(UPM, Joensuu, 6th September 2013 at 9.00) – The METSO programme, established to secure the biodiversity of Finnish forests, involves various projects which aim to improve conditions for a number of different forest species. Within one network initiative due to end this year, 18 new ponds have been dug in the habitat of the endangered northern crested newt in North Karelia within the past two years. During monitoring in August, it was discovered that the species had already expanded into six new ponds.
The ponds that the northern crested newts have expanded into are located in land owned by private forest owners, the city of Joensuu and UPM. The planning and implementation phase was carried out in co-operation between the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, the Forestry Centre and UPM, and the digging itself was done by local forestry contractors. The project has received funding from the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Ministry of the Environment as well as from UPM, the city of Joensuu, the Joensuu pop musicians association and the Finnish POP bank. Funding intended for nature management projects provided by the Forestry Centre has also provided the means for digging ponds and restoring small aquatic ecosystems on private land.
“This is the first time in Finland that northern crested newts have bred in ponds dug especially for them,” says Ville Vuorio, a researcher of northern crested newts who works for the North Karelia Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment and has been participating in the project.
Ponds have been dug within the METSO project in areas where the population of northern crested newts has declined due to terrestrialisation or the draining of ponds. In addition to digging new ponds, living conditions for the northern crested newts have been improved by deepening existing ponds and raising their water levels, as well as by restoring nearby bogs.
“These observations clearly show that there are now more northern crested newts in Finland than there were before the project,” Vuorio says.
“During the four-year project, the northern crested newt became a mascot for the whole North Karelia; it has appeared in the media, at a rock event, in a music video as well as in a board game. In 2012, it was nominated as the official species of the city of Joensuu,” says Sirkka Hakalisto, who is responsible for the management of the project and works for the North Karelia Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment.
As a result of the project, habitats of the northern crested newt are now taken into account cost-efficiently as part of regular forest management. During harvesting, trees growing around ponds where northern crested newts live are preserved. The happy news of the ponds' new inhabitants is likely to encourage the management of the habitats of the northern crested newt.
“Improving the state of small aquatic environments and the surrounding forests has yielded proven results and strengthened the northern crested newt population in North Karelia. The species now has a better chance of surviving future challenges, such as climate change,” says Hakalisto.
“Working together with the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment within the METSO project has been very rewarding. In protecting and reviving the habitats of the northern crested newt, we have been able to implement ecological information and modern forestry knowledge into forestry operations on a practical level,” says Juha-Matti Valonen, Environmental Specialist at UPM.
For further information, please contact:
Ville Vuorio, North Karelia Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, email@example.com, tel. +358 400 885,172
Sirkka Hakalisto, North Karelia Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +358 40 827 5475
Juha-Matti Valonen, UPM, email@example.com, tel. +358 400 152,416
Ville Moilanen, City of Joensuu, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +358 50 672 81
Petri Varis, Ilosaarirock, email@example.com, tel. +358 44 293 6889
Ilmastonmuutos metsässä - Rupilisko huippumalliksi, METSO turvaverkostoiksi -hankkeen esittely metsonpolulla http://www.metsonpolku.fi/fi/METSO/yhteistoimintaverkostot/rupilisko.php
Rupilisko Ilosaarirock-tapahtumassa http://www.ilosaarirock.fi/2012/ymparisto/rupilisko.php
Rupilisko Joensuun kaupungin sivuilla http://www.joensuu.fi/rupilisko
Rupilisko ja UPM https://www.metsamaailma.fi/fi/ForestInformation/ForestLibrary/Sivut/rupilisko-metso-verkostohankkeessa.aspx
Images for use by the media
Images can be used by the media free of charge. The photographer, Ville Vuorio, must be mentioned.