nearby houses to discuss the matter, but at that time, no progress made in the matter. It was lovely to find out last spring that this specific area was for sale with an estate agent, and had not been felled,” Anneli Jussila explains.

A family from Kangasala who spends their summers nearby contacted the Foundation in the matter, and also gave a significant donation to support the purchase of the forest. Support for the purchase of the area was received from Fortum. Further support is received from Finland’s oldest scientific society, Societas pro Fauna et Flora Fennica (SFFF), and its 200-year-anniversary fundraising, which continues until the end of October.

“It is important that small and large businesses, societies and others take part in protecting forests. Finnish forests are expensive, and thanks to the donations we receive we are able to protect immeasurably valuable natural areas such as Laipansalo,” says Pepe Forsberg, Managing Director of the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation.

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