Vattukuru Ravine is a work of art from the Ice Age
Around Lake Kouvanjärvi the limestone cliffs descend to the water almost vertically. Several species that are found in the area are typical to limestone rocks and regionally threatened, such as moss species Pseudoleskeella papillosa, Encalypta brevicolla, Encalypta rhaptocarpa, and Platydictya jungermannioides. The Alpine Saxifrage (Saxifraga nivalis) and the Haller's Bartramia Moss (Bartramia halleriana) also represent threatened rock vegetation.
Scree rock fields, which have been created by frost breaking the rocks, are characteristic to the hill tops of the National Park. They are at places where the waves of the ancient sea and the melting waters of the Ice Age have washed the rocks. Scree can be found for example at the tops of the Hills Teerivaara, Ahmavaara, Maaselkä and Kärryvaara.
The Maaselkä part of the Park has scenic ravines, called Vattukuru and Portinkuru, which have been formed by the melting waters of the Ice Age. At some places they are 20 metres deep, and on their scree slopes grows endangered Zygodon conoideus moss. Other threatened species in this difficult terrain include Pseudoleskeella papillosa and Ditrichum zonatum moss, and the Green Spleenwort (Aspleniaceae viride).
Hill forests and endangered species
Syöte National Park is located at Koillismaa region, where the landscape changes from North Ostrobothnian broad aapa mires to wilderness-like hills growing spruce forests. Syöte National Park was established to conserve and represent the various types of North Ostrobothnian hills, forests and mires, and the species of old-growth forests. The park consists of four different areas: Syöte, Maaselkä, Latva-Korte-Kärppävaara and Salmitunturi. Gently rolling hills with spruce forests, open bogs on the hill slopes, and dense, at some places luxuriant brook hollows alternate in the landscape.
Syöte National Park includes a large chain of old-growth forests, part of which is high altitude forest. It covers about 2/3 of the Park area, and consists of old-growth forests in their natural state, and areas which have burnt in natural forest fires or due to slash-and-burn agriculture, but have after that been left for decades to grow without interference from human activities, and have since developed from deciduous forests into spruce dominated old forests. Characteristic to these forests are the old age of the tree stand, the large amounts of rotten trees, the variety in the age of the trees, and the diversity of tree species. The versatile old forest is also a habitat for many animals which are threatened or need special protection, such as the Siberian Flying Squirrel (Pteromys volans), the Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), the Red-flanked Bluetail (Tarsiger cyanurus), and the beetle species Pytho kolwensis and Pytho abieticola. In the coniferous forests of Syöte also live the Chiff-chaff (Phylloscopus collybitus) and the Merlin (Falco columbarius).
The nesting birds of the National Park include the White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), the Siberian Jay (Perisoreus infaustus), the Siberian Tit (Parus cinctus), the Western Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), the Black Woodpecker (Dryocopus martius) and the Greenish Warbler (Phylloscopus trochiloides). In addition to the Flying Squirrel, the mammals of the park include the Brown Bear (Ursus arctos), the Wolverine (Gulo gulo), the Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx), the Wolf (Canis lupus) and the European Otter (Lutra lutra). Also Brown trout (Salmo trutta fario) lives in the streams of the Park.
Hanging bogs, aapa mires
The most impressive aapa mires in Syöte National Park are located in the areas of Jaaskamonvaara Hill, Päätuore - Ahmavaara Hill and Salmitunturi Fell. Different types of mires are situated in the depressions between the hills, on the slopes and on the top areas. The largest mires are often square kilometres large, only forested on the edges and quite close to being in natural state, because mostly they have not been drained or trees felled.
The impressive hanging bogs at over 300 metres, being in their natural state and low in nutrients, represent the traditional meadow landscape. One of the regionally threatened plant species of aapa mires is the Great Pond-sedge (carex riparia).
Marsh saxifrage favours lush areas and needs lime
The parts of the National Park which are closest to their natural state are fens, herb-rich forests, grove-like spruce swamps, and spring areas, which have the most humid micro climate. They are located at the northern parts of the Park, around Kouva, and sometimes elsewhere near the numerous streams and brooks. Many regionally and nationally threatened species can be found there, such as the fungus species Leucoscypha ovilloides in the groves.
Threatened species of the fens include the Hudson Bay Sedge (Carex heleonastes), species of moss Limprichtia verniciosa and Gymnocolea borealis, and orchids Dactylorchiza incarnata and Dactylorhiza traunsteineri. On the fens of Syöte also grows the Marsh Saxifrage (Saxifraga hirculus) which is protected by the EU. The Alpine Sow Thistle (Cicerbita alpina) can be found in the groves. The spring areas are the habitat for the Scented Liverwort (Conocephalum conicum).