Green Espoo is a modern city that keeps growing and, at the same time, becoming an increasingly constructed urban environment. Agriculture has played an important role in the long history of Espoo, and various farming and grazing practices have shaped the city’s landscape and nature for hundreds of years.

Numerous species have adapted to these rural environments. Now that the traditional animal husbandry and the included grazing have ended, the old agricultural environments are becoming extinct also in Espoo, and the species and habitats typical to them have become endangered. Fortunately, many of the species from these traditional landscapes also thrive in new meadows to be established and, for example, along roads.

Appropriate management of traditional landscapes and other meadow areas is also a part of biodiversity maintenance.  The city manages in its area several meadows and landscape fields as well as traditional landscapes to ensure that they do not become overgrown. In certain Metsähallitus sites, including the surroundings of Villa Elfvik and the Gulf of Espoo in Fiskarsinmäki, the landscape is also maintained with the help of grazing.

Importance of traditional landscapes

Studies on traditional Espoo landscapes were conducted in 2003 and 2014. Various kinds of meadows and fields make for attractive landscapes and create a comfortable living environment. They also provide nourishment for pollinators and survival opportunities to other species that have adapted to these environments. Traditional landscapes also act as a link between Espoo’s long-standing agricultural history and current urban nature.

Although many of our traditional landscapes are relatively small in size and partly overgrown already, there are real jewels among them and impressive plant species are still in common existence. There is also an impressive number of butterfly species living in the meadows. The importance of Espoo’s traditional landscapes is further highlighted by their extensive history: the past of many of the sites can be traced all the way to the 18th and 19th centuries.