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Transparent World > Gallery of satellite images > The Barents Region from Space

The Barents Region from Space

The Barents Euro-Arctic Region (hereinafter Barents Region, or BEAR) consists of the northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and northwest Russia. It includes 13 administrative regions in the northernmost parts of Norway (Finnmark, Troms, Nordland), Sweden (Norrbotten, Västerbotten), Finland (Lapland, Kainuu, Northern Ostrobothnia) and Northwest Russia (Murmansk Region, Republic of Karelia, Arkhangelsk Region, Republic of Komi and Nenets Autonomous District), covering a total area of 1.8 million km² of which 75% is in Russia.

The Barents Region boasts one of the largest relatively intact forest ecosystems remaining on Earth. The region is rich with biodiversity. Within its territory there are several mega-corridors of large wilderness areas with old-growth forests, which should be given conservation priority. Intact forest and mire ecosystems are enormous carbon storages and have a significant impact on global climate through Earth’s radiation balance and carbon cycle. The unique and vulnerable natural ecosystems of the Barents Region represent natural heritage of global significance. Therefore, the region has special responsibility to conserve its unique nature.

The biggest threats to biodiversity in the boreal and Arctic nature of the Barents Region are habitat loss and fragmentation, and climate change. Due to increasing and often unsustainable use of natural resources – gas, oil, minerals, forests, mires and water resources – threats to the remaining wilderness and roadless areas continue to grow.

The Barents Protected Area Network (BPAN) project was implemented between 2011 and 2014 with the aim to promote and support a representative network of protected areas for the conservation of boreal and Arctic biodiversity, especially forests and wetlands. The project examined the characteristics as well as the representativeness of the protected area network in the Barents Region. In this publication we wish to illustrate some of the results of the BPAN project (https://helda.helsinki.fi/handle/10138/156287).

Satellite imagery is an important tool for monitoring northern nature and mapping areas of high conservation value. Satellite monitoring is also used to identify human activities that threaten these unique ecosystems. Today satellite images are getting more and more easily available for anyone interested, often free of charge.

For this publication we have selected only freely available Landsat 8 satellite images, revealing the beauty and complexity of the Barents Region as seen from above. We have tried to select a series of images that represent the diversity of northern natural ecosystems from Arctic tundra and seashores to boreal forests and mires. Some of these images present the most valuable and unique nature habitats in the region. We have also tried to emphasize the various threats to these fragile areas. You will see clearcuts, mines and wildfire areas, which are so huge that they are visible from space.

In most of the images, forests and wetlands are seen in colours you would not find in Google Maps or other popular online services. We have used a combination of red and infrared bands, recorded by satellite sensors, to produce images that highlight the variation in natural vegetation.

We hope that these images inspire you to learn more about our common nature and to protect it.

Authors: Dmitry Aksenov, Denis Dobrynin, Dmitry Koltsov, Anna Kuhmonen, and Jyri Mikkola
Layout: Erika Varkonyi.
Back cover photo: Frédéric Forsmark.
Satellite images courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey.

This brochure illustrates the results of the publication: Aksenov, D., Kuhmonen, A., Mikkola, J., and Sobolev, N. (eds.) 2015. The Characteristics and Representativeness of the Protected Area Network in the Barents Region.


Satellite images list:

02.08.2011 Open pit mining in the city of Kovdor

Open pit mining in the city of Kovdor (Murmansk Region, Russia). Open quarries and bare ground are very well visible in blue and purple. A mosaic of wildfire areas of different ages (bright magenta, pink, and light green spots) surrounds a large area around the mines. There are some pine forests left (dark green and dark magenta spots) north of the mine. Light green areas represent former clearcuts. Particularly large former clearcut areas are located west of the mining area. The only remaining natural areas here are wetlands, indicated by light gray and blue spots inside the clearcut areas.

18.08.2011 Kaita Mountain area

Kaita Mountain area in Murmansk Oblast, Russia. The mountains are split by deep canyons being home for high flora diversity and providing habitats for a number of rare and endangered species of plants and animals. West from the central part of the image, next to the canyons, there are old-growth pine forests on rocks (the mosaic of dark green and dark magenta). The magenta-crimson spot north to them is a fire scar after a forest fire in 2000–2002. The dark green spot to the northeast from the fire scar is a tract of remaining dark coniferous old-growth forests located around small Tashechnoe Lake. Another dark green tract of old-growth forests (mixed spruce and pine) is located in the northeastern corner of the image, eastwards of Vadozero Lake (the biggest lake in the image). The biggest part of old-growth forests in the area was clearcut some years ago – you could see the light green spot with rectangular boundaries in the central and eastern parts of the image. The light green color indicates reforestation over an old logging area.

02.06.2013 The river valley of lower Pechora River

The forests at their northern edge – the river valley of lower Pechora River in the boundary of Nenets Autonomous District and the Komi Republic, Russia, near the town of Velikovisochnoe. The boggy Pechora River valley is bright magenta in this image and is very distinctive. The numerous river branches and small lakes are visible. The surrounding landscapes on river terraces are also mainly dominated by peat bogs (bright green, light yellow) but these wetlands are of totally different types than those in the valley (more oligotrophic and sphagnum dominated). The sparse forests on their northern edge have olive and dark green colors in this image. Eastwards from the river there are visible wetlands with many small lakes and small “hills” (olive green spots) of permafrost process origin.

