One of the five nature reserves to be established in 2024 is the Meri-Rastila nature reserve. Photo: Raisa Ranta

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In a significant boost to urban conservation efforts, Helsinki is set to enrich its green landscape by establishing five new nature reserves in 2024, covering a total area of approximately 129 hectares. These conservation initiatives, focusing on areas in eastern Helsinki and extending to the western part, underscore the city's commitment to biodiversity and environmental protection.

The creation of these reserves is in line with the Helsinki City Strategy for 2021–2025, which includes a commitment to establishing at least five new nature reserves annually.

The selected areas are part of the Helsinki Nature Conservation Programme (2015–2024), aimed at safeguarding the city's unique natural habitats.

The upcoming reserves, namely the Mellunmäki flood meadow, Meri-Rastila nature reserve, southern Mustavuori, southern shore of Porvarinlahti, and Tali nature reserve, showcase a diverse range of ecosystems from flood meadows to forested areas and rocky terrains, each hosting a variety of species, some of which are vulnerable or endangered.

Highlights of the New Reserves:

  • Mellunmäki flood meadow is notable for its open flood meadow landscape, home to species vulnerable in Helsinki like the pygmy smartweed and three-petal bedstraw, alongside an array of shrubland birds and nocturnal singers, including the rare corncrake.

  • Meri-Rastila nature reserve stands out with its near-natural forests, bogs, and significant stone fields, supporting a range of endangered species and serving as a crucial area for bat conservation and birdlife, including the red-breasted flycatcher and greenish warbler.

  • Southern Mustavuori features rocky forests and diverse habitats within the Natura 2000 area, with significant flora like the lesser butterfly-orchid and fauna including rare birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

  • Southern shore of Porvarinlahti encompasses shoreline meadows, forests, and the reed-covered waters of Porvarinlahti, offering a habitat for reed-dwelling birds, amphibians, and reptiles, and including species like the great reed warbler.

  • Tali nature reserve is distinguished by its herb-rich forest and flood meadows along the Mätäjoki river, attracting a variety of woodpeckers, warblers, and bats, including the rare Nathusius’ pipistrelle.

As of 2023, Helsinki boasted approximately 1,424 hectares of nature reserves, with a third consisting of water bodies. The addition of these new areas will not only increase the city's green spaces but also ensure these reserves remain accessible for recreational use, reinforcing Helsinki's position as a city where nature conservation and urban living harmoniously coexist.

HT

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