The Archipelago Sea biosphere reserve was established in 1994 and consists of the Archipelago Sea National Park and the parts of the archipelago that belong to the town of Pargas and the municipality of Kimitoön. This means the islands of Houtskär, Korpo, Nagu and Iniö as a whole, and parts of Pargas, Dragsfjärd, Västanfjärd and Kimito.

The biosphere reserve has more than 3500 inhabitants, of which about 360 live on smaller islands without a road ferry. The population is mainly Swedish-speaking, and the average age is relatively high, compared to the rest of the country. There are many part-time inhabitants in the area, and it is becoming more common to use the well-equipped holiday home as a second home. Tourism has doubled since the turn of the millennium and is steadily increasing. 

To carry out the activities of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, biosphere reserves are traditionally organized into three interrelated zones, known as the core area, the buffer zone, and a transition zone or area of cooperation. 

The core area (light brown on the map) is the innermost zone of the biosphere reserve. This zone consists of state-owned, protected land that constitutes the Archipelago Sea National Park.

The buffer zone (inside the purple line) is the privately owned land that encloses the national park in the outer archipelago. Here, the impact of human activity on nature is small.

The area of ​​cooperation (within the green line) is the area around the national park which includes the larger islands with denser settlement and more human activity.

OUR STORY – the making of a biosphere reserve

The culture of the archipelago has always been characterized by the sea and the islands. The landscape has been affected by livestock grazing on the islands for centuries, which has kept them free from denser vegetation. Cultural landscapes have a high biodiversity. Even today, the archipelago is one of the most species-rich areas in Finland.

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All biosphere reserves of the world must fulfil three functions; preserve, develop and support the area in which they operate. Below is an overview of how we work within the Archipelago Biosphere Reserve. Choose “What we do” to get more information about our activities in practice!

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