The last rays of the setting sun paint the tops of the pines lining the shores in red as a great, pale-coloured bird of prey sweeps down towards the woodland pond to fix up the nest it has been using for many years. This male osprey has flown thousands of miles from Africa to return to its nesting site. Soon, the familiar nest becomes home to several brown-spotted eggs, which the female broods under the watchful eye of the male.
In collaboration with their partners, UPM has built artificial nests and installed nest cameras on company-owned land. The data collected by watching the ospreys will help to develop new ways of promoting their living conditions and maintaining their natural habitats.
It is the blue hour before dawn in the late winter, in the woods by the lake bay. A silent tapping sound can be heard from the direction of a sturdy downy birch snag. The source is an endangered bird: A male white-backed woodpecker has left its sleeping hole to look for breakfast in the form of beetle larvae burrowed in the snag. After a short while, the male lets out a long drumming sound that carries far, attracting the attention of a female across the lake shore. Soon it will be time for these birds, who start their nesting period earlier than any other woodpecker species found in Finnish forests, to start excavating their nest hole.
UPM has been involved in a long collaborative project to study the white-backed woodpecker and its chances of survival in commercial forests, and project partners have even created the “White-Backed Woodpecker and Forestry Guide” for forestry professionals and forest owners. The research has shown that ensuring that there is sufficient deciduous trees and deadwood available plays a particularly important role in securing good living conditions for this bird species.
A morning in May sees a vivid purple flower stretch its white-haired stem bashfully towards the sun: it is time for the pulsatilla patens to spread out its stunning petals. This flower is the beauty of the esker habitat when it blooms in the spring. However, its population is declining due to eutrophication, overgrowth and a decrease in natural disturbances. UPM has obtained a special licence from the authorities to collect the seeds of the plant and grow them into seedlings, which can then be planted in favourable open locations on land owned by UPM. Pulsatilla patens populations can also be cultivated by clearing habitats threatened by overgrowth.
Each autumn, Finnish forests yield approximately 20 buckets worth of edible berries per Finn. The berries are a gift from Mother Nature, a healthy and pure superfood that anyone can collect thanks to Finland’s public access rights. Picking berries is the perfect combination of fun and useful. It is an excellent way of getting exercise and fresh air while filling buckets with delicious treats packed with vitamins – and the berries are equally at home in our commercial forests and in conservation areas.