MI16 Protected mires
Regional distribution of protected mires reflects that of protected forests. Thus, most protected areas are located in northern Finland. Almost a quarter of all mires in north boreal forest vegetation zone are protected to some degree. The share of protected areas on state land equals 10% and wilderness areas (also on state land) 8%. Elsewhere in Finland protected areas are less common. In middle boreal forest vegetation zone, the share of protected mires is 7%, in south boreal zone 4% and about 5% in hemiboreal zone covering the southernmost coast of the country. The area of protected areas on private land is the greatest in southern Finland.
Less than nine percent of all mires are located in strictly protected areas, where no forestry is practiced. The share of strictly protected forests is greatest in the north boreal forest vegetation zone, being a little less than 14%. In southboreal zone the share is again smallest, less than 4%.
Impact on biodiversity
Drainage and afforestation of mires for forestry have been the most significant threats for mire species diversity (see also MI10 and MI11). In addition, peat production and other uses of mires have changed their ecosystems. All mire types host threatened species.
Spruce mires are one of the most valuable habitats for boreal forest and mire species. The relative proportion of protected spruce mires is however smaller than that of pine mires and open mire types. Moreover, the protection of spruce mires is imbalanced, since they are naturally more common in southern Finland but most protected areas are located in the North.
Boundaries of protected mires are often artificially defined and therefore do not necessarily form ecologically uniform ensembles. This makes it more difficult for mire biodiversity as well as hydrology and succession to maintain their natural state and development. In addition to this, size and connectivity of natural state mires to other such patches are of utmost importance for viable species.
Restoration of drained mires in protected areas is essential in order to reach natural state (see also MI17). There is a great need to restore especially spruce mires in certain areas.
- Updated (14.05.2013)