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.