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In 1970s a plan for the development of the network of national parks and strict nature reserves, including many of the most valuable mires was prepared in the environment administration (Tallgren & al. 1976). Simultaneously a nationwide mire conservation programme was compiled (Haapanen & al, 1977, and Haapanen & al. 1980, Ruuhijrvi 1978). In these programmes, the goals were to preserve the diversity of mire complexes, mire site types, vascular plants and birds, as well as to form a comprehensive network of reserves. The bird fauna as well as representatives of mire complexes and number of site types were given scores to help choosing mires to be protected, but these values were not used quantitatively due to the unevenness of the huge material from over 2000 mires. The main idea was to protect typical and large examples of mire complexes, but attention was also paid to small mires, especially rich fens. The first lists of threatened mire site types and vascular plants in mires were also compiled (Ruuhijrvi 1978).

In 1990s many new mires have been included in reserves for old-growth forests. They are typically spruce mires and pine bogs forming a mosaic landscape with mineral soil forests. Almost all mires included in different conservation programmes have been included in the Natura 2000 programme of the European Union. In addition to that, 180 new mires were included, mainly rich fens and other fertile habitats, on the basis of a proposal by Heikkil (1995).

The estimated amount of existing pristine mires is about 3,5 million ha, most of this in northern Finland. The total area of protected mires was about 1.1 million ha (Aapala & al. 1996), but after Old growth forest protection and Natura 2000 the amount of protected mires is approximately 1.2 million ha. In southern Finland pristine mires can be found practically only in areas which are protected or planned to be protected.

Table 1.

Milestones of Finnish mire protection process 1956: New National parks and Strict Nature Reserves (Vaskijrvi SNR, Hdetkeidas SNR. Runkaus SNR).

1960s: The mire protection plan for State forests. (Nature reserves, Drainage prohibition areas) 1977: The committee for National Parks 1977 and 1981: The basic programmes of mire protection. 600 areas and 0.5 million. ha 1980s: 173 mire reserves on state land.

1986: Protection programme of Northern Lapland 1995: Proposal for an additional programme for mire protection 1993 and 1996: Old-growth forest protection programmes 2000 and 2005: Natura 2000 programme present total 1,2 mill ha New approaches to conserve mires and their biodiversity Recently small key habitats of mires are protected in the Forest Act from 1996. A nationwide inventory of these habitats of special importance; Forest Act, Section 10, has been completed (Tenhola & Yrjnen 2000) to ensure their protection status in active forestry. Black alder swamps have been protected in the Nature conservation act from 1996. Habitats of nature conservation act have an own inventory going on Table 2.

Mire habitats included in the list of habitats of special importance (Forest Act 1996, Section 10) Immediate surroundings of boreal springs, Immediate surroundings of boreal brooks and rivulets, Immediate surroundings of boreal small lakes Grass-and-herb-rich hardwood-spruce swamps, Fern-rich hardwood-spruce swamps Rich fens located south of the Province of Lapland Small heathland forest islands in undrained mires Sparsely treed mires and alluvial forests with poorer wood yield than nutrient-poor mineral soils Table 3.

Problems of present mire protection The margins of mires outside present boundaries of reserves problem for mire margin habitats problems for the hydrology Mosaic mire-forest systems not well presented in protection Problems in regional representativeness of mires The destruction of most land uplift mire systems Sloping mires not well presented Already extinct mire habitats The Convention on Wetlands The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. There are now 49 wetlands in Finland which are recognized in accordance with the international criteria of the Ramsar convention. Finland added recently 38 new areas to the list of important wetland areas.

At the moment several mires are included in the list of nominate Ramsar sites. All they are included in the Natura 2000 network and they are also parts of the network of nationally protected mires (see also Suul, 2004). The mire complex areas among the Ramsar areas represent all types of mire complexes in Finland: Torronsuo national park in southern Finland, Levaneva and Pilvineva in western Finland, Patvinsuo and Kesonsuo in eastern Finland, Veneneva-Pelso and Olvassuo in Northern Ostrobothnia and Martimoaapa and Sammuttijnk in Lapland Restoring drained protected mires There are about 50 000 hectares of drained mires in nature reserves (Rassi & al. 2003). Thus there is also a need to restore them to a natural or natural like condition. The objective is to restore the hydrology of the mires so that they finally are real peat producing mire ecosystems. Often the mire after restoration is not equal to the mire before the drainage. The problem is ombrotrophication after drainage and secondary tree stand after restoration.

