Climate change, pollution, and natural disasters have unfortunately become part of our daily lives, many people claim that we are way too far out in this relentlessly tragical process in order to prevent apocalyptic consequences. In my opinion, there is still a glimmer of hope as in many other extremely important aspects of life such as love, in the end, it all comes down to a choice, we can always choose to foster awareness, to think about the bigger picture as opposed to letting ourselves wallowing in self-righteousness. As much as we all like to discuss and debate methods and tools for preventing the harrowing consequences of climate change and nature abuse, sometimes I believe we need to get our hands dirty and only then can we become part of the change we like to see in our world. It’s amazing what a simple act of care and respect for nature can do for many endangered species as well as helping other people become more aware of it.
“I believe we need to get our hands dirty and only then can we
become part of the change we like to see in our world.”
So with these thoughts in mind on August 12th I’ve had the pleasure to join this group of talented and determined people with SLL .
As per usual I left in a hurry, hopped in the car not knowing exactly what to expect or how this event/project is been arranged, after a couple of hours’ drive I finally reached my destination, a remote location in Central-western Finland named Mäntysuo within Mantta-Vilppula town borders. I was greeted by two friendly people that provided me the gear and showed me the way to join the other “restorers”, as I walk through the forest and get closer to the mire I realize that being 6’4″ and 230lbs is not a good combination on boggy grounds.
Nonetheless, after a bit of struggling, I finally managed to get on location.
Matti explains that building and strengthening the dams is necessary to prevent the mire from drying up completely, that is what larger logging companies are after as they’re aiming at draining the mires by digging ditches to the sides edges in order to fell more trees and getting as much wood as possible with the lesser effort.
Unfortunately, this rather irresponsible and abusive practice is quite common in Finland as Matti continues, this means in fact that the fauna and flora death toll will keep rising in the mires, endangering a wide range of vegetation including the rather sought after cloudberries, edible mushrooms, shrubs and trees that are home to many species such as:
After roughly 6 hours of digging and shoving peat with the provided tools of the trade, we have managed to complete our first dam. Juho and the rest of the team prepare to apply the final refining touches by covering the pile with grass and all the rooty turfs we can find in order to stabilize the structure ad make sure it will not get washed off when the water rises. Our work is done for the day and we start to heading back to the “rendezvous” location crossing one of the most iconic landscapes in Finland. On our way back Juho mentioned that even though we were able to do something valuable today, work here is far from over, and in need of constant monitoring and restoring as long as the exploitative draining practice will be used by logging companies, mires, and their autochthonous species will always be endangered. While we refresh ourselves with some food and beverages kindly offered by some of the organizers we discuss about the draining and mire exploitation issues with Juho and the rest of the team, it’s obvious that even though Mäntysuo is already a state-owned protected area more support for this kind of restoring and conservative activities could make the difference for ultimately preserving and salvaging the home of the many species inhabiting the mires.
Unfortunately, we don’t know whether we will be able to completely solve the issue as it would require government and other public authorities support, we just know that now Finnish forests have new friends that will be there to help whenever needed, they will be known as the guardians of the mire.
Learn more about the threatened species in Finland, download the files below: