A forest consists of trees, vascular plants, lichens and mosses on the trees and the ground, fungi, small insects and bacteria in the soil, and the animals that live in the forest. The forest provides a habitat with food, shelter and homes for many species. The forest also offers us firewood, timber, berries, mushrooms and recreation. An eternal balancing act between the needs of different species as well as those of the human population.
The natural life cycle of the forest is an ever-changing process, where the competition for survival, that is, light, water and nutrition, as well as the tolerance of species in terms of weather and wind, determine which species and individuals survive and spread the most. When the diversity of species and ages of individuals is high, the forest can more easily adapt to external changes and extreme conditions. In an economic forest, it is the forest owner who decides which tree species and ages remain after felling. In order to slow down the loss of natural diversity in the forest, it is important to leave dead wood in all forms; in a natural forest, approximately a quarter of the tree volume is dead wood.
The archipelago’s forests are quite small in terms of area but rich in species, and together form a mosaic of different forest types. Forest types differ from each other in that they have different tree species, undergrowth and soil. Here, temperate deciduous trees such as oak and ash thrive, thanks to the southern location and the limestone-rich bedrock, and on barren rock outcrops and skerries the hardiest pines and birches grow.
Here along the biosphere trail, you can see examples of three different forest types: the lush hazel grove, the stately spruce forest with the ground covered in blueberry (bilberry) bushes and a rocky forest, where pines seem to grow directly from the bedrock.
Can you balance like this?
Did you know? Imagine that you are now standing on a medieval beach! About 900 years ago, the sea level was higher, and current land areas were partially covered. These are faintly visible in the blue area on the map. The shoreline was at the round pebbles smoothed by the sea, over there on the slope to the north. Perhaps a Viking ship docked in this quiet bay.
Pebbles are smaller stones that have gained their rounded shape by rolling and grinding against each other as a result of sea waves or flowing and rushing water.