First Rewilding Sites for 2023 Strengthens Wild Reindeer

Uusi-Kannas is a OGF and peatland site in Kuhmo that supports the existing lands for wild reindeer.

Uusi-Kannas has approximately 80-years-old spruce forest, partially logged section, intact peatland and a boreal stream that runs through it.

It is located between two significant EU Nature 2000 sites, Ristivaara (FI1200203), 907 hectares to the south and Jämäsvaara (FI1201002) with 3257 hectares to the north. Jämäsvaara is known for its natural remaining timber forests.



Swedish Postcode Lottery Supports Sámi Forests

Swedish Postcode Lottery has stepped in to support the Sámi forest work of Snowchange.

They have recently approved a large two year project Indigenous and Traditional Knowledge Rewilding of Boreal Forests in Finland that works with Sámi and Finnish villages to restore and conserve critically important boreal forests in Finland, as 97% of them have been lost between 1900-2022.

Postkodstiftelsens loggaBy combining Indigenous knowledge and science, this project will restore and protect 250 hectares of Sámi forests, and positively influence up to 1000 hectares of middle boreal forests and associated peatlands, to support biodiversity, climate change mitigation, and Indigenous-traditional livelihoods.

The project advances a novel, reformative approach to restoration and conservation summarized as ICCAs – Indigenous and Community Conservation Areas as defined by the UN Environmental Programme. It addresses the past equity issues in conservation, provides the Sámi and other villages with agency for the first time in their own areas, and pride in restoration and conservation.

As a step up into this direction, a small peatland and forest Sámi ecosystem of Kaksamajärvi was added to the Landscape Rewilding Programme today.



Juurikkasuo joins the programme, Guardian writes about the Koitajoki programme

Juurikkasuo, a significant peatland ecosystem joins Landscape Rewilding Programme. The Guardian reports on the Koitajoki rewilding.

Juurikkasuo is a 136,49 ha high priority peatland-forest ecosystem at the Lieksa international border. It is part of the Koitajoki catchment.

It is west and in the middle of the EU Nature 2000 area FI0700060, totalling 631 ha. Juurikkasuo is an important and significant peatland-forest system in the extreme Northeast of Koitajoki catchment on the Finnish side.

The site has had populations of Golden Plover, Wood Sandpiper, geese, willow ptarmigan and Common greenshank.

Additionally this week, the Guardian writes about the Koitajoki rewilding initiative. Link provided below.



What Meanings Can Rewilding Have?

Snowchange is collaborating with IUCN and Swedish Biodiversity Center in Biodiversa NARROW project to explore meaning, narratives and positioning of rewilded places and waters. The first science paper has been released to document and discuss the knowns and the unknowns of the restored-rewilded places. Focus is on Western Finnish peatland of Salojenneva and Indigenous Sámi Vainosjoki river.

A paper out in Humanities and Social Science Communications now explores and partly answers these questions:

The current planetary shifts and the redistribution of species require us to rethink nature conservation, both from the viewpoint of forming novel ecosystems and in relation to issues of diversity, historical conservation practices, as well as historical and current injustice. Mainly, this reorientation needs to address the historical errors of mainstream societies that promoted nature conservation for their own benefit, at the expense of Indigenous societies. The article explores two Finnish and Sámi rewilding cases of community-led action. In the end, the research seeks to answer how to negotiate a new co-existence with rewilded sites to achieve a better future.



Kivisuo Expanded and Protected to 766 hectares

Today the environmental authorities have decided on formal protection of Kivisuo with the 2022 expansion and the area is in total now 766 hectares.

Kivisuo is a internationally significant peatland complex located in the Sub-Arctic in Muhos and Utajärvi in Finland. Snowchange initially secured over 600 hectares to the LRP in 2020. Over the past few years the area has grown and is now fully protected at 766 hectares.



Snowchange Steps Up Support for the Wild Reindeer

The wild forest reindeer (Rangifer tarandus fennicus) was hunted to extinction in early 1900s in Finland. The last bull reindeer was killed in North Karelia, in Ilomantsi in 1918. Then, in 1960s, the stocks re-emerged slowly from Russian Karelia and spread to Western Boreal and into the Kuhmo region. Snowchange and the Landscape Rewilding Programme announce today a range of actions to support the wild reindeer.

