“Kone Foundation is an independent and unaffiliated grant foundation whose values, alongside education and the freedom of research and the arts, include taking responsibility for the environment. One way to realise this particular value is to protect Finnish nature voluntarily without compensation. In 2017, the 130-hectare Kulla Nature Reserve was established in Kemiönsaari with our support, and now Finland is going to be gifted 1,440 hectares of conservation area in Sanginjoki, Oulu, with our support. We hope that our example will encourage other organisations to consider the environmental impacts of their activities and to find ways to compensate for the ecological harm they have caused,” says Janne Kotiaho, Professor of Ecology at the University of Jyväskylä and a member of Kone Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
The Sanginjoki outer forest consists of a total of some 2,500 hectares of forest to the east of the city of Oulu, 16 kilometres from the city centre. The area is made up of pine forest and heath and has a particularly large number of spruce trees. The City of Oulu received the outer forest as a gift from the King of Sweden when it was founded in 1605.
The transaction concerns the Sanginjoki multipurpose forest, the as yet unprotected part of the outer forest totalling approximately 1,440 hectares. The Finnish state has announced that it will be made a protected area after the transaction is complete. The use of this outer forest has been the single biggest nature conservation issue in the Oulu region in recent years. The area already houses the Isokangas and Asmonkorpi nature reserves.
“With the whole area under protection, the Sanginjoki outer forest will form a large and significant natural zone. Through this forest transaction, we want to secure its restoration to a natural state and ensure it remains healthy and is preserved for future generations. We have expressed our special wish that the Finnish state would establish a national park in the area. Making Sanginjoki a national park would make the network of national parks accessible to more people, consequently increasing regional equality,” says Janne Kotiaho.
“The unique Sanginjoki area is finally being recognised for its natural value. This is a significant and wonderful thing for Oulu, as well as for Northern Finland as a whole,” says Päivi Laajala, Mayor of Oulu. “The transaction is in line with the City’s objectives in terms of the area’s use, the development of tourism, environmental protection and the City’s overall economy,” the City of Oulu’s Financial Director Jukka Weisell continues.
Furthermore, Kone Foundation is also committed to supporting the Loppulan Ystävät Association that wants to renovate the forest ranger’s cottage located in the area and turn it into a nature centre. Kone Foundation will provide the association with a grant of EUR 345,000 for the acquisition and renovation of the forest ranger’s cottage if the City of Oulu decides to sell it to the Loppulan Ystävät Association and rent them plot it stands on.