Unique forests protected in Paimela, Hollola

The Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation has acquired two nearly intact old-growth forest stands in the Paimela region of Hollola. With the help of a birthday fund-raising campaign arranged by Mr Pertti Salolainen, MP, and his additional donations we were also able to purchase a third patch, which complements the southern border of one of the Koirasuomäki area.These three units create a unique chain of conservation areas together with the forests already protected nearby.

Kullerolehto is an lush grove with hepatica, wood anemone, and golden saxifrage blooming there in the spring together with globeflowers, which appear at the beginning of the summer. One can also smell the February daphne, whose flowers are out early in the spring. Aspens of different ages appear in great numbers together with gigantic spruces. The flying squirrel has been living in its home tree for a long time in the heart of the forest, close to the so-called badger hill, with many trees showing signs of food search. The white-backed woodpecker as well as the three-toed woodpecker, among others, have a habit of pecking at the trees in this forest.

The other new area, Koirasuonmäki, is located at a distance of about two kilometres on both sides of the Metsäkulmantie road with the place being dominated by the unusually large aspens as well as the old spruces and the pines. Koirasuo, located between the hills higher up, is a mire developed in an exceptionally small, pan-shaped valley decorated by the dead trees in the middle and the common alders closer to the edge. The flying squirrel lives here as well. There is a section called Pertinkulma, or Pertti’s Corner, on the southern border, financed by Mr Pertti Salolainen, and it includes dusky coniferous forest and quite a magnificent cliff.

Kullerolehto and Kuorasuonmäki used to be owned by Mr Aatos Peltola, a well-known and almost legendary man in the region, with the places remaining intact in his ownership, except for a small cutting conducted in the northern section of the Kullerolehto grove. His heirs understood the true value of the forests and decided to sell them to the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation. Pertti’s Corner was purchased as an extension to Koirasuonmäki from Mr Esko Heikkilä, a pro-conservation man living in the neighbourhood.

Both of the larger areas cover approximately 13.5 hectares with the Kullerolehto grove including an additional parcel of land that covers half a hectare. Pertti’s Corner is about two hectares in size. The forests create together a new conserved area of almost 30 hectares with a mighty treestand.

There are also three pieces of forest located between Kullerolehto and Koirasuonmäki, each of them covering about 10-19 hectares. Together with these forests, which have already been placed under protection, Kullerolehto and Koirasuonmäki create a unique and extremely valuable group of “islands” with one “island” located no more than a few hundred metres from another.

PHOTO: Anneli Jussila

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The Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation, which promotes the protection of Finnish nature, is concerned about the slow progress of forest protection in Finland. The situation is illustrated well by the fact that the Foundation is not even able to acquire and protect all the areas of old forest that are for sale publicly. The main challenge is the lack of funding.
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