Natural Features of Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

Photo: Vastavalo/Jaakko Vähämäki
Kauhaneva is an internationally significant mire. During spring time, the birds of the mire create a cacophony of sound but in the winter, there is nothing but silence in the mire. 

Taking care of nature

Treasures of the mire environment

In South Ostrobothnia Region, Kauhaneva is the largest raised bog with hummocks. Together with Kampinkeidas Mire on its north-west side, it forms an internationally important mire complex.

Raised bogs are mires where turf has grown higher than the surrounding mineral soil. The centre is often a couple of metres higher than the edges. Raised bogs are low in nutrients, and therefore the centre parts are barren of vegetation, since they only receive nutrients with the rainwater.

A male Ruff (Calidris Pugnax). Photo: Kari Leo

Raised bogs consist of drier hummocks and between them deceitfully soft and wet hollows, or puddles with open water. On the dry hummocks grow Sphagnum moss (Sphagnum sp), and sparse tortuous pines (Pinus sylvestris). Large puddles between the hummocks are a good habitat for mire birds. On Kauhaneva, there are hundreds of puddles with clear open water.

Hummocks and hollows. Photo: Timo Halme and Tuomo Häyrinen

Kauhaneva Mire has three centres, where around a puddle there are circular formations of hummocks. Outside these centres is a soggy fen, which in the south turns into huge open aapa-like mire. The open aapa-like mires have more nutrients, as they get addition from the surrounding mineral soils during the spring floods.

The wood sandpiper and the park's other birds The Common Crane (Grus grus). Photo: AK

On Kauhaneva Mire you can see for example Common Crane (Grus grus) and  Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus), which bring up their young near the puddles. Walking on the mire, you can also observe the life of Herring Gulls (Larus argentatus), Little Gulls (Larus minutus), Yellow Wagtails (Motacilla flava) and European Golden Plovers (Pluvialis apricaria). Other bird species of the National Park include Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus), Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola), Common Redshank (Tringa totanus) and Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia). Also Black-throated Diver (Gavia arctica) and Red-throated Diver (Gavia stellata) have their home there.

The wood sandpiper at the Kauhaneva–Pohjankangas National Park

The wood sandpiper (Tringa glareola) is the most common wader species in the mires of Kauhaneva. Its nesting population has declined slightly in recent years and is therefore declared to be one of the regionally endangered species in southern Finland. During late spring and early summer, you can hear its rhythmical “liro-liro-liro” mating call in the open mires of the National Park.

Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola). Photo: Terttu Hermansson

Easy walking on the esker

Pohjankangas is part of the esker formation of Western Finland, which starts at Hämeenkangas running west, and continues as Pohjankangas running north up to the boundary of the South Ostrobothnia region. The forests are dry and barren heaths growing pine. The ground layer is dominated by reindeer lichen (Cladonia rangiferina) and Big Red Stem Moss (Pleurozium schreberi). Other indicator plants of Pohjankangas include the Heather (Calluna vulgaris), the Lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) and the Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) .

Photo: Terttu Hermansson

On the barren and light pine heath lives also the European Nightjar (Caprimulgus europeaus). Its hypnotic churring can be heard in the light summer night, but the bird itself is not often seen, due to its excellent protective colouring. The morning song of the Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus) can, in the summer, begin already at midnight.

Returning the mires back to their natural state

On Kauhaneva Mire, the edged were drained during the 1960s and 70s. Today, the mires are being restored back to their natural state ( This means that the ditches which were dug earlier, are blocked, and the trees, which have grown because of draining, are felled. The aim is to get the water to rise back to the original level, and to reduce the evaporation by the trees, so that the original mire vegetation, which has partly disappeared, could grow back.

Photo: Metsähallitus

Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park

  • Established 1982
  • Area 67 km²

The Emblem of Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park - Wood Sandpiper



The Emblem of Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park is Wood Sandpiper