Landscape Rewilding Programme announces a focus on securing more wild reindeer habitat and sites for recovery and restoration:

Matosuo peatland in Soini supports pastures and rewilding efforts are negotiated with Metsähallitus in Western Boreal

Ecological corridors have been established in Ähtäri municipality with intact peatlands, recovering forests and interconnected Nature 2000 sites in Oravasuo area, totaling with state lands over 400 hectares

Whole of the Naamanjoki river course has been secured to the LRP as well as Horneankoski forest, river course and peatlands in the northern expanse of Kuhmo municipality which are both ecological corridors and protected sites

In the occasional northern edge of the wild reindeer range in Muhos, Kivisuo peatland complex, currently at 650 hectares is expanded to 760 hectares of Snowchange lands to support other wildlife and reindeer habitat

We are also proud to announce early news of a 2023 Wild Reindeer book by award-winning Antti Leinonen, a National Geographic published wildlife photographer. This publication will feature traditional knowledge, unique photographs and materials regarding the Kuhmo reindeer.



Abloy Partners With Snowchange to Secure the New Rewilding Center

ABLOY, a Finnish company joins in supporting the new Snowchange Rewilding Center in Tohmajärvi.

ABLOY will deliver state of the art locks and security solutions to the new HQ. ABLOY and Snowchange have already in the past collaborated on securing the scientific field station in Linnunsuo wetland.
ABLOY is a leader in safety and locking solutions leading to more trust in the world. By combining digital and mechanic solutions Abloy provides modern solutions for humans, property and business solutions as a part of the ASSA ABLOY group.



Lake Onkamo Region Joins Rewilding Programme in North Karelia

Onkamo lakes are a special watershed in North Karelia, Finland. The local association "Pro Onkamojärvet ry" is slowly winding down their operations after over a decade of community-led restoration. In June 2022 the association decided to hand over the baton to Landscape Rewilding Programme who will assume the responsibility.

Onkamo lakes are a historically rich cultural and biodiversity region that has suffered from nutrient and organic loading in modern history. Local associations have coordinated restoration efforts since 2000s. Now the association in a general meeting on the 11th June, 2022 has decided to coordinate with Landscape Rewilding Programme and Snowchange to transition these efforts in the future.
This will bring the total area of the Landscape Rewilding Programme into over 50,000 has.



First National Rewilding Center Opens in Tohmajärvi

Today the municipality of Tohmajärvi in North Karelia has sold the former school of Tietäväinen to Snowchange. The first rewilding center of Finland has been thus established.

The Tietäväinen school is located on the Asematie in the municipality of Tohmajärvi, a famous Karelian location. It has 2000 m2 of space. The building was originally built in 1971 and underwent large renovations in 2004 and 2017. It has several classrooms, a 160 seat auditorium for conferences and concerts and a fully equipped kitchen.
The building will be repurposed to house several Snowchange key work processes:
- fish storage and fish processing
- conferences and workshops
- public exhibits about the rewilding programme and Snowchange work over the past 20 years
- equipment depot
- Indigenous and traditional knowledge oral history archives

The organizational HQ will be transferred to Tohmajärvi, which is appr. 50 km from Selkie. Snowchange continues to operate field bases in Lieksa, Selkie, Mönni, Ilomantsi and other locations in North Karelia.



Lake Kuivasjärvi receives new funds for 2022

Lake Kuivasjärvi rewilding and restoration efforts in Western Finland have received a new substantial funding from the state and Landscape Rewilding Programme.

Lake Kuivasjärvi in Western Boreal has been the target of catchment-wide rewilding efforts since 2016 in partnership with a local NGO Pro Kuivasjärvi. 2nd May the regional authorities and Landscape Rewilding Programme agreed on a new year-long funding, totaling 47,000 €, to work in the northern parts of the lake basin.
Main actions will include peatland restoration, establishing peatland functions and erosion prevention. Lake Kuivasjärvi efforts won the best regional water project prize in 2021.

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