04.08.2014 Intact forest landscape of the Dvina and Pinega Rivers’ watershed

The famous intact forest landscape of the Dvina and Pinega Rivers’ watershed (Arkhangelsk Region, Russia). The difference between intact coniferous forests (dark) and secondary deciduous forests after clearcuts (light green) is distinctive. In the western part of the forest landscape there are several wetlands (white-turquoise-blue-pink areas), probably on karst land. Rectangular clearcut areas penetrate these forests from all sides, especially from the north. Over the past decade, this intact forest landscape has been in the focus of acute conflict between forest companies and nature conservation non-governmental organizations (NGOs). A compromise plan for a protected area is currently under negotiation.

15.05.2014 The so-called Southern Intact Forest Landscape

The so-called Southern Intact Forest Landscape (IFL) on the border of the Kirov Region and the Komi Republic, Russia. Most likely the landscape has formed at the place of a forest fire that occurred over 100 years ago. It is now mainly old-growth spruce and aspen forest (magenta-green), with remnants of old-growth fir and spruce forests (dark green) that predate the fire. It also contains a number of windfall areas of different ages (lines of bright green and light magenta within the landscape). Clearcuts penetrate the landscape from all sides. Unfortunately, valuable fir and spruce forests in the northern part of the landscape have already been destroyed by logging. The planned compromise between forest companies and environmental NGOs may help to save the rest of this IFL.

19.09.2013 Oil development near the town of Voyvozh, Komi Republic

Intact forest landscape destroyed or fragmented by oil development near the town of Voyvozh, approximately 60 km west of Troitsko-Pechorsk, in eastern Komi (Republic of Komi, Russia). Old-growth fir and spruce forests, probably with Siberian pine (dark brownish green), which are surrounded by birch or birch and aspen forests (turquoise, gray), are disturbed and fragmented by oil infrastructure (roads, pipelines, drilling pads, etc.)

19.09.2013 Large wetland areas with river valley forests in eastern Komi

Large wetland areas with river valley forests in eastern Komi, west of the town of Neftepechorsk, Velu River, and Lakes Dzer and Dzervad (Republic of Komi, Russia). This large wetland complex contains various types of mires, including oligotrophic sphagnum mires (white and gray), more nutrient-rich mires (turquoise, magenta, crimson, and pink), and several small lakes. Forests still remain in the river valleys where the wetlands have protected them against destruction. The areas surrounding the wetlands are mainly logging areas, secondary forests or fire scars. There is also a large fire area within the wetland area (dark purple-magenta spot).

21.06.2013 Lower Mezen river valley, Arkhangelsk Region, Russia

Lower Mezen river valley (Arkhangelsk Region, Russia). There are grasslands (yellowish green) along the rivers, with possible burnt area (bright red) near the center of the image, as well as bare sand-bars (light pink). Various mires display on the image as turquoise, blue, grayish green, pink and magenta. The numerous open water pools on the mires display as black. The large, relatively even-colored magenta areas on the image (mainly in its western and northern parts) are sparse forests with plenty of lichens (Cladonia) in their ground floor, whereas denser forests display as olive, dark, bright, and light green.

23.05.2013 White Sea coast

A maritime landscape on the White Sea coast near the town of Sumskoy Posad in northern Karelia (Republic of Karelia, Russia). In the image, shallow waters (middle blue), tidal areas (pink, red, and light violet), an archipelago consisting of several small islands (the biggest one here is Megostrov Island), and coastal wetlands (turquoise, gray, pink, and crimson) are clearly visible.

23.05.2013 The aapa-mire system in the Ponoy River valley

Fennoskandia’s largest aapa-mire system in the Ponoy River valley (Murmansk Region, Russia), listed as a Ramsar site by Wetlands International, as well as an important bird area by Russian Bird Conservation Union and BirdLife International. The image shows the complex structure of the wetland system with its various mire types. The system is heavily flooded (dark blue and black colors) over the spring season (May).

23.05.2013 The Rokuanvaara formation

The Rokuanvaara formation is a large glaciofluvial esker northwest of Lake Oulujärvi (Vaala, Kainuu/Utajärvi, Northern Ostrobothnia, Finland). It includes a series of ancient shorelines (clearly visible in the image), as well as the largest dunes in the whole of Finland. Rokua National Park is located at the western half of the formation. Croplands and drained mires form a mosaic of rectangular areas on its southern side. In the northern part of the image, east of the river, large open aapa-mires display as a light gray and turquoise area.

