Spot the park's winged inhabitants
The landscape of Salamajärvi National Park is dominated by mires, because it is located on a watershed, where differences in altitude are small and flow of water is weak. Characteristic to the area are large open fens with only few trees, but also many other types of mires are represented. On the marked trails you can learn about the diverse mire ecosystems.
The most remarkable of the mires in the National Park is Heikinjärvenneva. On the edge of the mire there is an observation tower, where you can see the many wader species of the National Park, most common ones being the the Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago), the Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola), the Ruff (Philomachus pugnax), the Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia) and the Jack Snipe (Lymnocryptes minima). Many duck and gull species nest in the puddles of the fen. Also the Crane (Grus grus) and the Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus) live on the mires of the National Park. With a telescope you can observe the life of the Bean Goose (Anser fabalis) on the fen.
The ancient forest of Koirajoki
There also are great old-growth forests in Salamajärvi National Park and especially in Salamanperä Strict Nature Reserve. The most impressive forest ecosystem of the National Park, Koirajoki old-growth forest area in the northern part of the park, has been protected since the beginning of the 1900s by decision of Metsähallitus.
The most abundant bird species living in the forests are the Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs), the Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus), the Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata), the Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla) and the Rustic Bunting (Emberiza rustica).
The Finnish forest reindeer at Salamajärvi
If you are lucky, walking on the edges of the mires you can see the Wild Forest Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus fennicus), which has been reintroduced to the area. The Wild Forest Reindeer disappeared from Finland in the beginning of the 1900s for decades. In 1979, two males and eight females were transferred from Kuhmo, and since then the population of the Wild Forest Reindeer has increased in Suomenselkä area to over 1000 individuals.
Also seeing the footprints of the Wolverine (Gulo gulo) is nowadays a common occurrence in the park. Wolverines were transferred to Salamajärvi from the north in the 1990s. Wolfs (Canis lupus) come into the area occasionally. But seeing the Moose (Alces alces) or its footprints is more likely, as they like to live in the peace of the National Park.
Restored Forest and Mire Ecosystems
In the last years, restoration work (www.metsa.fi) has been carried out in the forests and mires of the National Park. Most of the forests in the area have been in commercial use before the National Park was established. Most of the mires are in their natural state.
In the cultivated forests, where diversity is low, more space for deciduous trees have been made by clearing and burning over the woodland. The few drained mires of the National Park have been restored back to their natural state by cutting some of the trees and blocking the ditches, so that the original mire vegetation could grow back.