Home of the Bean Geese, Valkeasuo Peatland and Advancements over 1000 hectares Crown the Rewilding Autumn

The autumn work of Landscape Rewilding Programme draws close. Over 1000 hectares of restored landscapes including strict protected areas in the order of 500 hectares have expanded the rewilding targets considerably.

NABU Climate Fund in Germany, that is part of Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union (the oldest and largest environment association in Germany) provided direct, substantial and breakthrough funding for the Valkeasuo peatland complex. Valkeasuo is a nationally relevant bird habitat and important climate stabilisation area. It is one of the nesting areas of the Bean Goose in Eastern Finland. In total 456 hectares of Valkeasuo will be restored in 2024, representing national level relevance.

In other Koitajoki locations, thanks to the Endangered Seascapes and Landscapes Programme, Kaitoinsuo, Rahesuo, Haravasuo and other peatlands in close vicinity of Valkeasuo were restored, in the order of 850 hectares. Out of these, over 200 hectares were strictly protected legally.
In the Sámi forest areas over 150 hectares were added to the Landscape Rewilding Programme, including some of the timberline forests. Some of the sites have never been logged. These Indigenous cultural landscapes together with the Skolt Sámi restoration efforts in lake Sevettijärvi and in the North Sámi forest of Altto-oja continued.

A 70-hectare Altto-oja forest which was partially logged in 1990s but that also contains remaining old-growth forests, was added to the Landscape Rewilding Programme in 2023 with joint management. This protects the remaining primary forest segments. Using oral histories, Indigenous knowledge (cultural indicators of good ecological quality and maintenance of key species such as aspen), and science, Snowchange and the Sámi inventoried the logged areas and developed targets for forest comeback, guided by the Sámi use of the landscape for reindeer herding and non-timber forest products. Altto-oja forest is emerging as a valuable example for how affected Sámi forests can be restored using science and Indigenous knowledge.

All in all over 1000 hectares of sites advanced the Landscape Rewilding Programme in the Autumn.



Two-year Rewilding Effort Ends in Lake Kuivasjärvi, Parkano

Landscape Rewilding Programme and Pro Kuivasjärvi association have completed their 2 year mission to restore and rewilding the lake's northern and northwestern catchment areas.

This 36,000 € effort was partially sponsored by the Pirkanmaa Center of the Environment, Transport and Commerce. The specific actions included
- Further rewilding of the Louhisuo peatland
- Water management measures to control the loading from the Alkkia peat mining complex
- Renewal of a three hectare wetland in the uppermost catchment
- Stream Kärppäluoma hydrological rapids restoration.

Pro Kuivasjärvi association reflects the potential 2024 actions over the winter.



YLE reports on the Onkamo Lake Restoration

National broadcaster YLE reports on the Snowchange efforts to restore lake Onkamo area.

National news on the Onkamo restoration have been published today. See link below.



Karvasuo, a major peatland complex opens the rewilding Autumn

Karvasuo is a major peatland – old growth forest complex located close to the City of Seinäjoki in Western Finland. It adds close to 300 hectares to the Landscape Rewilding Programme with an aim of 1200 hectares to be restored and protected over the next few years.

Karvasuo is a large unprotected peatland complex. It has many rare and vulnerable species, including lynx, otter, casebearing moths as well as other butterflies and dragonflies and rare plant species.
Snowchange is working to restore and protect up to 1200 hectares around Karvasuo over the next years. Major funding for the initiative comes from the NABU Climate Fund in Germany, that is part of Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union (the oldest and largest environment association in Germany).
Karvasuo has been on the list of wishes from the local villages to be protected for decades. It is slated to be fully protected this year in the national HELMI Programme.



Skolt Sámi Rewilding Work Featured in a Science Paper

Snowchange work with the Skolt Sámi is featured in a new peer-reviewed science article. The article discusses species on the move because of climate change and the human responses to this phenomena.

Global understanding of climate change has developed strongly in the last decades, particularly (and unfortunately) as observable impacts of climate change have increased. However, climate mitigation and adaptation efforts have not progressed at the level or scale that one might expect given this growing knowledge of climate change. A major obstacle to mitigation and adaptation is getting people to understand and relate to climate change – and be able to develop the attitudes and behaviours to take action. Our paper highlights that more effective approaches to engage people on climate change effects are urgently needed. We show that human values, trust networks, and place attachment are critical elements in developing effective and inclusive engagement on climate change.