27.07.2013 Kemihaara Wilderness Area and Urho Kekkonen National Park

Alpine (oroarctic) tundra (bright magenta) surrounded by old-growth forests (sliding greens with magenta) in Kemihaara Wilderness Area and Urho Kekkonen National Park (Lapland, Finland). These areas can be seen in the northwest (upper left) part of the image. Shadows of clouds display as a group of dark spots and the clouds as white spots of similar shape nearby. Clearcuts (pink, light magenta, and yellow) occupy central and eastern parts of the area, outside of the protected areas. The chess pattern of logging areas can be seen in the southeastern corner of the image. The Nuorttijoki river canyon, surrounded by old-growth forests (sliding greens with magenta) is visible towards the northern part of the image.

31.08.2014 The Kevitsa mine

The Kevitsa mine (a large open pit mine producing nickel, copper, and platinum) in Sodankylä (Lapland, Finland) is clearly visible in the image in purple and magenta. Forests in the central part of the image have been subject to intensive strip clearcutting.

16.09.2014 Hailuoto Island

Hailuoto Island on the rising (post-glacial rebound) coast of the Gulf of Bothnia (Northern Ostrobothnia, Finland). Old shorelines are clearly visible in the northern part of the island, along the current shoreline. Areas south of the shoreline are occupied by lichen-dominated (Cladonia) pine forests (grayish green), which in places are heavily disturbed by clearcuts (pink, white, and light blue rectangular areas). Croplands are represented by white and yellow areas in the central part of the island, while open reed marshes are shown in magenta. A transitional mire (white, grayish green, and magenta) is located southeast of the open marshes. At the westernmost tip of the island, there are protected sand dunes, characterized by unique vegetation (magenta with light blue). In the southern part of the island, coastal meadows (pink and magenta) and shallow waters (blue) follow the shoreline. In this image, boundaries between different landowners (mainly small private owners) are clearly visible in the landscape structure.

16.09.2014 Natural aapa-mires, disturbed by draining and peat extraction south of Rovaniemi

Natural aapa-mires, disturbed by draining and peat extraction south of Rovaniemi (Lapland, Finland). Natural aapa-mires are shown in turquoise, and purplish and blackish magenta. These mires are characterized by naturally irregular internal structures. Peat extraction sites are indicated by crimson and red areas with clearly visible grids of drainage channels. A completely drained aapa-mire displays as a pink area below the largest natural mire in the central part of the image. In this image, most of the natural mires belong to Runkaus Strict Nature Reserve and its adjacent protected areas.

03.06.2014 Forests eaten away by clearcuts, mire area, and alpine tundra in Lapland, Finland

Forests eaten away by clearcuts, mire area, and alpine tundra (Lapland, Finland). In the central and northern parts of the image, the remaining old-growth forests (brown-green), vast aapa-mires (deep and purplish magenta, turquoise, blue and black) and alpine (oroarctic) tundra (light magenta and light orange areas on mountaintops, surrounded by old-growth forests) create a mosaic of landscapes. These areas belong to the Pomokaira-Tenniöaapa Natura 2000 site and therefore remain undisturbed. At the same time, the surrounding forestry areas are affected by different types of clearcuts (light magenta, light pink, and light yellow rectangular areas and strips). There is also a large amount of secondary forests of different ages (bright green and light green areas).

24.08.2013 Mountain tundra landscape with wide river valleys in Norrbotten, Sweden

Mountain tundra landscape with wide river valleys (Norrbotten, Sweden), on the border of Finland. The border between two countries runs along the river in the northeastern part of the image. The area in the northeastern corner of the image is a part of Finland. Alpine (oroarctic) tundra on mountaintops displays in magenta color. Often alpine tundra forms a mosaic with sparse pine forests on rocky or stony ground, indicated by very light gray to green colors. Darker grayish green areas represent more closed-canopy pine forests, in many areas replaced by secondary forests (bright green and green). The yellowish green areas on the mountain slopes, next to the tundra, are mountain birch forests.

02.08.2014 Old-growth forests are being destroyed or fragmented by logging west of the town of Storuman, northern Sweden

The remaining old-growth forests (dark green, sliding greens) and mires (from grayish green to turquoise and red) are being destroyed or fragmented by logging west of the town of Storuman (Västerbotten, Sweden). Rectangular areas of fresh clearcut (magenta) and re-growing clearcut areas (light green, bright green) can be seen everywhere here.

09.08.2014 Old-growth forest and mire area close to the mountains northwest of the town of Vilhelmina, northern Sweden

Old-growth forest and mire area close to the mountains, northwest of the town of Vilhelmina (Västerbotten, Sweden). The old-growth coniferous forests (dark green) in the lower central part of the image form a complex landscape with peat bogs (grayish green to green and bright red areas within the forests), small lakes (black), and mountain birch forests (yellowish green areas in the middle of the forests). In the north, west, and east the old-growth forests gradually change into other natural highland ecosystems, including mountain birth forests (yellow-green) and alpine (oroarctic) tundras (bright magenta). However, clearcuts (bright green and yellowish green areas with straight and rectangular boundaries) penetrate these forests from the south.

15.07.2014 Glaciers on the northernmost cape of Vanna Island, Troms, Norway

Glaciers (blue) that persist until mid-July on the northernmost cape of Vanna Island, (Troms, Norway). Bare ground (red) around the glaciers consists of bare, rocky mountain slopes. A greater part of the peninsula is occupied by oroarctic tundra vegetation (greenish red), although lower locations may include birch forests (yellowish-green) and salt marshes or meadows near the seashore (turquoise).

