The aim of restoration is to restore the natural state of a habitat. Nature can be left in peace to recover on its own, or the recovery of the ecosystem can be accelerated through a range of measures, such as burning or making small openings in the forest.

The objective of habitat restoration is to slow down or completely halt the endangerment of species and habitats. In many cases, the goal is to link natural areas to each other. In particular, regarding mires, the idea is also to enhance the recreational values of the area and curb climate change.

Restoration mainly involves protected areas. The restoration of mires outside protected areas is becoming more common.

The European Union sets targets for restoration

Most of Finland’s forest and mire habitats have been affected by human activity. Traces of forestry are visible everywhere in various ways, including an even-aged forest stand structure and very low quantities of dead and decaying wood. For this reason, mire ditches are visible everywhere, even in many protected areas. Although forestry is continued in these areas, there may be no halt in the deterioration of the forest’s natural state.

The goal set by the EU is to restore 15 percent of deteriorated habitats by 2020. By 2012, the total area of restored forests and mires on state-owned land in Finland will be more than 36,000 hectares, and about 750 hectares on privately owned land.

Habitat restoration comes with a price tag

The latest research results indicate that habitat restoration can contribute to the survival of many endangered or threatened species, and biodiversity. Natural diversity is vital for human survival. Nature provides us with food, medicines, water, clean air, and functions, for instance, as a buffer against climate change.

The management requirements of a restored site affect the price of restoration. For instance, the preservation of traditional landscapes and bird wetlands requires constant management. The tradition of continuous burning is vital to the preservation of species dependent on fire. By this, we mean the burning of a forest area, into which species can move, in the vicinity of a previously burned forest area.

The aim of research is to find the best restoration methods

Luke studies the impacts of forest and peatland restoration on biodiversity, the environment and the structure and functioning of ecosystems. The objective is to compare the effectiveness of various types of restoration methods in restoring the functions and structural features typical of ecosystems in their natural state.

Picture on top of the page: Anne Hekkala