COMBINING PROTECTION WITH OTHER FORMS OF LAND USE IN THE NATURAL BOREAL FORESTS OF THE SYÖTE AREA / FINNLAND
The project area is located in the Ostrobothnia area. It comprises a cluster of four relatively untouched enclaves surrounded by forest management areas The characteristic habitat types are western taiga and aapa mires, with scattered remnants of herb-rich forest and endangered alkaline fen. The area straddles the divide between fell vegetation and more southerly species. Three of Finland's large predators can be found in the area: bear (Ursus arctos), wolverine (Gulo gulo) and lynx (Lynx lynx). This is also the northernmost point in the range of the flying squirrel (Pteromys volans), a species that is not found in any other EU country. Up to 500 capercaillies live here.
In the area tourism is on the rise. Nearby tourist facilities already attract between 200,000 and 300,000 visitors a year.
Various inventories and analyses were carried out in the area to prepare the management and land use plan. The natural and cultural biotopes, as well as soil and bedrock were inventoried in the project area. Special attention was given to studying the history of land use. The basic surveys also included a bird count by transect lines and inventories of beetles and butterflies.
Species-specific protection plans were prepared for some of the threatened species, such as the flying squirrel and the golden eagle.
Since ecotourism plays a key role in the project area, the project involves the local population and tourist businesses in preparing and carrying out a special ecotourism plan. This plan studies the conditions and principles of sustainable nature tourism and ways in which the different activities can be carried out while at the same time preserving the nature of the project area. A special guide of eco-tourism for entrepreneurs was drawn up. The aim is to control the different forms of nature tourism so as to allow both nature conservation and tourism that involves experiencing nature. During the project, a guiding plan was drawn up and carried out in the area to create a consistent image of the Syöte National Park. In addition, a recreation plan was drawn up and implemented in the area, with a view to planning and creating recreational routes and structures that everybody can use on the basis of the statutory public right of access. With the help of the guiding and recreation plans, the preservation of natural values will be ensured as nature tourism increases. At the same time, opportunities will also be created to develop nature tourism.
Commission reference: LIFE 99 NAT / FIN / 006268)
Duration: 01-Apr-1999 to 30-Nov-2002
Finnish Forest and Park Service, Ostrobothnia Area
Project Leader: Arto Ahokumpu