31.05.2000 Wetlands and sub-tundra forests on Kuloy River

Large wetland areas in the Kuloy river valley, Mezen Peninsula, Arkhangelsk Region, Russia. At the center of the image, there is a large wetland complex heavily saturated with water. It contains several small lakes (black color). Drier areas with sphagnum (light yellowish green and grayish pink) are mainly located on the edges of the wetland. Forests are located west of the river valley on a karst plateau divided in parts by pretty deep valleys of a dense network of small rivers.

02.09.1999 Tundra, lakes and seashore on the Kanin Peninsula

Wetland-dominated landscape with several lakes as well as coastal and maritime landscapes on the western coast of Kanin Peninsula, Arkhangelsk Region, Russia. Shallow water areas on the coast are displaying as bright blue color.

09.06.2002 Large wetland landscape in the northern part of the Republic of Karelia, with different types of wetlands

Ypäyssuo mire-complex and surrounding mosaic of smaller aapa-mire systems and forests near Yushkozero, northern part of the Republic of Karelia, Russia. Ypäyssuo is among the largest aapa-mire complexes in the whole of Fennoscandia, and has a unique structure with its vast string-flark areas located in the eastern edge of the mire, displaying as mixture of magenta and dark blue in the image. A river valley and smaller river corridors divide the large wetland area, which contains several forested islands.

28.07.2000 Old-growth forest landscape surrounded by logging, northern part of the Republic of Karelia

The remaining old-growth pine-spruce forests next to Lake Petrojärvi in the Republic of Karelia, Russia. The area is surrounded by clear-cuts, the freshest ones displaying as pink and magenta colors. Young forests are very well visible as light green areas surrounding the dark green old-growth area at the center of the image. There are also several small bogs and lakes within the area.

01.08.2014 Intact forest landscape, fire scars, and seismic lines in northern Komi

Oil fields in the forest landscape of northern Komi, northeast of the Timan Ridge. Forests in the northern and eastern parts of the image have more spruce and fir (darker green), while forests in the southwestern part have more birch and aspen, mixed with spruce. Oil drilling pads and roads are well visible in magenta. There are also many seismic lines (used for oil exploration) visible in these forests.

01.07.2013 Clearcuts destroying valuable old-growth forest tracts in southern Komi, near the Perm Region border

One of the most endangered ecosystems in the Russian Northwest – southern old-growth fir and spruce forests (dark green and dark brown) and aspen and spruce forests (olive green and brown) – on the border of Komi Republic and Perm Region. Large areas of white, turquoise, grayish purple and blue indicate large wetlands. Light green represents deciduous forests after clearcuts. The chess pattern of yellowish green, pink, magenta and purple rectangles show clearcuts, which penetrate the last few intact landscapes of old-growth aspen and spruce forests. The largest intact landscapes contain old-growth fir and spruce forests (dark spots). Currently no part of these landscapes is protected. The narrow south to north strips, shown in light green or crimson in some of the landscapes, are windfall areas.

02.07.2013 Tundra and seashore in Nenets Autonomous District

Indiga River estuary in the Nenets Autonomous District. The estuary consists of shallow waters (blue) and marshland in its upper parts. There are also wetlands (magenta, light magenta, red, light blue) near the shoreline and a narrow sandy peninsula.

05.08.2014 Fire scars near Muezersky, Russian Karelia

Relatively large fire scars on islands within the large wetland areas, southeast of the town of Muezersky, Russian Karelia. The fire scars areas (bright magenta) are surrounded by a mosaic of young pine forests (violet, violet-green, magenta-green or deep green) and secondary deciduous forests (bright green).

06.08.2014 Logging frontier, Intact Forest Landscape of the Pinega and Vashka Rivers’ watershed

Intact forest landscape of the Pinega and Vashka Rivers’ watershed, northeast of the town of Karpogory, on the border of the Arkhangelsk Region and the Komi Republic, Russia. This distinctive landscape is represented by a natural mosaic of spruce forests, fir and spruce forests (dark grayish green); aspen, spruce and birch forests (lighter green); and pine and spruce forests (dark green). In the northern part of the landscape, there are patches of dry pine forests (magenta, purple) along the large Vashka River valley. Secondary deciduous forests in former clear-cut areas are bright green and distinctive. The chess pattern of clear-cuts is destroying the intact forest landscape from south, west and east.

13.07.2014 Clear-cuts north of Lake Ladoga

Forest landscape heavily disturbed by clear-cuts north of Lake Ladoga in southern part of the Republic of Karelia, Russia. The image shows a mosaic of fresh clear-cuts (pink, light magenta, deep magenta, and yellow), young deciduous forests (light green) and middle-aged coniferous forests (grayish green). Most of the boundaries are rectangular. The small dots within the clear-cuts are groups of seedling trees.

