Re-Wilding Actions in Finland: Snowchange HQ in Selkie

Common greenshank on Linnunsuo. Mika Honkalinna / Snowchange

Common greenshank on Linnunsuo. Mika Honkalinna / Snowchange

Snowchange Cooperative is located in the boreal village of Selkie, in North Karelia, Finland. Selkie is one of the oldest known settlements in the region, with earliest records emerging from 1500s. Before that the area has been owned and utilized by a Sámi siida, as can be derived from toponymic place names surrounding and in Selkie. The cultural lanscape of our village reflects therefore Sámi, Karelian and contemporary culture. Today the population of the village is appr. 300 Finns.

Swan tracks. Mika Honkalinna / Snowchange

Swan tracks. Mika Honkalinna / Snowchange

Snowchange is running a far-reaching ecological restoration programme building on living traditional knowledge in North Karelia as well as in other Finnish regions. Our flagship site is Linnunsuo, a 110-hectare restored wetland. Home to over 185 species of birds, mammals like wolverine, otter and moose, and occasionally visited by 100,000 geese at a time, Linnunsuo has emerged a national symbol for re-wilding efforts in Finland. Re-wilding Finland is a trademark owned by Snowchange with the purposes of advancing community-based and -controlled national efforts.

We have formed a strategic partnership with Rewilding Europe and the Gaia Foundation to expand and seek new solutions to the worst threats of our century: climate change and loss of biodiversity. We will accomplish that using scientifically sound methods, but respecting and being guided by the traditional knowledge of the villages where our actions will take place.

Linnunsuo wetland, May 2017. Janne Raassina / Snowchange

Linnunsuo wetland, May 2017. Janne Raassina / Snowchange

Linnunsuo is also the second ICCA – in this case a community-controlled area. It was registered in early 2018. Linnunsuo also is a 88-hectare strict IUCN protected area under national conservation measures. It is co-managed so that a limited harvest of water birds is possible by Selkie hunters. Additionally the hunters contribute to the control of invasive species such as mink and raccoon dogs in the area.

Summer swans on Linnunsuo wetland, North Karelia, Finland. Mika Honkalinna / Snowchange

Summer swans on Linnunsuo wetland, North Karelia, Finland. Mika Honkalinna / Snowchange

You can learn more of Linnunsuo and the wider Jukajoki restoration work in English here. For overview of scientific and restoration aspects, please consult a report from 2017 here.

In June 2018 significant announcements will be made about the expansion of the re-wilding efforts for Finland.