baumzaehlen - Primeval Forests & Their Trees

©2018copyright christoph hase

Petkeljärvi National Park, Finland


This park has light Opens internal link in current windowPinus sylvestris (Scots pine) forests on glacial sand depositions (eskers) and lovely lakes.


The majority of the park’s trees are about 25-metre P. sylvestris regenerated around 1850 after wildfires1. On dry sand soils in eastern Finland, wildfires have occurred at 50-year intervals up to the twentieth century, though some of the fires have been set by man2. In fact, P. sylvestris is the most fire-tolerant tree in the Eurasian boreal forests3. However, its cones are not serotinous like cones of the North American species Opens internal link in current windowP. banksiana (jack pine) and Opens internal link in current windowP. contorta (lodgepole pine) 4.


There are about ten tree species altogether, most of which are very easy to identify. Annual precipitation is approx. 600 mm, average annual temperature 1–2°C and elevations from 145 (lake level) to approx. 165 m.


Although small (6 km2) and surrounded by managed forests and clearcut areas, the park is remote and tranquil. Between Kuikkalampi and Joutenjärvi there are patches of former slash-and-burn agriculture areas; they can be identified by their more abundant broadleaf trees1. Old cut stumps can be seen in some places. The trees felled by a storm in the 1960s were removed5. The park still has traces of some WW2 emplacements and trenches, although no fighting took place within its boundaries1. Camping is only allowed at the campground.





2       Parviainen, J. et al. (1999): Opens external link in new windowResearch in Forest Reserves and Natural Forests in European Countries. EFI Proceedings No. 16, 1999.

3       Agee, J. K. (1998): Fire and pine ecosystems. In Richardson, D. M. (ed.): Ecology and Biogeography of Pinus. Cambridge.

4       Shorohova, E., Kneeshaw, D., Kuuluvainen, T. & Gauthier, S. (2011): Opens external link in new windowVariability and Dynamics of Old-Growth Forests in the Circumboreal Zone: Implications for Conservation, Restoration and Management. Silva Fennica 45(5).

5       Karvinen, T. (2017): Kansallispuistot: maamme luonnon helmet. Docendo.


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Wet Betula pubescens (downy birch) forest close to the shore of Savulampi.
Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine) forest. Also Picea abies (Norway spruce) with dense foliage and Betula pendula (silver birch) with white bark.
Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine) forest. Also Picea abies (Norway spruce) with dense foliage, Betula pendula (silver birch) with white bark and small Juniperus communis (common juniper), foreground. On forest floor Vaccinium myrtillus (bilberry).
Populus tremula (common aspen) grove. Also Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine, reddish trunks), Betula pendula (silver birch, thinner white trunks, centre, right and left background) and shrub-like Sorbus aucuparia (European rowan).
Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine) forest at Kokkolahti.
Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine) forest at Kokkolahti. Also Betula pendula (silver birch), broadleaf trees.
Ruununsaari Island over Valkiajärvi Lake. Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine) dominated forest.
Bog invading small pond. Mostly Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine).
Salix myrsinifolia (dark-leaved willow). Background: Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine) forest.