English summaries 10/1999
Village beauty and a cultural landscape are doomed without proper management
By Kyösti Kiiskinen and Juho Rahkonen
Residents of the village of Huruksela, in Kotka, fully appreciate, and consequently take care of, the rich gift of their landscape. A Huruksela Society now actively operating in the village made a proposal in 1994 for the protection, management, and improvement of the village scenery and its environment. Finance for this project was obtained from a number of sources, including the inhabitants' own bank accounts.
For a start, the village flora and the structure of its landscape were surveyed and documented. Then a landscape management programme was drawn up by landscape architect Eeva Ilonoja, and this was put into operation in 1996. "Landscape management at Huruksela means bringing a gentle influence to bear on the development of the cultural landscape," is how Eeva Ilonoja succinctly puts it.
Some effects of the programme are apparent in other ways as well. Several families
have moved into the village and a number of new jobs have been created, mainly connected with basic production and services.
Finland's cultural landscape as an entity is endangered. In conjunction with the EU's common agricultural policy, Finland will probably be forced to adopt the Danish-Dutch large farm system. This will mean the destruction of many small farms. "As a consequence, the heritage landscape is now under threat," says Tapio Heikkilä, a Senior official at the Ministry of the Environment.
"Tickets FIM 50 each." Entrance fees for national parks?
By Juho Rahkonen
The Forest and Park Service (FPS) is considering charging people for entrance to national parks. The reason is simple: lack of funds. The FPS requires an additional 20-30 million Finnish markka (approx. EUR 5 million) a year to be able to manage the national parks under its care in a proper manner.
This plan has caused an outburst. Despite the fact that elsewhere in the world charging people for using national parks is perfectly normal, two of the Finnish Association for the Conservation of Nature's previous presidents, Rauno Ruuhijärvi and Harri Dahlström, consider this solution unsuitable for Finland.
Even high ranking officials within the FPS itself are against the idea of fee-paying visitors. "The only way to make up the deficit in the FPS's funds is for the State to increase its annual appropriation," avers FPS Conservation manager Rauno Väisänen.
Stone statues intrigue the geologists: there are "sea-stacks" in Finland too
By Juho Rahkonen
Finland's bedrock is, in general, extremely hard, so that the formation of what geologists term "sea-stacks" has been extremely rare. Rapakivi (a reddish form of granite that easily crumbles, hence its Finnish name) and porphyritic granodiorite, by contrast, are so soft that ice, waves, acid lake water and temperature fluctuations can corrode these two types of stone. Thus, sea-stacks occur in at least a score of locations in Finland.
The English name of "stack" is derived from the word "stakkur" in Faroese (the language spoken in the Faroe Islands), while the Finnish term "raukki" comes from the ancient Scandinavian "rauk", which means (rather aptly) a "stone statue standing on the shore".
Skolt Sami Domna Fofonoff continues to honour old traditions
By Elina Määttänen
On the basis of their specific language and culture, Finland's Sami (Lapps) are divided into the Forest Sami, Inari Sami, Fell Sami and Skolt Sami. The Greek Orthodox Skolt Sami arrived in Finland from Russia, where they had lived since time immemorial. They were given their present-day area 300 km beyond the Arctic Circle by the Finnish State in 1949.
Domna Fofonoff learned a wide variety of traditional skills from handicrafts, basket weaving and cheese making, to the ancient art of curing ills with bracket fungi, from her mother and other older people. A picture on pages 34-35 shows Domna banishing a pain by applying to the patient's skin a tiny, dried, burning fragment of Fomes fomentarius, a bracket fungus commonly found growing on decaying birch and other broadleaf trunks. The effect of this cure is contained by placing a ring round the burning fungus.
Domna still teaches the ancient handiwork skills along with her sister, Helena Semenoff, to younger Skolt Sami living both in Finland and in Russia.
The Hawaiian islands - volcanoes and endemic species
By Tea Karvonen
In Hawaii, one can be in a tropical rainforest and at the top of a snow-capped mountain in the same day. The world's most active and accessible volcanoes, Mauna Loa and Kilauea occur there, too. These are surrounded by Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Volcanoes on Hawaii on continually spewing out new lava. Lava flows slip down the mountain slopes into the sea, from time to time threatening local villages or even whole townships. In 1989, lava flowed into the national park visitor centre, which was completely destroyed by fire. The following year a hundred houses in the village of Kalapana were wiped out by a lava flow moving at walking pace.
The Hawaian islands are the world's most isolated cluster, the distance to the nearest land in any direction being over 3000 km. For this reason, the islands have become a kind of evolutionary field trial, where plants and animals arriving there have been able to evolve without being hampered by competitors and predators.
Huge ocean-going canoes brought people, in the form of Polynesians, to Hawaii some 1,500 years ago. This led to the rapid destruction of endemic species, a process that accelerated considerably after the Englishman James Cook "discovered" the islands in 1778. Nowadays, half of the islands' endemic bird species are extinct and many of those remaining are endangered.