In the Kuopio area, the rugged eastern Finland nature meets the diversity of the southern woodlands.
The Northern Savonia or Kuopio woodland centre, which is mostly located in the Kuopio area, is the most important woodland growing area of the Finnish Lakeland area. The luxuriance of Kuopio’s woodlands can be compared to Southern Häme. The central areas of the woodlands are the Kuopionniemi and Kinahmi area with several national and internationally valuable woodlands. Unlike Southern Finland, Kuopio’s woodlands consist of mostly spruce.
Many plants which demand rich soil prosper in Kuopio’s woodlands. Examples include the European fly honeysuckle, guelder rose, mezereon, baneberry and grove pansy. The Kuopio area is the northernmost region for the growth of many of the southern plant species. Southern species include the wall lettuce, Kashubian buttercup, European orchid and dead nettle. Glade fern, drooping woodreed and sweetgrass are examples of eastern species.
More rugged pine forests can be found mainly on the slopes and tops of hills and ridges as well as moraine land. Traces of a long-term slash and burn practices can be seen in the lush green birch trees and grey alders. Small areas of tili cordata, which is the remnant of the warmer period following the last ice age, can also be found in the woodlands.
The southern raised bogs and northern string bogs meet in the Kuopio region. The most common types of bog in the area are those in various types of valley and raised bogs. Spruce-dominated valley bogs have emerged as those producing more nutrient-rich soils with the lushest vegetation produced in rich fen areas with limestone deposits. The most fertile bogs have generally been used for cultivation.
Mushrooms are an integral part of our forest biotic communities. Many fungi break down the leaves of trees, stumps and other biotic material at the same time returning the nutrients back into the natural cycle. Tree and plant-well-being in many forests depends on the addition of fungal mycelia formed at the root, through which they receive water and nutrients.
The most interesting to humans are edible mushrooms. Many species of mushroom have their own partners with whom they form mushroom roots. It is therefore advisable to look for woolly milkcap and the delicious chanterelle mushrooms by birch trees, whereas penny buns, sticky buns and red hot milkcaps can be found pine forests. Lactarius trivialis and funnel chanterelles are found in spruce forests.
Many rare and demanding fungus species also grow in the Kuopio area, which require special growth areas such as limestone quarries and surrounding areas and other limestone rich woodlands. Among the mushroom rarities we can find witches cauldron, white stalk puffball, geastrum triplex, piikiukonsieni, ochre brittlegill and scurfy fibrecap.