Nature values grow slowly
The ridge with its old pines overlooking the lake and sheltering the herb-rich woodland at the bottom is situated on a large island of the Lohja lake in the town of Lohja no more than 60 kilometres west of the Finnish capital of Helsinki.
The land owner has sought his way to the ridge countless times over the decades. No question of felling trees here. METSO-Programme's MetsäVasu project came tailor-made for Pertti Hirvonen. He offered his favourite rock into nature values trading in the summer of 2004. Towards the end of 2005, an agreement was reached on the protection of the nature values of the 0.6 hectare area for the period of ten years.
The compensation for such a small area was no big money, but the most important thing for Hirvonen and his fellow forest owners is that they get some recognition for nurturing nature values.
Cooperation is built on trustThe objective of the MetsäVasu project, implemented in 2004-2006, was to test in practice how forest biodiversity can be protected by developing the cooperation networks of the various actors in the forest sector.
Pertti Hirvonen has retired from farming and has hired out his fields. The forests are the apple of his eye, and he has gone actively out to test new nature management methods in his forests. In accordance with the forest plan drawn up in connection with the nature values agreement, densely growing aspens have been girdled, that is, a band of bark has been removed from near the bottom to cause slow withering. The objective is to clear more room for bigger trees.
"This has not been tried previously and we don't know yet how it works. So much is clear that an aspen cannot be snuffed out quickly."
BY RISTO PITKÄNEN
PHOTOS BY SEPPO SAMULI