The restoration method is most commonly blocking of the ditches and the removal of the tree layer grown after drainage and fertilization.

Functioning hydrological system is the basis for successful mire restoration.

The restoration plan should be based on the analysis of the whole watershed area. One important objective is to restore also the mosaic landscape of mire and forest (Heikkil & Lindholm 1994, Heikkil et al. 2002). Also the hydrological connection in landscape should be included in restoration plan.

Because we have only short-term experience on restoration we do not exactly know what will really happen. Therefore we need monitoring and research to follow the process, and if needed, to make correction to the restoration methods (Hokkanen & al. 2005).

The national biodiversity programme Metso ( Hautojrvi & al. 2002) and also several European Union Life Nature projects (Raeymakers 2000) have helped in the realization of restoration. At present, about 12 000 hectares of drained mires in different nature reserves have been restored.

Assessment of threatened habitats The Finnish Environment Institute has started a new project aiming at the evaluation of the status of habitats that may be threatened in Finland. Suitable methods and criteria must first be defined. The evaluation criteria will include factors like reduction in the area of a habitat and declining habitat quality (Kontula & Raunio 2005). Also special mire protection analyses and strategies in each region (e.g. Ohtonen & Kotanen 2003) and nationally are needed.

References Aapala, K., Heikkil, R. & Lindholm, T. 1996: Protecting the diversity of Finnish mires, - In: Vasander, H. Peatlands in Finland. Suoseura. Helsinki.


Eurola, S. Aapala, K. Kokko, A. & Nironen, M. 1991: Mire type statistics in the bog and southern aapa mire arreas of Finland (60 66 N). Annales Botanici Fennici 28: 15-36.

Haapanen, A., Havu, S., Hyrinen, U., Lehtimki, E., Raitasuo, K., Ruuhijrvi, R. & Salminen, P. 1977: Soidensuojelun perusohjelma. [The basic programme for mire conservation.] Komiteanmietint 1977: 48, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Helsinki, 47 pp.

Haapanen, A., Havu, S., Hyrinen, U., Lehtimki, E., Raitasuo, K., Ruuhijrvi, R. & Salminen, P. 1980: Soidensuojelun perusohjelma II. [The basic programme for mire conservation II.] Komiteanmietint 1980: 15, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Helsinki, 45 pp.

Hautojrvi, S., Kuusinen, M., Heinonen, P. & Schildt, V. 2002: Etel-Suomen, Oulun lnin lnsiosan ja Lapin lnin lounaisosan metsien monimuotoisuuden toimintaohjelma [The action plan of biodiversity of forests in South Finland, western part of Oulu province and southwestern part of Lapland province]. Suomen Ymprist 583: 1-55.

Heikkil, H. 1991: Threatened types and plants in eutrophic fens in southern Finland. - In: Botch, M.S., O.L. Kuznetsov & I.P. Khizova (eds.) Studies of mire ecosystems of Fennoscandia. Materials of the Soviet-Finnish Symposium 28-31 May 1990, 91-106. Karelian Research Centre, USSR Academy of Sciences, Institute of Biology. Petrozavodsk.

Heikkil, H. & Lindholm, T. 1994: Seitsemisen kansallispuiston ojitettujen soiden ennallistamisuunnitelma. (Abstract: Restoration plan for the mires in the Seitseminen national park.) Metshallituksen luonnonsuojelujulkaisuja B 13: 1-127.

Heikkil, H., Lindholm, T. & Jaakkola, S. 2002: Soiden ennallistamisopas.

(Abstract: A guide for the restoration of peatland habitats.) Metshallituksen luonnonsuojelujulkaisuja B. 66: 1-123.