13.07.2014 Small-scale logging, destroying water protection zones near Petrozavodsk

Forest landscape heavily disturbed by logging southwest of the city of Petrozavodsk, Russian Karelia. Coniferous forests on the shores of lakes where clear-cuts are not allowed, are being destroyed by selective logging, seen here as small strips.

17.07.2014 Logging frontier and Pinezhcky Strict Nature Reserve

Logging frontier, moving over the intact forest landscape and stopped at the boundary of the Strict Scientific Nature Reserve (Pinezhsky Zapovednik), west of the town of Pinega, Arkhangelsk Region, Russia. Dark olive green marks the old-growth forests – spruce forests, or aspen, birch and spruce forests. Birch and aspen forests are displaying as brighter green. The intact forests landscape in the eastern part of the image has been strictly protected by Pinezhsky Zapovednik, which is a part of the Russian national system of strict scientific nature reserves (zapoveniks). So, the logging frontier was stopped at the reserve boundary.

A mosaic of forests and wetlands (white, pink, crimson, turquoise, and blue) occupy the center of the image. Clear-cuts (rectangular areas of light orange, pink, and light magenta) and fire scars (crimson and bright magenta spots) are located a little bit north of the center of the image, on both sides of the road. The biggest fire scar is partly inside the boundaries of the reserve. Bright green and light green areas are secondary deciduous forests after clear-cuts, mainly west of the intact landscape.

The southwestern corner of the image shows a typical situation where old-growth forests remain only along the river (due to water protection zones). Occasionally these forest fragments are surrounded by wetlands, which make a natural corridor between the forest fragments and the larger areas of intact forest. Often such river valleys are refuges for endangered species in otherwise damaged landscapes.

19.09.2013 Intact forest landscape and fire scars in eastern Komi

Intact forest landscape, consisting of fir and spruce forests and mixed deciduous and spruce forests in eastern Komi, east of the town of Ukhta and north of the town of Vuktyl. These intact forests (dark green) are bound with a large wetland system (light yellow, grayish green, turquoise, pink, crimson, and red) in the south and in the east. Here the forests between the wetlands have, for the most part, been logged earlier. In the north and in the west the border of clear-cuts and the following secondary forests (light green) are clearly visible. There are also several fire scars (deep magenta for the recent ones) within or around the intact forest landscape, including some large ones.

19.09.2013 Intact forest landscape next to the Ural Mountains in Yugyd Va National Park

Intact forests of Shchuger River in eastern Komi, northeast from the town of Vuktyl. The dark coniferous forests (dark green) in the Shchuger valley and on the slopes of the Ural Mountains are intact and undisturbed by forestry. However, they have been affected by fire. The magenta areas in the northeastern corner of the image are treeless mountain tundra highlands on the Ural Mountains. Grayish green, turquoise, crimson, and pink spots are wetlands – part of the natural landscape mosaic in these intact forest landscapes. The biggest part of the area is included in the Yugyd Va National Park.

21.06.2013 Kuloy River estuary, wetlands and tundra, forests

Kuloy River estuary, Arkhangelsk Region, Russia, near the town of Dolgoschele. There are many natural ecosystems important for biodiversity here, including shallow waters and tidal area (deep blue), marshes and grassland in the river valley (yellow, yellowish green) as well as huge wetland complexes (pink, crimson, magenta, purple, violet, turquoise, and blue) with several small lakes (black). Sparse northern pine forests with lichen (Cladonia) are displaying as large purplish magenta areas between the wetlands and the river, and dark green areas represent denser forests.

21.06.2013 Old-growth pine forests shaped by fire dynamics, Mezen Peninsula

Pine forests in the river valley in Mezen Peninsula, Arkhangelsk Region, Russia. Large magenta and purple areas at the center of this image represent dry (mainly lichen-dominated) pine forests in the river valley, possibly affected by fires regularly. The valley is surrounded by mixed deciduous and spruce forests (different shades of green) with wetlands (grayish green, turquoise, blue, pink, and magenta) on a karst plateau. The rectangular structure of small river valleys and bogs is characteristic for karst landscapes.

23.05.2013 Forest and wetland landscape in northern Karelia, Russia

The relatively large wetland area in Russian Karelia, east of Lake Rugozero intercepted by a river. The wetland is characterised by its complex structure and various mire types, indicated here by different colours.

28.05.2013 Large wetland areas in northern Komi

The confluence of the Usa and Pechora Rivers in the Komi Republic, Russia, south of the town of Usinsk. The river valleys are wide, with many river branches, meanders, lakes, and wetlands. Bare sands and eutrophic mires are indicated by distinctive shades of magenta and white. There is a plenty of wetland areas (greyish green, yellowish green, bright green, magenta, turquoise, and blue) on the sides of the valleys too. These wetlands represent a variety of wetland types with complex structures. A particularly large area of wetland is located east of the point where the two rivers meet. Here most of the forests are disturbed by logging. These include young coniferous and deciduous forests (green), as well as several fire scars (pink or light blue). Fir and spruce forests east of the rivers seem slightly less disturbed.

