Forests

The forest that grows in Kvarken is a so-called primary forest. The woodland is almost unique since this type of forest can only be found in a few places around the world! It is the first forest ever grown on land masses after they have risen above the sea surface. Therefore, it is also a unique habitat globally with a high nature value.

Image 1: Primary succession forest on Segelsören

Small bushes are the first step in a primary succession forest. These include bushes of sea-buckthorn, which are often found in the upper part of the beach where it is open and they get plenty of sunlight, as well as sea-buckthorn raspberry, willow, currant and higher grass.

A little further from the beach, the bushes turn into an alder border. The field layer in these bright beach groves is a lush field layer, with red campion, meadowsweet, grass and other flowering herbaceous plants.

Image 2: Lush beach grove

Above the alder border, birches become increasingly common. Rowan, alder, bird cherry and aspen are also common in these birch forests. Spruce, which enters in the next stage of the succession, also begins to root slowly among the deciduous trees. In many cases, the birch forest is absent, and a spruce or mixed forest spreads out immediately above the alder border. The final stage of the primary succession forest is a dense coniferous forest. Old birches, groves of aspen and dead alders also belong here. Very old forests are rare in Kvarken because the land masses above the water are historically still quite young. But where you can find old and decaying trees, there are also often many endangered and rare insects and fungi.

Sources:

Airaksinen O., Karttunen K. (red.), 1999. Natura 2000 handbok över de finska naturtyperna, Swedish translation (Åhman M. och Stenberg M.) of the Finnish edition Natura 2000 – luontotyyppiopas, Suomen ympäristökeskus, Ympäristöopas 46, p. 194, 2001.

Hietikko-Hautala T. 2010. Jääkauden jälkinäytös – Merenkurkun saariston maailmanperintö. Waasa Graphics, Vaasa

Rinkineva L., Bader P. 1998. Kvarkens natur. Kvarkenrådets publikationer 10, Vaasa