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Northern nature: regional zones
Natural geography


Central North-Finland is the land of forests and mires...

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In general

Parts 'Boreal zone' and 'Arctic tundra'
are not translated
in english!

Finland belongs mainly to the boreal (northern) forest region, the taiga.

Finland is a land of forets: We have forests circa 4,5 ha to one inhabitant. The volume of forests in whole Europe - except Russia - is some n. 0.4 ha to one inhabitant, only.

From growing stock of Finnish forests will fell yearly 80 million cubic metre, approximately. That volume of timber reach two times round Earth as one meter high and one meter wide pile of wood. More: utilization of forests!


The boreal zone forms a belt around the northern hemisphere. In Scandinavia it extends far north to latitudes with arctic tundra or even ice elsewhere (e.g. Greenland). On the northern edge of the boreal zone the average temperature in July is about +10°C (see map 1).

In Scandinavia there is (after most scientists) no true tundra or permafrost, except in frost peat mounds, palsas (palsa!). On the cold mountain areas of boreal zone is found so-called oroarctic vegetation, which is similar to the real arctic tundra vegetation. - Those areas, which are situated north of Arctic circle, can of course be named to arctic, but this definition is not natural.

Coniferous forests (Scots pine, spruce; see chapter "Forests") and mires (= peatlands), (see chapter "Peatlands") are typical of the boreal zone. In the northernmost areas of the zone, tundra-like treeless bare mountaintop areas ( ± alpine vegetation) can be found (see chapter "Fjelds"). More: Boreal coniferous forests (maps)!

The borders of vegetation zones (for instance boreal zone or subzones of theirs and forest- and mire vegetation zones reflect naturally to frequent distributions of animals. This is naturally, because living of animals are tied on many ways to vegetation and its production either directly or mediation (for instance several insects are able to eat some plant species only or several birds, that eat certain insects, only). Very important border to animals and plants living in forests is northern forest border. This border is environmental tolerance border to all northern forest nature!

As well the internal variation of some species follow natural border/zones( e.g. color formats of scuirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) between South and North Finland) or life cycle of fir-tree weevil (Hylobius abietis): life cycle in North Finland at least three years, in South Finland in general two years, only. The interpretation of geographic variability is however often troubled: are the reasons of differences between sothern and northern genotypic or genotypic characteristics?

Cool and infertile...

Finland’s, specially Northern Finland’s, climate has cool summers and long winters, so called snow forest climate. Effective thermal sums of summer are quite low.

The weather changes in north very unexpectedly (risks are caused by spring and summer frosts, changing weathers in spring and snow).

Bedrock and soil in Northern Finland are quite poor in nutrients, which also restricts the diversity (see: bedrock and soil!).

The lightness continues the whole growing period and thus almost all of the night/day variation disappears, which is characteristics of Northern Finland (see annual light period!).


A forest in wintertime (Oulu).

October in Kilpisjärvi: the first snow covers the ground already,
but the lake is still partially free of ice. The mountain birches in the front
are bare - the period of winter darkness "kaamos" is getting closer...


Wide North Finland is on behalf of nature multiform!
There are several natural zones in north Finland both from south to north direction and as well in highness-direction (from boreal coniferous forests to mountain birch forests and to close to tundra). Diverse nature of mires (peat bogs) is prominent: in mires can find wide gamut of nutrient budget, there are several types of aapa-mires and palsa-mires...



(Above): the marsh tea (Ledum palustre) represents
a plant species fairly well adapted to northern conditions:
it is evergreen, desiccation-tolerant, winter-resistant,
adapted to nutrient-poor soil/peat and it has a symbiotic relation with mycorrhizae.

There are in service several natural geographic divisions in Finland, too.
Above one of these which is grounded largely to division of finnish forest vegetation,
but takes account of human effects, too.
More: forests, mires and waters!

Floristic divisions are grounded to distribution of plant species,
here from distribution of oak (Quercus robur) to common border
of some mountain plants in Lapland.

It has been made by Finnish Forest and Park Service a proposal to biotope classification of all Finnish environments based on maps and aerial views. (Seppo Tuominen, Heikki Eeronheimo & Heikki Toivonen (eds.), 2001: Yleispiirteinen biotooppiluokitus. - Metsähallituksen luonnonsuojelujulkaisuja B:57, PDF-publication).

There are 10 classes in this biotope classification: A) Seabiotopes, B) Seashorebiotopes, C) Inland waterbiotopes, D) Closeted forestbiotopes, E) Thin tree stands: heath-, rock- and stonybiotopes, F) Open and thin tree wetlandbiotopes, G) Open heathbiotopes, H) Open rock- and stonybiotopes, I) Agricultural land biotopes and J) Populated surroundings biotopes. (Closeted forestbiotopes = coverage of crown at the least 30% - mires, also. Open and thin tree biotopes = coverage of crown at the least 10 - 30%.

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