23.05.2013 Forest and wetland landscape in Kola Peninsula

Forest and wetland landscape surrounding Lake Sergozero in the Murmansk Region, Russia. This landscape is typical for the eastern part of the Kola Peninsula. The valleys are occupied by different wetland systems (greyish green, yellowish green, turquoise, pink, crimson, and magenta), while the more drained sites are occupied by sparse spruce and birch forests (less commonly by pine forests) (olive and dark green).

26.05.2013 Finnish-Russian border visible from space near Paanajarvi National Park

One of the largest intact forest landscapes in Russian Karelia, next to Lake Paanajärvi (narrow east-west directed lake at the center of the image). The western boundary of the intact forest landscape is visible as a straight line on the image and indicates the national border between Russia and Finland. While vast old-growth forests (dark green) have survived on the Russian side, the majority of the Finnish side is covered by relatively young pine-dominated forests (lighter greens). On the Finnish side some old-growth forests are preserved within the Oulanka National Park (dark green belts along the Oulanka and Kitka Rivers in the west-central part of the image). The southern part of the intact forest landscape on the Russian side is protected within the Paanajarvi National Park. However the bigger, northern part of the landscape is still unprotected and threatened by logging. Clear-cuts destroying the intact forests are visible on the eastern side of the landscape.

26.05.2013 Transboundary old-growth forest and natural mires tract at the Russian-Finnish border

The transboundary old-growth forest and natural mires tract around Lake Onkamojärvi (the largest black spot below the center of the image) on the border between Lapland Province (Finland) and Murmansk Region (Russia). The olive and dark green tracts of old-growth forests are very well visible north and north-west from the lake. They have straight and very distinctive linear and rectangular boundaries with clear-cuts (light brown) and young secondary forests grown after clear-cuts (light green and bright green). In the upper (northern) part of the image, the line between old-growth forests on the east and secondary forests on the west indicates also the national Finnish-Russian border. Here the native forests were logged on the Finnish side while are still preserved on the Russian side (probably due to the restrictions of the sub-boundary zone). Still, the biggest old-growth tracts are found today on the Finnish side, closer to the lake.

The natural-state open mires are visible next to the lake and between the forest tracts as areas from grayish green, turquoise, and blue to pink and deep magenta colors. The intensity of magenta color indicates the amount of water in the wetland. Grayish green areas are open Sphagnum moss bogs.

The magenta and pink spots that have a 3-dimensional look on the image, indicate alpine (oroarctic) tundra areas. The biggest one in the northern part of the image, on the Russian side, is Rohmoiva Mountain and Sallatunturi Ridge.

26.05.2013 Old-growth forests mixed with open mires in Syote Nationalpark

Old-growth forests (dark, deep and brownish green, brown, and light brown) mixed with open mires (grayish green, turquoise, blue, pink, and magenta) in Syöte Nationalpark, northern Finland. Surrounding young forest stands are displaying as bright-green spots, often making a straight and rectangular boundary with old-growth stands preserved in the national park.

04.10.2014 Manamansalo Island in the Oulujarvi Lake

Manamansalo Island in the Oulujärvi Lake in Kainuu Province, central Finland. The island is formed by glaciofluvial sands. The forests of the island have mainly history of heavy manipulation, and are mostly secondary of their origin. Older age classes of mature pine forests are to found in the esker-landscape of northwestern part of the island. Geometrically straight boundaries of stands, clearly visible in the image, indicate both land-ownership boundaries and former logging history. The biggest white spot on the island, also with rectangular boundaries, is a drained, barren open mire. Although the terrestrial ecosystems of the island have been seriously transformed by human activities on greater part of the island, the open water areas (deep blue) surrounding Manamansalo (Ärjänselkä and Niskanselkä) belong to the widest open freshwater areas in whole of Finland. The bright-blue areas along the island´s shorelines indicate shallow waters along sandy beaches (white and pink).

04.10.2014 Two large relatively intact open aapa-mire systems in Kainuu Province, central Finland

Two large relatively intact open aapa-mire systems north from the Oulujärvi Lake, Vaala, Kainuu, central Finland. They are visible in the image as two largest spots of white, light grey, light blue, pink, magenta and violet structures among green forest tracts. The linear pink, magenta and violet color structures indicate the water flow directions with very wet minerotrophic string-flark structured fens along them. In the mire system in the center of the image it is visible that the water with minerals flows into a central irregularly shaped wetland structure with a number of open water pools that actually is a partly overgrown lake.

The bright crimson-red spot on the eastern edge of the central mire is a drained peat-extraction area over a destroyed part of the mire.

31.08.2014 A view to Hammastunturi Wilderness Area in Lapland, northern Finland

A view to Hammastunturi Wilderness Area in Lapland, northern Finland. The Ivalojoki River canyon with steep, rocky slopes surrounded by coniferous (dark green) and mixed (orange green) old-growth forests is a part of the entire natural ecosystems tract with the alpine (oroarctic) tundras (pink and light magenta) and mountain-birch forests (greenish orange). The Ivalo airfield is visible in the right upper corner of the image and a gold mining area in the right lower corner. Some clear-cuts with rectangular shape are visible close to the airfield (pink and pinkish orange).

