Caring for woodland

Myllylähde is surrounded by magnificent woodland, which can be classified as a mainly herb-rich forest. The area also has features of cultivated stands –  signs of human activity. The lush herb-rich forests are the most valuable habitat in terms of biodiversity as the richness in the variety of species is greater than that of dry forests. The lushness makes them distinct from the rest of the environment due to the variety of plants they support, but the main difference between dry forest and the herb -rich forest is in their soil. A herb-rich forest will have friable soil up to a depth of half a meter and a generous layer of decomposing leaf litter will suppress conifer seedling development at the primary leaf stage. In spring, the leaf litter breaks down quickly, as the forest floor contains up to three million roundworms and about three hundred earthworms per square metre.

Ihminen kaataa puuta metsässä.

Woodland in its natural state, will see trees of different ages and different tree species densely packed close to one another. If the spruce grows in a grove, it will monopolise the area quickly and other species will struggle to compete. Spruce will also cast shadows on the undergrowth and their roots will reduce the habitat other trees and shrubs require to live. They also acidify the ground so that the seedlings of broad-leaf trees struggle to grow. In order to preserve the diversity of the woodland, spruce must be removed. Sometimes it is also possible to plant the original tree species of the area and thus aid those creatures that require decomposing trees to live in. In the southern woodland, grazing is one way to create biodiversity.

Before there is any management of the forest, it must always be decided which woodland should be preserved. Some tree species require open clearings while others require a humid micro-climate or a large amount of decomposing plant and tree litter. Not all species can be protected in the same area and preserving the diversity of woodland in general requires the protection and management of the different types of woodland. Occasionally, a woodland type emerges as a result of human activity, such as those situated at the edge of forests. Some woodland may also have been created as a result of traditional land use, such as grazing.