The local food of the archipelago tastes better

Hazel grove

You are now standing in the middle of a leafy hazel grove with hazel bushes that are shaded by large deciduous trees such as aspens and black alders. In winter, there are hardly any plants on the ground; it is covered by leaves and snow. But in summer, it gets a varied and more species-rich undergrowth with vegetation such as fern, wood anemone, liverwort, buttercup and herb-paris. In early spring, the hazel blooms with separate male and female flowers, long before the leaves burst out. If the pollination is successful, a hazelnut is formed. The nuts become nutritious food for many animals, such as the squirrel and the Eurasian jay, which like to collect them in their food caches for the winter. 

In Finland, hazel is mainly found in the region of Southwest Finland. It is a very common species in many semi-natural habitats, such as meadows and pastures.

Hazel tree, its flowers (female and male)

Semi-natural habitats are ecosystems that are maintained through traditional human agricultural activities. Most of our most threatened ecosystems are semi-natural habitats. All are at risk to some degree, and they require active management to be kept free from denser and more monotonous vegetation. On a larger scale, it is only possible as part of active farming, with farmers putting cows and sheep out to graze. Pastures next to arable land also have a key role in the protection of many endangered species, among them pollinators.

Semi-natural habitats foster diversity in nature through a constant balance between man and nature. Anyone with a garden can contribute to creating habitats for diversity, a good start is to create a small meadow in a corner of the lawn.

A Eurasian jay eating a hazelnut

Can you balance like this?

Did you know? This archipelago is classified by the Government of Finland as particularly unique in terms of its natural and cultural environment. The cultural landscape was one of the main reasons why the Archipelago National Park was founded in 1983, and that in 1994 the area was named a biosphere reserve by UNESCO.

The objectives of the Archipelago National Park include protecting the nature of the Archipelago Sea and preserving the traditional forms of farming. Today, cooperation between farms and authorities is an important part of preserving the cultural landscape.