31.08.2014 Forest and mire landscape in Lapland, northern Finland

The forest and mire landscape of Pomokaira area, north-west from Petkula, Lapland, Finland. The old-growth forests (dark green) are in many places fragmented by strip clear-cut logging clearly visible in the image.

31.08.2014 Urho Kekkonen Nationalpark (Finland) and Un-Njuvgoiv proposed protected area (Russia), with the northern timberline of spruce

The Urho Kekkonen Nationalpark (Finland) and the Un-Njuvgoiv proposed protected area (Russia) form an entire trans-boundary natural state ecosystem surrounding the Saariselkä-fells on the Finnish-Russian boundary. It includes old-growth pine forests (dark brownish green), alpine (oroarctic) tundras (pink, magenta, and pinkish grey in the eastern part), and old growth spruce forests (dark green and dark grayish green) on the southern side of the fells forming the northern timberline of spruce in this area. Aapa-mires (light green and golden brown) and recovering formerly clear-cut (stripe method) forests are visible in the lower (southern) part of the image.

16.09.2014 A complex aapa-mire system with islands of forests, and oligotrophic bogs close to the Finnish-Swedish national border

A complex aapa-mire system (magenta, purple, and dark violet areas in the north central part of the image) with islands of forests (green), and oligotrophic bogs (grayish green and turquoise) southeast from village of Saaripudas, northern Finland, close to the Finnish-Swedish national border. A big part of the mire system is under protection in the mire-protection area of Teuravuoma. Part of the mire has been destroyed by peat extraction – the rectangular crimson, red, and dark red polygons on the western edge of the system.

16.09.2014 Natural-state aapa-mires in combination with oligotrophic bogs and peat-extraction areas in Northern Ostrobothnia, Finland

Natural-state aapa-mires (magenta, dark magenta, turquoise and violet spots) in combination with oligotrophic bogs (greenish and blueish grey), and peat-extraction areas (pink-magenta-crimson-red polygons, often with straight and rectangular lines) around Oijärvi Lake, Northern Ostrobothnia, Finland. On the eastern part of the image, there is the Litokaira mire-protection area. The surrounding landscape mainly includes manipulated forests, some croplands and populated areas.

16.09.2014 Remnants of old-growth forests on the slopes of fells in Lapland, Finland

Remnants of old-growth forests (mixture of magenta and dark green) on the slopes of fells with alpine (oroarctic) tundra (magenta spots surrounded by old-growth forests) on their tops south-east from Orajärvi Lake, in Lapland, Finland. The clear-cuts (light pink, pink, light magenta, or light grey polygons with straight, often rectangular boundaries) are clipping the remaining tract of natural forests and tundra from all directions – thus, the external boundaries of the old-growth forests are artificial. In the northern part of the tract you could see the stripe-method clear-cuts used for logging on the slopes. The surrounding forests are almost totally secondary of their origin, growing after clear-cutting (bright green). The only other natural ecosystems remaining in the landscape are the natural-state aapa-mires (turquoise, deep magenta, purple, violet and dark-violet spots here and there).

16.09.2014 Large natural-state and near natural mire-systems in Lapland, northern Finland

Large natural-state and near natural mire-systems bordering downtown Kittilä, Lapland, northern Finland. On both sides of Ounasjoki River crossing the image from the north to the south, there are large wetland areas of different types. Deep magenta, dark magenta, purple, black, violet, and dark violet spots are aapa-mires, grayish green and turquoise spots are oligotrophic bogs. The town of Kittilä is visible in the upper (northern) part of the image, westwards from the river.

16.09.2014 The land-rise (post-glacial rebound) coast of the Bothnian Bay northeast from the city of Raahe, Northern Ostrobothnia, Finland

The land-rise (post-glacial rebound) coast of the Bothnian Bay (Perämeri), northeast from the city of Raahe, Northern Ostrobothnia, Finland. The ancient shoreline walls are visible here and there in the image as sets of parallel curves. They are often associated with mires of various types (light grey, grayish green, grayish magenta, and deep magenta spots), formed because the water flow is prevented by the walls. The landscape in general is rather developed: the white, yellowish green, light green, pink, and light magenta polygons with straight boundaries are mainly croplands concentrated along the river and close to the coast. The purple spot in the lower left corner is the downtown of city of Raahe (constructed area). Fairly rare natural coastal landscapes visible in the image, are sandy coastal meadows with dunes (a magenta-crimson-red spot in the northernmost cape of the peninsula in the upper left (northwestern) corner of the image) and marshes with reed (a magenta-purple-violet spot in the upper right (north-eastern) corner of the image). The dark blue buffer around the whole coast indicates shallow waters.

