Nature in Central Karelia is characterised by the grove zone of Lake Ladoga and the way this zone meets the Salpausselkä ecotone. This intersection is visible in the landscape as a rich and unique range of vegetation and animal species. Indeed, groves are nature’s very own treasure chests. Below, you can find an introduction to some of the most valuable grove areas in Kitee.
Aconitum grove in Papinniemi
Located in the eastern part of Papinniemi, there is a grove area of five hectares on the cliffs and hillsides on both sides of Saarekkeentie road. In the area, you will find northern wolfsbane (aconitum septentrionale) which only grows in the Central Karelia grove centre. The bird fauna of the area includes, among others, blackcaps, wrens and woodcocks. The area is included in the national grove conservation programme, and it is also part of the Natura 2000 network in Finland.
Greater meadow-rue grove in Otravaara
There is a one-hectare hillside grove on the roadside in Otravaara. The area is home to the vulnerable greater meadowrue (thalictrum aquilegiifolium), which is only found in Kitee. The majority of the area belongs to the national grove conservation programme, while some parts are protected under the Nature Conservation Act. Moreover, the area is part of the Natura 2000 network in Finland.
Located on the eastern side of Lake Kiteenjärvi, on the southern esker ridge of Hiidensaari Island, there is a grove covering 11 hectares of land. The tree stock consists mainly of sturdy birch stands in slash-and-burn areas, intertwined by other old deciduous trees and small-leaved limes. The local bird fauna includes, among others, black woodpeckers, golden orioles and blackcaps. Most of the area is included in the national grove conservation programme and in the Natura 2000 network of Finland.
Kotasaari lakeside grove
Located in the southern part of Lake Pyhäjärvi, the grove is on a northern hillside, covering an area of one and a half hectares. In the lower section of the grove there are several springs with wobbly wetland areas around them. The vegetation consists of mosaic-like moist, fern-covered grove areas and grove-like spruce mires dotted with springs. The area is included in the national grove conservation programme and in the Natura 2000 network of Finland.
Näsönsalmi esker grove
Located in the north-eastern part of Lake Pyhäjärvi, the grove is on an eastern hillside, covering an area of three hectares. The vegetation consists of dry esker groves formed by the slash-and-burn industry, with an abundance of hepatica and spring vetch. The grove represents the local landscapes beautifully. The area is included in the national grove and shore conservation programme and the Natura 2000 network of Finland.
Syrjäsalmi kettle hole grove
Located on the northern side of the Syrjäsalmi sound in Lake Pyhäjärvi, there is a kettle hole grove covering an area of 0.7 hectares. The tree species in the grove include birch, grey alder, rowan and bird cherry. The area is part of the national grove conservation programme, and it is protected under the Nature Conservation Act.
Ostrich fern grove
On the southern shore of Lake Kiteenjärvi, there is a grove filled with ostrich fern on an area of 0.24 hectares. The area is protected under the Nature Conservation Act.