The Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation purchased a small patch of shady spruce forest in Kokkola, on the west coast, in May. The area of this uniform forest consisting of a single-aged tree stand is 4.3 hectares. The trees are approximately 80 years old. Due to decades of benign neglect the forest appears already quite natural. The forest is home to the pygmy owl, crested tit and hazel grouse, among others.
The forest will be called Vaarinmetsä, Grandad’s Forest, after its previous owner, grandad Lars Hällis. One of Lars’ heirs, the person who sold the forest to the foundation in practice, called the forest Vaarinmetsä and the name stuck. Vaarinmetsä will commemorate Lars’ memory.
Lars Hällis made his life’s work as a shopkeeper in the city of Kokkola. Especially after having retired he was a common sight on the village lane leading to the forest road. In line with the customs of the day one had to go to the forest for a tangible purpose. Therefore Lars too carried a rifle on his shoulder. However, he seldom brought home any prey. For him, more important than prey, we may assume, was the peace mind he found in his forest.
Lars’ wish was that the forest would never be clear cut. Thanks to the purchase and the upcoming protection of the forest grandad’s wish will fulfilled and secured. Only a small area of forest is currently protected on the coastal part of Ostrobothnia (the region where Vaarinmetsä is located). The Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation wishes the voluntary protection of Vaarinmetsä acts as an encouraging example for other forest owners in the area who have come to treasure to silence of their woods