Natural Features of Iivaara Nature Reserve

Watching the midsummer sun from Iivaara summit

Iivaara hill offers splendid views over Kuusamo. On a clear day, some of the highest buildings in the centre of Kuusamo are visible from the top of the hill.

At Iivaara the nature is versatile. Photo: Jyrki Mäkelä

Ii means night. In the olden times, people gathered to the top of Iivaara to watch the midsummer sun and the area's beautiful scenery.

Fertile and fell-like

The area consists of northern hills showing the entire lifespan of forests and spruces in particular from seedlings to decaying old trees. Lower down, lush herb-rich forests and sparkling springs brighten up the landscape in depressions. On the hills, the altitude creates fell-like conditions that provide shelter for demanding species that thrive in the summit areas.

Wolverine tracks. Photo: Jyrki MäkeläIn terms of plant species, Iivaara is covered by mixed forest typical of the area that is dominated by pines and spruces. Some of the tree-covered area is very fertile, which is reflected in the diversity of species found there. Endangered yellow marsh saxifrage thrives in the fertile mires of the area. The springs and herb-rich forests host a diverse array of species. Alpine bearberry and Alpine clubmoss are among the fell species found at the top of Iivaara. Calypso and baneberry also grow in the Iivaara area; both are rarities of lime-rich soil areas.

Species typical of old forests

Of mammals, reindeer and hare are the area's most plentiful year-round residents. Extensive wilderness areas in and around Iivaara provide living habitats to wild but shy predators: wolves, wolverines, and bears. Crevices provide nesting places for lynx.

Iivaara is a destination for bird-lovers also, with a wide range of species typical of old forests including large woodpecker and land bird populations. Forested mires and aapa mires offer nesting places to smew, crane, and ruff.