31.05.2013 Vast natural oroarctic tundra landscape and adjacent forest landscape in northern Lapland, Finland and Pasvikdalen, Finnmark, Norway

A vast natural oroarctic tundra landscape and adjacent forest landscape south from it in northern Lapland, Finland and Pasvikdalen, Finnmark, Norway. A big part of the area is protected in Vätsäri Wilderness Area and the protected areas of Pasvikdalen in the south-east, Kevo Strict Nature Reserve in the west, and Kaldoaivi Wilderness Area between them. The pink, light blue and light violet areas (actually the lightest colors in the image) in the northern and partly in the eastern part s of the image are the alpine (oroarctic) tundra, partly with bare rocks (magenta). Sometimes they make a mosaic with the darker violet structures, which are northern type aapa-mires. The darker magenta-violet area in the southeastern (lower-right) side of the image, around the Suolisjärvi Lake, is a sparse old-growth pine forest with huge amount of boulders and vast boulder fields. The bright yellowish green areas along the rivers and lakes, mainly in the northwestern, northeastern, and southeastern corners of the image are mountain-birch forests (more green) and the forest with plenty of birch/aspen (more yellow). The dark green areas in the southern part of the image are old-growth pine forests. In the westernmost part of the image, the Kevo River Canyon – the biggest canyon in Finland – is visible.

04.08.2014 Relatively well preserved forest and mire tract in Norrbotten province, northern Sweden

A relatively well preserved (at least structurally preserved) forest and mire tract south of town of Arvidsjaur, Norrbotten, northern Sweden. It is seen as a dark-green area westwards from the image center with many small lakes (black), aapa-mires (golden brown) and peat bogs (light yellowish green). Some clear-cuts (light green and light brown spots with straight boundaries) could, however, be found inside it. The landscape in the eastern part of the image is more human transformed. There is much more clear-cuts and secondary forests here (various colors from yellowish green to bright green and orange). The red and deep orange polygons in the center of the image are the totally drained wetland tracts converted into peat extraction areas.

10.07.2014 Mountain tundra and rocky landscape in Finnmark province, northern Norway

The mountain tundra and rocky landscape westwards from the town of Lakselv, Finnmark, northern Norway. The area in the eastern half of the image is under protection by the Stabbursdalen National Park. The biggest part of the area is treeless and represents alpine (oroarctic) tundra vegetation (light orange, brownish orange, and orange areas) and bare rocks (pink and crimson areas). The light blue linear structures are snow remaining till July on the mountaintops and on the shadow-side slopes. The yellowish green spots in the river valleys are mountain-birch forests.

26.07.2014 A mire system totally converted by human activities in Vasterbotten, northern Sweden

A mire system totally converted by human activities near the town of Fredrika, northwest of the provincial capital city of Umeå, Västerbotten, northern Sweden. The converted mire is visible in the center of the image. The bright magenta spot with straight artificial boundaries is a part of the mire drained and converted for peat extraction. The southern part of the same mire (white, turquoise, and greyish green area with visible rectangular grid of channels) was drained probably for later use as a peat extraction site or a hay-field. The draining channels are visible probably due to forest starting to grow on the most drained land along the channels while the areas in between still preserve the peat bog vegetation not yet gone. The surrounding landscape mainly consists of secondary young (bright green) and not so young (darker green) exploited forests with many clear-cuts (pink, light magenta, and light green rectangles), probably some croplands and remaining bogs (white, light grey, and turquoise spots).

02.08.2014 Tracts of probable old-growth forests preserved near the Storuman airport in northern Sweden

Tracts of probable old-growth forests preserved near the Storuman airport, Västerbotten, northern Sweden. The dark tracts with sliding dark green – olive green – grayish green – magenta green areas are well visible in the northern and central parts of the image, surrounded with younger forests (bright green) and clear-cuts (pink and magenta).

02.08.2014 Human-transformed mire system in northern Sweden

A human-transformed mire system southwards from the town of Storuman, Västerbotten, northern Sweden. The river running to the north from the central part of the image divides the wetland system to the transformed western part (bright pink-magenta-crimson-red spots indicating the peat-extraction areas) and the relatively intact eastern part – a complex mosaic of aapa-mires(magenta, crimson, and dark violet), oligotrophic bogs (white, light grey, turquoise), and forest islands (dark and olive green). The forests around seem to be mainly manipulated and are seen as a mosaic of various kinds of bright-green polygons with straight boundaries, mixed with clear-cuts (light magenta rectangles). Some dark green forest areas may be closer to the natural state.

01.09.2014 Mountain tundra landscape and glaciers in the Borgefjell/Byrkije National Park

Mountain tundra landscape and glaciers in the Børgefjell/Byrkije National Park, on the southernmost border of Nordland (actually on the both sides of the administrative border between Nordland and Nord-Trøndelag provinces, at the edge of the BEAR), Norway. Blue and light blue spots are snow that survived the summer till September and glaciers. The pink-magenta-crimson-red areas next to them are bare ground (rocks). The dark orange areas are alpine (oroarctic) tundra vegetation. Yellowish green areas are mountain-birch forests and green areas are sparse pine forests on stony and rocky grounds.

29.07.2014 Archipelago of many small islands in the Norwegian Sea

Archipelago of many small islands in the Norwegian Sea south-westwards from the town of Sandnessjøen, Nordland province, Norway. Some islands are under protection by Lånan/Skjærvær Nature Reserve and Hysvær/Søla Landscape Reserve, as well as are a part of the UNESCO World Heritage listed area Vegaøyan – The Vega Archipelago.