Heikkil, R. 1990: Vaasan lnin uhanalaiset suokasvit. (Abstract: Threatened mire plants in the province of Vaasa, western Finland.) Vesi- ja ympristhallinnon julkaisuja A 46: 1-95.

Heikkil, R. 1992. Changes in the distribution of some plant species of the eutrophic fens of southern Finland. In: Bragg, O.M., Hulme, P.D., Ingram, H.A.P. & Robertson, R.A. (eds.). Peatland ecosystems and man: an impact assessment, 244-249. Department of Biological Sciences, The University, Dundee.

Heikkil, R. 1995: Unprotected mires with conservation value in Finland. In:

Heikkil, H. (Ed.): Finnish-Karelian symposium on mire conservation and classification. Vesi- ja ympristhallinnon julkaisuja A 207: 61-69.

Hokkanen, M., Aapala, K. & Alanen, A.(Eds.) 2005: Ennallistamisen ja luonnonhoidon seurantasuunnitelma. (Abstract: National plan for monitoring at restoration and management sites.) Metshallituksen luonnonsuojelujulkaisuja B 76: 1-52, 8 appendices.

Hyrinen, U. & Ruuhijrvi, R. 1966: Etel-Suomen soiden silytyssuunnitelma. (Summary: Conservation plan for the peatlands of southern Finland.)- Suomen Luonto 25: 35-48.

Hyrinen, U. & Ruuhijrvi, R. 1968: Soiden suojelun nykyvaihe. (Summary:

The conservation of bogs.) - Suomen Luonto 27: 77-81.

Hyrinen, U. & Ruuhijrvi, R. 1969: Pohjois-Suomen soiden silytyssuunnitelma. (Summary: Conservation plan for the wetlands of northern Finland). - Suomen Luonto 28: 116-146.

Ilvessalo, Y. 1956: Suomen metst vuosista 1921-24 vuosiin 1951-53.

Kolmeen valtakunnan metsien inventointiin perustuva tutkimus. (Summary:

The forests of Finland from 1921-24 to 1951-53. A survey based on three national forest inventories.) Communicationes. Institituti. Forestalia Fenniae 47(1): 1-227.

Isoviita, P. 1955: Kohosoistamme ja niiden suojelusta. [Our raised bogs and the need of their protection] - Suomen Luonto 14: 59-67.

Keltikangas, V. 1969:. Rauhoitussuunnitelmako joutomaille (Summary:

Protection for wastelands) - Suomen Luonto 28, 97-98.

Kontula, T. & Raunio, A. (ed..) 2005: Luontotyyppien uhanalaisuuden arviointi menetelm ja luontotyyppien luokittelu.(Abstract: Assessment of threatened habitat types method and classification of habitat types.) Suomen Ymprist 765: 1-131.

Korhonen, K. M. (Ed.) 1994: Forestry environment guide. Finnish Forest and Park Service. Tuokinprint, Helsinki. 101 pp.

Kujala, V. 1939: Luonnonsuojelusta.[On nature conservation] - Silva Fennica 52: 53-64.

Lappalainen, E. & Hnninen, P. 1993: Suomen turvevarat. (Summary: The peat reserves of Finland.) Geological Survey of Finland. Report of Investigation 117: 1-118. 31 figures, 43 tables and 8 appendices.

Ohtonen, A. & Kotanen, J. 2003:. Pohjois-Karjalan suostrategia. (Abstract:

Mire strategy in North Karelia.) - Alueelliset Ympristjulkaisut 287: 1-315.

Pntynen, V. 1929: Tutkimuksia kuusen esiintymisest alikasvoksina Rajakarjalan valtionmailla. (Referat: Untersuchungen uber das Vorkommen der Fichte (Picea excelsa) als Unerwuchs in der Finnischen Staatswlder von Grenz-Karelien. Acta Forestalia Fennica 35: 1-235.

Raeymakers, G. 2000: Conserving mires in the European Union. Actions cofinanced by LIFE-Nature. European Commission. Ecosystems LDT.

Luxembourg. 90 pp.

Rassi, P. Aapala, K. & Suikki, A. 2003: Ennallistaminen suojelualueilla.

