Characteristics of Espoo forests
Forests occupy nearly 60% (18,700 ha) of Espoo’s land mass. Of these, a relative large proportion, some 2,300 hectares, is protected, including the Nuuksio National Park(extrernal link). Protected nature reserves include 81 forest areas.
The largest forests are located in Nuuksio, Pirttimäki, Luukki and in Espoo Central Park, in addition to which there are groves and old-growth forests in various parts of the city. According to the latest forest resource survey(extrernal link), some 29% of all Espoo forest area is aged 80 years or older and 16% of the forest is over 100 years old.
The majority of forests in Espoo are spruce- or pine-dominated coniferous forests with some mixed deciduous trees. There are also grove-like heaths and lush herb-rich forests. Espoo is located on the hemiboreal vegetation zone, also known as the oak zone, so oak trees, other hardwoods and hazels are commonly found here.
The city owns some 5,500 hectares of forest and more than 3,000 hectares of planned green areas. Maintaining biodiversity in forests is important and can be done, for example, by preserving old trees, thickets and decaying wood. A countless number of organisms take shelter and make their habitat in them.
There are also many small-scale mires in Espoo. Forests, rocky areas and mires often intertwine in Espoo to form mosaic-like patterns. Similarly to forests, mires are important not only to the numerous flora and fauna using them as habitats, but also to us humans in the form of so-called ecosystem services. They produce berries, prevent floods, purify water and store carbon. Forests also offer all Espoo residents the chance to wind down and enjoy nature.