The Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation has for the purpose of establishing a conservation area acquired a forest of more than twenty hectares on the Niemenkangas area by Lake Vuokkijärvi in Suomussalmi. Niemenkangas is the foundation’s seventh conservation area in the Kainuu region.
The conservation area is part of the former Vuokkiniemi estate, which was deserted as a result of the heavy regulation that was launched in the 1960s. In connection with the regulation, water was taken out of Lake Vuokkijärvi, which turned Niemenkangas into an island.
The 160-year-old pine stand on Niemenkangas has remained intact through the ages, according to the foundation’s conservation expert Ari-Pekka Auvinen.
“The connection with the Oulujoki river has had a major impact on the fate of Lake Vuokkijärvi. The history of Upper Kainuu appears from the Niemenkangas conservation area in many ways. There is a place of residence from the Stone Age to be found on the shore, its boundaries being marked by the Finnish Heritage Agency and the site itself being exposed on the shore as a consequence of the erosion caused by the regulation.”
The Niemenkangas conservation area represents Upper Kainuu’s original pine heath in its purest form. Some of the pines are dead and serving as nesting places for the woodpeckers and the redstart with some of them probably continuing their growth for hundreds of years.
Niemenkangas on a map.
Photo: Ari-Pekka Auvinen