Vegetation

The vegetation within the World Heritage area is greatly affected by the land uplift. Sea buckthorn is perhaps the most characteristic species in Kvarken. In late summer and early autumn, it lights up the islands' beaches with its orange berries. Sea buckthorn is one of the first plants to grow on land elevation beaches, and it thrives where it gets plenty of sunlight and is not shaded by other trees and shrubs.

Image 1: Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides)

In Kvarken, there are also species endemic to the Baltic Sea. These species have specialized in growing in the land uplift area in the Gulf of Bothnia, and they cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Deschampsia bottnica is one of these endemic species. They have seeds that germinate quickly between the rocks right at the water's edge. Another endemic species is the Euphrasia bottnica, which thrives on the shores of sheltered bays. Species that were originally derived from other oceans (mainly the Arctic Ocean and the White Sea), but that have been isolated in the Baltic Sea due to the land uplift, are called relict species (e.g. the salt marsh rush, sea campion and sea pea).

Several plants have their northernmost distribution areas in the Kvarken area, such as the dwarf cornel and woad among others. Scots lovage is another species that is slowly but surely being spread northwards. Other plants that thrive on the beaches are purple loosestrife, garden speedwell and tufted vetch. Raspberries are also common. On the dry heaths higher up on the islands, there are crowberry, scotch heather and other dwarf shrubs. And typical plants of meadows and pastures are sweet vernal grass, bluebell and the rarer moonworts (Bothrychium spp.).

Image 2: Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)

Sources:

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

Forststyrelsen. 2010. Skötsel- och användningsplan för Kvarkens yttre skärgård, förslag

Hannus J-J. 2010. Kartering av flador och glon i världsarvsområdet Kvarkens skärgård 2010. Sammanfattning/rapport, Metsähallitus, Vaasa

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

Lampinen R., Lahti T., Heikkinen M. 2012. Växtatlas 2011. Helsingin yliopisto ja Luonnontieteellinen keskusmuseo, Helsinki. http://www.luomus.fi/vaxtatlas (18.10.2012)

Rassi P., Hyväringen E., Juslén A., Mannerkoski l. 2010. Suomen lajien uhanalaisuus – Punainen kirja 2010. Ympäristöministeeri ja Suomen ympäristökeskus, Helsinki.

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