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Herb-rich forests

The herb-rich forest is the most lush nature type in the region. Photo Jan Nyman.

Herb-rich forests are the most nutritious forest type in Finland, distinguished by lush vegetation in the field layer. Shrub plants such as blueberry are absent, while grasses and herbs dominate. Common wood sorrel, May lily and ferns are common and trees are mostly deciduous. Birch, alder and bird cherry are most prevalent and their fallen leaves fertilize the ground during autumn. Insects and worms feeding on decomposing plant material are abundant and these transform nutrients from vegetation into an easily absorbable form, thus revitalizing the forest the following spring. Bird species thriving in herb-rich forests are garden warbler, black cap, icterine warbler and lesser spotted woodpecker. Spruce trees can also be found. Spreading by seeds, they may over time threaten the herb-rich forest type as they increase soil acidity and provide excessive shade, which impacts traditional herb-rich forest plants negatively. Herb-rich forests used to be more abundant in Finland but due to the nutritious soil such areas were often cleared in favor of agriculture.

In Vaasa you find herb-rich forests along the shoreline. It is a relatively damp nature type, most often found in valleys and along the shoreline, for example in Suvilahti and Gerby. Springtime offers the most attractive greenery as well as the most intense bird activity even from early morning hours.