In Espoo, coniferous forests form the most common forest type. In addition, the city houses patches of rare lush grooves, and hardwoods and hazels common in Southern Finland that add some zest to forested areas. Sharp variation of rock pine stands, slope forests and wooded marsh hollows formed by the melting glaciers and characteristic of Northern Espoo in particular, contribute to the diversity of the local forests.
Familiar and rare animals of the forest
The wide variety of forest habitats provides a home for a rich and diverse fauna. The majority of endangered species of Finland prefer living in old-growth forests in their natural state, which themselves are becoming a rarity. For forest species to survive, we cannot allow their habitats to become isolated patches of land due to, for example, construction. This is prevented by maintaining an adequate number of green networks and wildlife corridors.
The largest forest animals found in Espoo are the common White-tailed deer, the Roe, and of course, the mighty Elk. There are some lynx living in the forests of Northern Espoo and even bears pay occasional visits. Droppings of the endangered Flying squirrel have been found even in the southern parts of the city, but only the chosen few have actually seen the large-eyed creature. Of the many bats species, the Whiskered bat is the most common.
Many of the vulnerable or endangered species, such as the Wood grouse, the Eurasian three-toed woodpecker and the Red-breasted flycatcher, need undisturbed natural forests to live in. The more rugged rock pine stands, on the other hand, offer an ideal habitat for the Nightjar and the Woodlark.
Many insects, other small animals and a wide range of plants and fungi prefer living undetected in the shadows of the forest. The critically endangered Buxbaumia viridis has even spread to new locations.
Deadwoods form an important part of forest cycle
In nature, nothing is wasted. Decaying wood is an important part of forest cycle, where nutrients return to the soil to generate new growth. In nature, waste management is handled by an army of specialised organisms, to which a dead tree provides both nutriment and shelter.
Deadwoods afford a habitat to polypore species, slime moulds, beetles and other insects, and many mosses and lichens. Many forest species are specialised to a particular type of deadwood. Organisms may even form decomposition chains, where they take turns decaying the wood. In addition to microorganisms, many birds, bats and the Flying squirrel depend on deadwood and the cavities therein for feeding, nesting and staying safe. Each individual deadwood is always a temporary habitat, which is why it is important to have a constant supply of decaying trees in a forest.
In commercial forests, the proportion of deadwood is minimal compared to natural forests. A large part of the endangered or vulnerable species in Finland is dependent on deadwood, or at least need it at some stage of their life cycle. In addition, many of the smallest forest inhabitants still remain quite poorly known