Jukajoki Restoration Project
Location:North Karelia, Finland
Type of protection:One Natura 2000 site
This heavily damaged catchment area in boreal Finland, North Karelia is home to a state-of-the-art ecological restoration, using traditional knowledge and latest science, and includes the internationally recognized wetland and bird habitat of Linnunsuo. Here, water is allowed to flow in a most natural way once again, and nature based activities like bird watching are undertaken. The community-based and driven management is key in the restoration process.
- Habitat types: Marshmires, middle boreal forests, boreal catchment area
- Keystone species present: Terek sandpiper, Northern pintail, Common greenshank, Wood sandpiper, Ruff, Eurasian teal, Goldeneye
- Fauna (mega) species present: Brown bear, Wolverine, Moose, Lynx, Wolf, Otter
- Vegetation types present: Middle boreal
- Description: Project activities focus around allowing water to flow in a most natural way. Linnunsuo was re-flooded and restoration of river dynamics is taking place. Biodiversity, for example to support otters and fish spawning areas, is central to each site that is being restored.<br /> Wetland units have been constructed to stop the acidic, organic and nutrient flows into the lake and river Jukajoki. The units have been designed with the idea to increase biodiversity, especially for duck species such as teal and goldeneye.<br /> Restoration of the basin furthermore includes closing forestry ditches, restoration of marsh mires, and creation of the 120 hectares Linnunsuo bird site wetland.<br /> Development of small business activities is taking place as the site attracts nature photographers and bird watchers which provide income to the local economy. Plans are in place to start nature based activity development that will include bird watching towers, shelter, campsites, etc. In addition, proposed plans are to expand the traditional fisheries, especially fish traps and outdoor education, including Selkie (a local community) school visits to the site.
- Aim: Full restoration of Jukajoki basin by 2025 with the re-introduction of brook trout as a spawning species on the river and full co-management system for the basin.
- Vision: A new style of community led ecological restoration that corrects the damages done to the boreal ecosystems from 1940s to 1990s in Finland due to man made ditching and draining.
- Accomplished in 10 years from now: Return of trout to the river, full co-management, full ecologically stable basin (acidic soils as a problem now), and a network of restored sites across Europe to which we can join.
- Uniqueness: Jukajoki project is very unique in many ways. It is succeeding in restoring acidic soils basins, uses traditional knowledge with science for restorative measures, and has installed the first co management in Finland - it has no peers at the moment in depth or width or scale.
- Results so far: Creation of an internationally relevant bird sanctuary at Linnunsuo, instalment of basin-wide restoration activities, inclusion of traditional knowledge as a first time basin restoration and management scheme.<br /> A lesser form of bird hunting has been successfully and to overall satisfaction agreed upon with hunters, which allows wading species to migrate before limited hunting season starts.<br /> <br /> Jukajoki Restoration Project, begun in 2010, has risen in the past six years as a global example of boreal co-management of a basin. It has partners in Australia, Canada, and Saami areas. Recently it was featured in the UNEP 2014 Yearbook as a best practice, and received the Energy Globe 2015 award for a best ecological project. It is a new style of northern boreal ecological restoration where traditional knowledge and science go hand in hand, as featured also in a major US documentary film.
- Flagship species: Other (please, specify)
- Other characteristics: Community involved, Eco tourism, Education, Recreational activities, Research
- Inspirational value: It is the first time this manner of restoration work has happened in Finland and in the boreal of Eurasia to this extent. Jukajoki and Linnunsuo are models for a new style of ecological restoration throughout those middle and south boreal sites where natural values and ecosystems have collapsed. Lastly, it was the villages and fishermen who accomplished all of this - not a small detail to consider.
- Experience you would like to share: Ecological, village-led restoration and activities that have produced extremely relevant results in a short time.
- Experience you would like to gain: Learn of challenges and problems as well as solutions to ecological restoration across Europe and the ways local communities have been involved.