Media release 14.04.2005
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The border area between Finland, Russia and Norway is called the GreenBelt, a network of forests, peatlands and arctic fells. It is the largest and the most significant area of unspoilt natural habitat in Western Europe . The Finnish Forest Research Institute Metla has initiated a research project aiming to monitor how various methods of restoration will help to restore forests and drained peatlands in areas where natural diversity has been reduced due to forestry. The study is partly linked to the LIFE project funded by the EU, managed by Metsähallitus. Metla and the Kainuu Region Federation of Municipalities are also participating in the project.
The aim of the LIFE project is to safeguard the favourable conservation status of thirteen Natura 2000 sites in Koillismaa and Kainuu in the GreenBelt area in eastern Finland. The safeguarding measures will include restoring natural forest habitats where forestry has reduced natural diversity, restoring drained peatlands, reforesting unused forest roads and securing the nesting prospects of golden eagles. The restoration procedures will cover a total of 601 hectares of forests and 362 hectares of peatlands. The project is the first one in Finland to implement the proposal made by the national restoration working group on initiating controlled periodic burnings that are essential for conservation. One half of the project funding comes from the EU.The research and the follow-up study are aimed at establishing more cost-effective restoration measures for the support of the ecosystem. Variables to be studied include recovery of indigenous species, the structure and regeneration of trees, soil nutrients after periodic burning, formation of organic matter and development of root systems after reforestation of forest roads. The extent of the restoration impact will be studied using spatial modeling and digital photogrammetry methods. The current phase of the project consists of creating the restoration plan and designing follow-up studies.
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Metla research projects related to restoration: