Pure and beautiful Eastern Lapland

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Think of Eastern Lapland. Think of clean air, ancient forests and fresh, clean waters. Think of the land covered in snow in the winter and the northern lights blazing across the sky. Think of the white nights in the summer; the midnight sun that brings out the flowers and gives berries their unique flavour.

Eastern Lapland covers more than 21,000 square kilometres but is home to fewer than 16,000 people. There is plenty of room to breathe. Room to let your thoughts roam free, let them fly over the wide wilderness.

THE PURE AND BEAUTIFUL EASTERN LAPLAND

The Pure and Beautiful Eastern Lapland logo and the slogan were produced as part of the VÄRI project run by the Federation of Municipalities in Eastern Lapland. The logo and the slogan were created for the use of both municipalities and individuals when promoting nature and opportunities in the Eastern Lapland region.

The material presented on these pages is based on scientific research. Most of the material is taken from research conducted at the Värriö Subarctic Research Station of the University of Helsinki.

The charts and graphs were prepared by post-doctoral researcher Kimmo Neitola from the Värriö Subarctic Research Station. Visualisation was created by Tomi Knuutila (Laiton Kuu), based on the data produced by Neitola.

CALMING EFFECTS OF FORESTS

Did you know that the calming effect of forests is scientifically proven? Spending time outdoors in a natural environment will reduce your heart rate and blood pressure. Outdoor activities in a natural environment will also help alleviate stress and improve your mood.

Eastern Lapland is in the coniferous zone of the northern hemisphere. Forests of the north play a key role in the mitigation of climate change. As the forests grow, they form vast carbon reserves that absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Eastern Lapland is home to several significant conservation areas where the branches of ancient trees are left to whisper in the wind. These trees will never be felled. The Pyhä-Luosto National Park was the first one established in Finland. Other significant conservation areas in Eastern Lapland include the Urho Kekkonen National Park, the Oulanka National Park, the Riisitunturi National Park, and the Maltio and Värriö National Parks. Various conservation areas cover around 13% of the Eastern Lapland area. The national parks were established primarily to serve as research areas, and access to them is subject to a permit. The purpose of the national parks is to safeguard biodiversity in Finland and provide people with an opportunity to enjoy and relax in a natural environment.

CLEAN WATERS

The ecological status of 95% of the lakes and 94% of the rivers in Lapland is good or excellent. Deep in the Eastern Lapland wilderness, you can drink clean water straight from a stream. The largest lakes in the area are Lake Yli-Kitka in Posio and Lake Kemijärvi. Finland's longest river, River Kemijoki, runs from the eastern border across the entire Lapland, gathering water from the vast wilderness areas of Eastern Lapland. Other great rivers in the area include Rivers Kitinen, Luiro and Tenniöjoki.

INCREASE IN LIFE EXPECTANCY

The World Health Organization (WHO) uses the fine particles in the air we breathe as an indicator of ambient air quality. Fine particles that measure less than 2.5 micrometres (PM2.5) are particularly harmful as they are small enough to penetrate our lungs with the air we breathe.

In terms of fine particles, the limit for healthy ambient air is set at 25 µg/m3 (micrograms per a cubic metre of air). In Eastern Lapland, the PM2.5 figure is around 2 µg/m3.

See below how the estimated life expectancy of people living across Europe would increase if they were to breathe the clean air of Eastern Lapland for one week. More videos available in here!

NATURE'S DELICACIES

The long white summer nights of the north, the clean waters and the fresh air all help to produce plants with exceptional flavour. Thanks to the midnight sun, the plants produce plenty of sugar, making them sweeter and juicier than those grown further south. Take the Lapland potato, puikula for example. It has a deeper yellow colour, a sweeter flavour, and a firmer texture than the puikula potatoes grown elsewhere in Finland. That is why the Lapland Puikula was the first food product in Finland to be awarded an EU patent. Berries grown in the north taste great, but they are also packed with natural goodness. Lingonberry is an example of a berry that will give you heaps of positive health effects.

Cloudberry is the golden treasure of the wetlands of the north. Cloudberries contain 1,5 times more vitamin C than oranges. Picking cloudberries is one of the highlights of the summer in the north, but it is a delicate plant. You never know where you will find it, and how many you will find. In a good year, with the right conditions, all you need to do is walk to the wetland and start picking, but in other years, there may be no cloudberries at all.

One study shows that 56 percent of Finns, irrespective of their socioeconomic status, go to pick forest berries at least seven times each summer.

Climate change has improved the growing conditions in the habitats of Eastern Lapland. The average temperature has increased fast. From 1975, it has increased by more than 2 degrees. The heat sum has also increased significantly, making the growing season longer. For example, today, leaves on birches appear three weeks earlier in the spring than they did forty years ago.

P.S. Everyman's rights refer to everyone's right to move freely in nature in Finland. Everyman's rights (jokamiehenoikeudet) are an integral part of Finnish culture and legislation.

WHITE WINTERS

In Eastern Lapland, the winter lasts five months. The first snow falls in October and the skiing season continues until April and May, sometimes even longer. At the end of March, there is usually more than a metre of snow. The Yli-Nuortti weather station at the Värriö Subarctic Research Station is one of the coldest in Finland. On a clear winter night, the temperature may fall close to -50 degrees centigrade. In general, however, the average winter temperature is around minus ten degrees.

Even though global warming also affects the arctic, Eastern Lapland will continue to have snow in the future.

Contact information
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Director
Dina Solatie
dina.solatie@italappi.fi
tel. +358 40 354 8370