We place our focus on ‘species-on-the-move’. Plant and animal species around the world are already shifting their distributions in response to climate change. These species-on-the-move impact ecosystem structure and function, food security, human health, livelihoods, culture and even the climate itself through feedbacks to the climate system.

In our paper, we outline how species-on-the-move also present an opportunity to engage people with climate change – specifically, by linking to human values, and connections with the places in which we live, in locally relevant yet globally coherent ways. We highlight how species-on-the-move offer emotional pathways for people to connect with the complex issue of climate change in profound ways that have the potential to engender interest and climate action.



Snowchange Supports Sissola in Koitajoki

Snowchange and the Sissola Family Heritage Association have signed a cooperative agreement. Snowchange will provide support to maintain the buildings and cultural heritage of Sissola located in Lake Megrijärvi in Koitajoki.

Sissola buildings at Lake Megrijärvi are the only standing rune singer houses in their original location in Finnish Karelia. They were built in the early 1800s. Simana Sissonen built the houses and he is considered to be one of the most skillful rune singers.

Collaborative efforts in Sissola are central to the aims of the rewilding efforts in Koitajoki, as the cultural heritage is such a central place in the activities.

Head of the Sissola Family Heritage Association Jaakko Hamunen thanks Snowchange for the work the organisation does and the support the Cooperative provides will ensure the survival of Sissola and its heritage to future generations.



Summer Newsletter

Summer is here and a busy, exciting Snowchange time ahead. Summer newsletter captures main news of the season.

Rewilding and restoration efforts are under way in Koitajoki basin, where several hundreds of peatland hectares will be restored. Hautaneva peatland in the central Finnish area of Kärsämäki will be restored in August. In the Sámi area the erosion control on lake Sevettijärvi is under way and forest restoration efforts will pick up in July-August.

Several new sites have been added to the programme in May-June - check the map for details.

Finally thanks to all who participated in the big Festival Apaja 2023 in Tohmajärvi! Rock and roll!



ARTE Features the Rewilding Programme

The French-German TV Channel Arte has released a full documentary. It features Snowchange. A large Sámi forest realizes rewilding and community rights.

Arte has released a full documentary on peatlands in Europe, titled “Es lebe das Moor”. It features several Snowchange staff and Selkie fisherman Einari Martikainen. The film follows Snowchange staff in Linnunsuo peatland, fish traps and Koitajoki restoration.



Two Peatland and Forest Sites Support Waders in the Northeast

Two important and nearly intact peatland sites have joined the Rewilding Programme - Ihala in Nuorajärvi and Ristisuo in Suomussalmi.

Ihala is 15 hectare intact peatland site in Ilomantsi and an important component of the Varissaari Peatland complex. It is located in the close proximity to Petkeljärvi-Putkelanharju EU Nature 2000 site. All in all the Petkeljärvi-Putkelanharju (FI0700044) is 3417 hectares in size.

Ihala site is a representative of an intact peatland from southwest to northeast in Varissuo area. A wilderness cabin on the shores of lake Nuorajärvi is a feature on the site.

Ristisuo Peatland is 30 hectares in two lots located in the Suomussalmi municipality. It is for the most part fully intact with very minor ditching in the sides of the peatland. It can be considered of high value for biodiversity.

Ristisuo is directly adjacent to Sydänmaanaro EU Nature 2000 site (FI1200721), totalling 2986 hectares. Sydanmaanaro is exceptionally well preserved OGF and peatland territory. The area is very varied with moraine hills, lakes, small rivers and other features.

The bird biodiversity of the area is very relevant with Whooper Swan, waders, Common crane as well as endangered the common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) and hen harrier (Circus cyaneus) nesting.



Riuskanjoki Fully Protected

Riuskanjoki is a 43 hectare boreal river and forest site that has been now fully protected in Suomussalmi, NE Finland.

Riuskanjoki is situated between two EU Nature sites and performs a function of an ecological corridor connecting over 3000 hectares. The site has primary forests, a natural river Riuskanjoki and peatlands.

Today Snowchange and the regional Center for the Environment, Transport and Commerce agree to strictly protect this important site, conserving it legally.

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