Diversity in nature

The island of Örö is known for the its species diversity. Many plant and animal species prosper here. Some of them are very rare elsewhere in Finland. The majority of the endangered species here are butterflies. Over 60 % of Finland’s butterfly species have been sighted in Örö. It’s a lot for one island! What makes Örö such an attractive habitat for so many different species?

Although Örö is small in size, there is a wide range of different habitats here. Of particular importance are the long, sandy beach on the west side of the island and the open areas. Here the landscape has been kept open first by the grazing animals and later by the activities of the armed forces. After the army left the island, the grazing animals were brought back to keep the landscape open.

The flowering plants that grow on pastures attract butterflies. Here live such species that don’t occur elsewhere in Finland. They appreciate not only the open landscape of the island, but also its southern location and sunny weather.

But why is diversity important? Not only is a wide variety of species exciting and all species have value of their own, but they all have their role in nature. When a species disappears, it affects the environment in a way we can not foresee. Even butterflies have important tasks, like pollinating plants. Without pollinators we wouldn’t have for example blueberries or lingonberries. Strawberries and apples would be smaller and more wrinkled. It is therefore important to maintain diversity in nature. The best way to do this is by ensuring that habitats are diverse and that the habitats of particular importance are preserved.

Build an insect hotel!

You can help maintain diversity in nature by building insect hotels which at their simplest form can consist of a bundle of plant stalks. Many insects find withered reed stalks cosy places for wintering. On national park area it is forbidden to collect or harm trees, bushes and other plants. However, you can collect dead stalks of reed for your insect hotel. Outside the national park you could use a hay straw to tie the reeds into a bundle, but here you must be clever and place the reed stalks so that they stay together. Can you find a place where the stalks would stay put over the winter? Place the hotel in a warm, windless place, about half a meter above the ground so that it stays dry. Come again next year to see if the rooms of your hotel are occupied!

Can you find Breckland thyme?