Ennallistamistyryhmn mietint. (Abstract: Restoration in protected areas:

report by the working group of restoration.) Suomen Ymprist 618: 1-220.

Rassi, P., Alanen, A., Kanerva, T. & Mannerkoski, I. (eds.) 2001: Suomen lajien uhanalaisuus 2000. (Abstract: The 2000 Red List of Finnish species.) Ympristministeri & Suomen ympristkeskus, Helsinki. 432 pp.

Rassi, P., Kaipiainen, H., Mannerkoski I. & Sthls, G. (eds.) 1992:

Uhanalaisten elinten ja kasvien seurantatoimikunnan mietint. (Abstract:

Report on the monitoring of threatened animals and plants in Finland.) Komiteanmietint 1991:30. 328 s. Valtion painatuskeskus. Helsinki.

Ruuhijrvi, R. 1970: Suoluonto ja luonnonsuojelu Suomessa. (Summary:

Peatland conservation in Finland) Suo 21: 46-51.

Ruuhijrvi, R. 1978. Soidensuojelun perusohjelma (Summary: Basic plan for peatland preservation in Finland.) Suo 29(1): 1-10.

Ruuhijrvi, R. 1988: Vegetation and flora. Mire vegetation. In: Alalammi P.

(Ed.) Atlas of Finland. 5th edition. Biogeography, Nature conservation, National Board of Survey and Geographical Society of Finland: 141-143., English appendix: 3-4.

Sjberg, K. & Ericson 1992: Forested and open wetland complexes. In:

Hansson, L. (Ed.): Ecological principles of nature conservation. Application in temperate and boreal environments. Conservation ecology series, Elsevier Publishers, London: 326-357.

Suul, J. (Ed.) 2004: Nordic wetland conservation. TemaNord 2004:506: 1174.

Tallgren, C. O., Havu, S., Kellomki, S., Hyrinen, U. & Loven, L. 1976:

Kansallispuistokomiteamietint. [Committee of National Parks in Finland.] Komiteanmietint 1976 88: 1-198.

Tenhola, T. & Yrjnen, K. 2000: Biological diversity in the Finnish private habitats. Survey of valuable habitats. Interim report. Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. 34 pp.

THREATENED MIRE HABITATS IN F INLAND T. LINDHOLM1, E. KAAKINEN2 & A. KOKKOFinnish Environment Institute, tapio.lindholm@ymparisto.fi North Ostrobotnia Regional Environment Centre, Oulu, eero.kaakinen@ymparisto.fi The assessment of threatened habitats of all habitat groups has started in Finland. The assessment was started by a pilot project, where the criteria and methods to be used in the assessment of threatened habitats were developed (Kontula & Raunio 2005). The assessment will be carried out during the years of 2005 2007. The final result of the assessment will contain descriptions and lists of extinct, endangered, vulnerable, least concern and data deficient habitats (for terms see IUCN 2000). Also the nomination of habitats for which Finland has international responsibility in European Union is one of the tasks of the project. This kind of an assessment has been carried out in some European countries; e.g. Germany (Riecken & al. 1994), Estonia (Paal 1998), Norway (Fremstad & Moen 2001) and Austria (Essl & al 2002a and Essl & al.


In Finland Finnish Environment Institute has the coordination task of the project. The funding of the project is divided between the ministry of the environment, the Forest Biodiversity and Monitoring Programme in Finland under the ministry of forestry and agriculture, and Finnish Environment Institute.

Habitat type (Naturtyp, biotopetype, luontotyyppi) is a concept which is used in European union directives and in National legislation and in administrational practice: Habitat type consists of natural habitats, which are more or less similar with each other and differ more or less clearly from other natural habitats in terms of abiotic factors and communities (Kontula & Raunio 2005). In the assessment also a higher level of habitat systems is evaluated. In this project, this is called habitat complex level. In mire ecosystems that fits well on the complex or massive level of mires.

The mire assessment working group. The assessment of threatened habitats will be done as a wide cooperation different experts and organizations.

In assessment of threatened mire habitats the working group of experts is as follows:

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