A huge wilderness of fjelds, boreal forests and peatlands in north- east Lapland. Saariselkä, in the north of the area, is a barren fjeld wilderness with treeless mountain heath. Koilliskaira, to the south, is dominated by coniferous forests and aapa mires. Ponds, rivers and streams bordered by Piceaabies swamps and herb-rich mires abound. In summer, hundreds or thousands of visitors trek within the area daily.
An exceptionally important area for Arctic and boreal avifauna. Breeding birds include seven out of the 32 species in Europe that are restricted to the Arctic/tundra biome (when breeding) and 14 out of the 15 species in Europe that are restricted to the boreal biome (when breeding).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Reindeer husbandry (`Other' land-use and threat) has caused some erosion of vegetation. The area is a candidate SAC.
National High International High30,029 ha of IBA covered by Wilderness Area (Kemihaara, 30,029 ha). 17,912 ha of IBA covered by Strict Nature Reserve (Sompio, 17,912 ha). 255,000 ha of IBA covered by National Park (Urho Kekkonen, 255,000 ha). 2,208 ha of IBA covered by Peatland Reserve (Uura-aapa, 2,208 ha). 3,296 ha of IBA covered by Peatland Reserve (Vaaranaapa, 3,296 ha). 901 ha of IBA covered by Peatland Reserve (Nalka-aapa, 901 ha). 309,553 ha of IBA covered by Special Protection Area (Urho Kekkosen kansallispuisto-Sompio-Kemihara).
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Saariselkä and Koilliskaira. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 30/03/2020.