Natural habitat types

The land lifts up!

The land uplift can be seen in the nature of the Hanhikivi cape. The coastal bare sea floor becomes – zone by zone – first a coastal meadow, then a brushwood, a herb-rich forest and finally after many developments a needle-tree forest in the middle of the cape. In the area it is also possible to find many critically endangered flada and glo-lakes, which are typical to land uplift coasts.

The Hanhikivi cape is one of the most notable land up-lift costal areas in Finland. The area is extraordinarily representative because it is wide, unified, mainly untouched and includes many remarkable conservation subjects. In addition to protected natural habitat types and significant traditional landscapes, the Hanhikivi cape contains many private nature reserves and Parhalahti-Syölähtinlahti-Heinikarinlampi Natura2000 –area, which also belongs to the nationwide bird water conservation programme.

In the land uplift coastal areas land has taken over the sea since the Ice Age. Land lifts up particularly fast on the coast of the Bothnian Bay, approximately 7–8 mm per year. The phenomenon is unique in the whole world.

Natural forest succession series of the land uplift coast is one of the most threatened natural habitat type in Finland and in whole Europe. It has been classified as critically endangered and primarily protected, and Finland carries a special international responsibility in preserving it. The coasts of the Bothnian Bay are the key areas in preserving land uplift coasts.

Sea Buckthorn is a typical pioneer plant of a land uplift coast which has conformed to occupy the shore’s bare land promptly. Sea buckthorn grows wild in Hanhikivi.

Sea Buckthorn is a typical pioneer plant of a land uplift coast which has conformed to occupy the shore’s bare land promptly. Sea buckthorn grows wild in Hanhikivi. Photo: Vuokko Moisala.

The natural habitat types of Hanhikivi

Critically endangered habitat types:

  • Natural forest succession series of the land uplift coast
  • Low graminoid seashore meadows
  • Tall sedge seashore meadows
  • Possibly also Salt patches

Endangered habitat types:

  • Coastal sand beaches
  • Coastal Picea abies dominated herb-rich heath forests
  • Coastal Picea abies dominated mesic heath forests
  • Glo-lakes (coastal lagoons)
  • Middle-aged deciduous-dominated herb-rich heath forests

In addition more than 15 vulnerable or near threatened natural habitat types.

EU’s Habitats Directive habitat types in Hanhikivi, for example

  • Natural forests of primary succession stages of landupheaval coast
  • Coastal vegetated moraine, stone and boulder shores
  • Coastal sand beaches
  • Fixed coastal dunes with herbaceous vegetation (‘grey dunes’)
  • Herb-rich forests
  • Coastal lagoons
  • Boreal Baltic coastal meadows
  • Vegetated sea cliffs of the Atlantic and Baltic Coasts
  • Fennoscandian deciduous swamp woods