The versatile Kruununmaa farm of eight hectares in the Isoneva region of Alavus has belonged to the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation since the end of August. The purchase was financed by a swamp campaign arranged in cooperation by the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation and the Ostrobothnia district of the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation.
The Kruununmaa swamp consists of an open bog and a swamp with a low tree stand creat-ing together a surface decorated by cloudberries, bog-rosemaries, and northern Labrador teas as well as green tussocks of carex in some places. Close to the northern edge, the open bog turns into a grand old forest free of cuttings. There are rather old pines appearing in the forest along with deadwood and decayed wood. There place has never been drained, not even on the edge of the swamp, which is quite unusual in this region.
The Kruununmaa area was sold by Terttu and Esko Rajala, who had bought it from the state-owned Metsähallitus forest management enterprise in order to have it placed under protection in the future.
− We tried to have the place protected through the Metso programme as a private conserva-tion area. The waiting list turned out to be long, however, with large places being given pri-ority and no guarantee that valuable targets would benefit from the programme either be-cause of the budget cuts. We wanted to proceed with the finance, however, and therefore, we decided to contact the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation, says Mrs Terttu Rajala.
The deal was fast, and the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation will make sure that Kruununmaa – like all its conservation areas – is protected for good by the nature conser-vation act. It is the wish of the Rajala couple, the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation, and the Ostrobothnia district of the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation that the protec-tion of the Kruununmaa area will allow the entire Isoneva region to remain in its natural state, free from peatlifting and draining.
− The natural state will also be maintained by the discovery of two endangered butterflies, the nola karelica and the straw belle, both observed during the course of the summer, Mrs Rajala adds.
Southern Ostrobothnia is still waiting for swamp conservation
According to Mr Teemu Tuovinen, the secretary of the Ostrobothnia district of the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, who was involved in the Kruununmaa negotiations, it is primarily swamps from certain places in Central Ostrobothnia that are offered for conser-vation. Instead, we would like to see a variety of targets from Southern Ostrobothnia placed under protection because that does not happen very often.
Mr Tuovinen considers the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation practically the only place capable of buying swamps at the going rate now that the government programme for swamp conservation has been watered down.
− Selling an area for conservation is the same as selling anything else even if the land-owner himself did not really care about the natural values, says Mr Tuovinen.
The foundation is also about to purchase another area in Alavus, a forest of about 13,5 hec-tares with swampy sections.
The fund-raising campaign was a success
The mutual fund-raising campaign of the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation and the Os-trobothnia district of the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation has produced over hundred thousand euros during the past five years or so. The money has now been turned into 120 hectares of protected swamp in Ostrobothnia. The areas protected this year will be part of the My Gift to the Hundred-Year-Old campaign with the state committing itself to pro-tecting its land to the same extent as the private landowners.
− It turned out to be a real success to raise funds through the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation for the conservation of swamps in Ostrobothnia, the most succesful campaign we have ever arranged, says Anneli Jussila, the executive director of the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation.
According to Jussila, the progress of the campaign proves that there is a true willingness among the citizens – both in Ostrobothnia and elsewhere – to secure the integrity of the swamps. The campaign still goes on, and we are looking for new swamps for conservation in the Ostrobothnia region.
Executive director Anneli Jussila, Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation, 040 5863 950, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kruununmaa on the map
Protect a Swamp in Ostrobothnia, the campaignMetsäkaupat