Mires

Mires are the second most common major habitat type in Finland. The total area of mires is almost 9 million hectares, which corresponds to 20% of Finland's total area and 28% of land area. The share of species which occur primarily in mire habitats equals 4% of all well-known species in Finland. This is notably less than could be expected from the area of mires.

The amount of mire specific species is overall low. However, several species which primarily inhabit forests, also occur on wooded mires, especially spruce mires. Finland has proportionally more mires than any other country. Therefore it can be said that Finland has a special responsibility to protect mire species and habitats.

Pine mires are the most common mire type in Finland: 55% of all mires are included in this group. The area of spruce mires corresponds to 26% and the area of open mire types 19% of all mires. The share of open mire types in southern Finland is only a quarter of their share in northern Finland. Rich fens have become rear in the whole country, since less than 2% of total mire area consists of rich fens.

 

What and where?

In this context mires are represented by all habitats which are covered by a peat layer, or at least 75% of their surface vegetation consists of mire species. Because of this classification some mire habitats include wooded types. In reality there is no clear boundary between forests and mires, but a gradient along which the habitat type changes to the other. Thus any direct limit setting is at least in part artificial. However, the biodiversity of wooded mires (like other mires) has been mainly affected by large scale drainage, and discussing them together can be explained from this ground.

Mires are most abundant in the northern Ostrobothnia, where they cover almost have of the land area. Mires are plentiful also in southern Lapland, Koillismaa and Kainuu regions, Ostrobothnia and North Karelia. In southern Finland mires have always been fewer than elsewhere in Finland, but drainage for fields and forestry has also been more common there.

 

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