Old farming culture has shaped the nature in Espoo for centuries. Herb-rich forests have been cleared to fields, but human activities have also created new, open and species-rich habitats, which today are known as traditional landscapes. These include, inter alia, meadows, pastures and grazing grounds.
Now that these landscapes are no longer needed for grazing or other original purposes, they are in danger of overgrowing and disappearing, if not maintained. Such areas are very rich in species and their maintenance considered landscape management.
Endangered species thrive in traditional landscapes
A large proportion of threatened species in Finland, some 23 per cent, live in meadows and other traditional landscapes. The number of plant and insect species is particularly impressive. Of the rare plants growing in Espoo, the Bristled bellflower and the Fragrant orchid of the orchid family are perhaps the most impressive.
Traditional landscapes support numerous insect species, such as beetles and butterflies. The endangered Six-spot burnet as well as the Scarce fritillary, strictly protected under the EU Natural Habitats Directive, are found in Espoo. The flowery splendour of open traditional landscapes is insect pollinators' paradise.
City maintains traditional landscapes
Espoo listed its traditional landscapes in 2014. Of the close to 50 significant or noteworthy sites found, the Espoo Environment Department performs annual maintenance on 13 locations situated on city lands. The maintenance involves the mowing, cutting of saplings and sprouts as well as removal of invasive species.