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Life to Koli - LIFE to Koli - Restoration of the forests and meadows in the nature park

LIFE03 NAT/FIN/000035

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Kari MIELIKÄINEN
Tel: +358 10 211 3113

Project description:


The Koli National Park in Finland includes a mix of boreal forests habitats , Fennoscandian herb-rich forests, different meadow types, lakes, eskers (ice gravel deposits) and bog woodlands. The Finnish tradition of slash-and-burn agriculture has been in use in Koli for more than 250 years, and the region’s national heritage landscapes have attracted tourists for some 100 years. However, prior to being declared a national park in 1991, more than 20% of Koli’s forests had been economically exploited: the forests lacked the decayed wood and natural fires necessary for regeneration and, in herb-rich forests, spruces were taking over. Other threats to the landscape included the overgrowth of meadows and earlier drainage of bog woodlands. Awareness of the park’s natural values among locals and visitors also needed improving.


The project aimed to draw up long-term management/restoration plans for the forests, meadows and bog woodlands of the national park. A controlled burning plan lasting up to 50 years would be introduced so that by the end of the project there would be 15 ha of freshly burnt boreal forest to provide the conditions to restore cultivated forests in a total area of 100 ha. Other steps to be taken would include the removal of spruces in 5 ha of herb-rich forests, restoration of meadows in 5 ha and filling in of in ditches in 25 ha of drained bog woodlands. Public awareness of these activities would be raised by producing educational materials for schools and by producing a video about the slash-and-burn method. Guidebooks about controlled burning, and forest and meadow restoration would be produced for biotope-management specialists and the project planned to build three thematic nature trails within the national park.


The project reached its targets, developing and beginning to implement long-term action/management plans for the boreal forest, bog woodlands, herb-rich forests, and the slash-and-burn practice and management of semi-natural grasslands. Some 107 ha of cultivated forests were restored (approximately 76 ha through increasing the amount of decaying wood and some 31 ha by controlled burning). The slash-and-burn actions increased the area of western taiga in Koli National Park from 423 ha to 547 ha. In addition, the project restored 28.3 ha of bog woodlands and 3.7 ha of various semi-natural grasslands (6520, 6510 and 9070). The project increased the area of the area of managed (mainly grazed) semi-natural grasslands within Koli National Park from 26 ha to 30 ha. Slash-and-burn agriculture (burning, sowing and harvesting) with traditional rye and turnip seeds was carried out in a 17 ha area with the involvement of the local community. To publicise the project activities, three guidebooks on the restoration actions were published, on forest and mire restoration, slash-and-burn practice and meadow management respectively. These were distributed to the educational establishment, professionals and local community. In addition, three thematic nature trails - herb-rich forests, slash-and-burn and restoration of forests and mires - were built and related educational material produced for students. A monitoring scheme was established to assess the effects of the restoration actions on forest structure, vegetation, macrophytes, forest damaging insects and slash-and-burn practice on soil. Three monitoring reports were filed during the course of the project. The monitoring scheme will continue after the project’s conclusion. Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report (see "Read more" section). This project has been selected as one of the 26 "Best" LIFE Nature projects in 2007-2008.


Environmental issues addressed:


Habitats - Coastal
Habitats - Forests


environmental training‚  forest management‚  touristic zone‚  information service‚  land restoration‚  management plan‚  restoration measure‚  information network‚  water resources management‚  recreational area‚  information system‚  drainage system‚  environmental education‚  environmental impact of agriculture‚  forest ecosystem‚  grassland ecosystem‚  landscape conservation policy‚  wetlands ecosystem‚  site rehabilitation‚  public awareness campaign‚  integrated management‚  tourist facility‚  modelling‚  forestry

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 79/409 - Conservation of wild birds (02.04.1979)
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...
  • Decision 93/626 - Conclusion of the Convention on Biological Diversity (25.10.1993)
  • COM(95) 189 - "Communication on the judicious use and conservation of wetlands" (12.12.1995)
  • COM(98)42 -"Communication on a European Community Biodiversity Strategy" (05.02.1998)
  • COM(2001)162 -"Biodiversity Action Plan for the conservation of natural resources (vol. I & II)" ...

Target Habitat types

  • 6510 - "Lowland hay meadows (Alopecurus pratensis, Sanguisorba officinalis)"
  • 6520 - Mountain hay meadows
  • 9010 - Western Taïga
  • 9050 - Fennoscandian herb-rich forests with Picea abies
  • 9070 - Fennoscandian wooded pastures
  • 91D0 - Bog woodland

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Finnish Forest Research Institute
Type of organisation Research institution
Description The Finnish Forest Research Institute (= Metsäntutkimuslaitos, Metla for short) was established in 1917, and started its activities in July 1918. Since then Metla has grown considerably; the current network of research centres, research stations and research forests covers the whole country. It the main forest research institute in Finland and one of the biggest forest research institutes in Europe. Metla is subordinated to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Metla's social task is to promote – through research – economically, ecologically and socially sustainable management and utilisation of forests.
Partners Joensuun yliopisto; Pohjois-Karjalan ympäristökeskus;


Project reference LIFE03 NAT/FIN/000035
Duration 01-NOV-2002 to 30-OCT -2006
Total budget 664,127.00 €
EU contribution 332,064.00 €
Project location Pohjois-Karjala(Finland Suomi)


Read more:

Project web site Project's webpage (FIN/EN)
Publication: Guidelines-Manual Ennallistajan opas Kokemuksia ja esimerkkejä eliny ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual Niittyjen hoitajan opas. Kokemuksia ja esimerkkejä ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual Kolin kaskiopas (Guidebook)
Publication: Layman report Layman report (FIN)
Publication: Layman report Layman report (FR)
Publication: Layman report Layman report (EN)
Video feature Title: "Kaski palaa Kolilla" -video about slash-and-burn agriculture. Author: Metsäntutkimuslaitos Editor: Jyrki Kurki


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version