The beauty of old-growth forest!

Jouni Laaksonen 15.7.2019

Earlier this summer I told about my hike in Urho Kekkonen National Park. That time I concentrated only on one tiny detail: springs. This time I’ll show pics from one day on that hike, and again I concentrate on one detail only: the beauty of old-growth forests.

There is a huge difference between managed forests and old-growth forests. Managed, commercial forests are typically rather young and at least monotonous by both tree age and tree species.

Natural forests, or ancient forests, or old-growth forests – dear child has many names – are beautiful, personal and variable. They consist of trees of every age, from tiny saplings to giants hundreds of years old, and there are pines, spruces, birches, aspens, goat willows, rowans, junipers. And there are gnarls of curious shapes, many kinds of polypores, marks of ancient forest fires, beard moss, thick shield bark and so on.

Old-growth forests are the home to hundreds of threatened species, like insects and fungi living on dead tree, and plants, mammals, birds. Also they are the best forests for us hikers, because there’s so much to see and experience. The atmosphere is at least great, but sometimes even magical.

So, here are some pics from one day when I hiked from Kiilopää to Luirojärvi in Urho Kekkonen NP:

Hiking in Finland

Hiking in Finland

Hiking in Finland

Hiking in Finland

Hiking in Finland

This last one may require some explanation. I came across this lump the size of about two human heads and first thought it was a rock. But no, it’s a tree gnarl/burl! It looks like the gnarl is growing from ground, but it has to be so that a huge tree with this gnarl has fallen down long time ago (centuries ago?), then the tree trunk has slowly decomposed as it was not visible at all any more, but the gnarl has denser, more age-resisting composure, and therefore it has not decomposed yet. It was firmly attached to ground.

Naturally I write about old-growth forests of Finland, as well as wild flowers, birds, fells, lakes, islands and so on, and hiking skills needed here, and the best hiking destinations, in my guidebook Hiking in Finland.

I’m not a nature proper photographer. I take a lot of nature photos, but I don’t have the patience and skill to wait for just the perfect light. If you want to see fantastic photos with mystical light in forests, you might want to see for example my friend Eeva Mäkinen’s portfolio.








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