Nature's biodiversity in Kuusamo

Preserving landscapes and biodiversity in Kuusamo

Starting from fall 2020 visitors of Ruka-Kuusamo area have a possibility to contribute to preserving region’s beautiful landscapes and biodiversity. Kuusamo forests provide multiple benefits for both locals and visitors, such as provide attractive environments for recreation and mental recharging, picking berries and mushrooms, and breathing clean air. The region’s economy is also rooted in forests as they act as a source of income for forest owners and entrepreneurs within forestry and tourism.

Landscape and Recreation Value Trade in Kuusamo helps to maintain beautiful landscapes and biodiversity in forests that are mainly privately owned. The model aims to safeguard the environmental values of forests and to sustain prerequisites of nature-based tourism. The model has been developed within an international SINCERE-project which develops new types practices for preserving landscape, recreational and nature values of forests in diverse parts of Europe. The Landscape and Recreation Value Trade is developed in Kuusamo together with Natural Resources Institute Finland, Finnish Forest Centre and local stakeholders.

The activity provides a new type of channel to visitors to contribute to maintaining the forest landscapes and biodiversity in a long term. Currently most of the forest owners’ income comes from timber sales. With the help of this new model the losses of income from timber sales could be compensated to landowners if they commit to sustain nature values in their own forests. The activity supports the ecological but also social and economic sustainability of the regions as tourism also benefits local landowners.

The model is developed based on previous scientific studies regarding payments for ecosystem services models and research on attitudes and opinions of tourists, tourism firms and forest owners towards voluntary nature preservations actions. A successful implementation of the model engages different stakeholders to work together for safeguarding Kuusamo’s nature values in a new way.