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Vuosaarenhuippu – Vuosaari Landfill Hill

Vuosaarenhuippu Vuosaari Hill

English texts of Vuosaari Hill’s signposts

Container 1 Container 2

Jukka’s Trail Pirkko’s Path

Signs of the Container 1:

The story of Vuosaari

The landscape ahead of you has undergone an exciting change over a hundred years. It changed from an agricultural landscape to a landfill and then became a natural paradise.

1937

Steamboat traffic had started in the 1880s and had given rise to villa culture in Vuosaari. The land in Vuosaari was cultivated by, among others, Vuosaari Manor and Tryvik Farm. Industrial activity began when Saseka, a lightweight concrete and brick manufacturer, purchased Vuosaari Manor’s land in 1935.

1960

Vuosaari, which belonged to the Rural Municipality of Helsinki, was annexed to the City of Helsinki in 1966. In the same year, the newly completed Vuosaari Bridge made it easier to travel. In Central Vuosaari, the Asuntosäästäjät Association worked hard to build a model suburb in the 1960s.

The Vuosaari landfill was founded in the 1960s. The City of Helsinki took municipal waste to the Vuosaari landfill in 1966–1988.

1970

The area that now hosts the Vuosaari golf course used to be Porslahti, a sea bay thick with reeds. The leachate from the Vuosaari landfill flowed into it.

1980s

In the 1980s, Porslahti Bay was filled with surplus soil and industrial ash.

1990

In 1974–1987, the Wärtsilä shipyard operated on the north-west shore of Kalkkisaarenselkä. After the closure of the shipyard, the Vuosaari power plant was built in the area (1990). An area next to the power plant was used for collecting industrial ash and polluted land raised in the dredging of Vuosaari Harbour.

Next to the Vuosaari landfill, a soil fill area was created in 1990 and became a high hill in ten years.

There were still old villas on the shore of Aurinkolahti and south of the Paulig factory in the 1990s.

1998

The accessibility of Vuosaari was improved by the completion of the metro line in 1998. Columbus Shopping Centre (1996) was completed on the site of the former Saseka factory.

2000

The urban Aurinkolahti area with blocks of flats has been built since 2000.

2003

Vuosaari Harbour was built in 2003–2008. Topsoil left over from construction was also brought to the soil fill area from Vuosaari Harbour.

 

Formation of the waste mountain

As the city grew and the standard of living of the inhabitants improved, the amount of municipal waste increased. It was necessary to start taking the waste somewhere in a centralised manner. It usually ended up in hard-to-exploit areas, such as marshes or alluvial land. The Vuosaari landfill was founded in a field called Tavastängarna, which was no longer cultivated.

Municipal waste was received at the Vuosaari landfill for 22 years (1966–1988). The landfill contains 3.4 million tonnes of unsorted waste.

The waste decomposes very slowly in oxygen-free conditions and hardly changes its appearance for decades.

Back in the day, the leachate from the waste mountain flowed into nearby ditches, from where it continued to the bays of Porslahti and Porvarinlahti. The ditches of the landfill site were provided with drains in the early 1980s, and leachate has not been a burden on nature since then. The Vuosaari landfill was closed in 1988, after which it was covered with a thin layer of land.

Organic decomposing waste produces climate-heating landfill gases, such as smelly methane. A gas collection system was built in the ground layer of the landfill site. The collection of gas was an important climate action by the City of Helsinki and also reduced the risk to people and the environment. The rehabilitation of the Vuosaari landfill included the construction of a new, more efficient gas collection system. The rehabilitation process to render the landfill harmless to the environment was carried out between 2012 and 2020.

In addition to waste, contaminated soil from construction sites in Helsinki was later stored at Vuosaarenhuippu. The soil fill site next to Satamakaari has been made environmentally safe.

The Vuosaarenhuippu depot area is used for intermediate storage of soil and rocks suitable for recycling. The former landfill site has heavy traffic bringing and retrieving soil and rocks for utilisation.

 

Rising of the peak

A soil fill area was established on the east side of the Vuosaari landfill. Before the filling, there was a forest on the site, but now the peak rises to over 60 metres above sea level! During the construction process, surplus soil, non-decaying construction waste and industrial ash were taken to the site from various parts of Helsinki. Approximately 5 million cubic metres of these materials were taken to the site between 1990 and 2005. Since then, smaller quantities of selected topsoil and the seed bank it contains have been used to create specific habitats.

Currently, the soil fill area is 29 hectares in size, corresponding to 39 football pitches.

The construction of Vuosaari Harbour was decided by the City Council of Helsinki in 2002. Due to the construction of the harbour, it was decided to increase the height of the soil fill area. The harbour was under construction for almost six years and started operations in late 2008. The construction process produced a huge amount of surplus soil, which was piled up at the nearby Vuosaarenhuippu with the help of giant earth movers. The short transport distance of the enormous amount of soil generated considerable societal benefits as the carbon footprint decreased and millions of euros were saved. In addition to the harbour, soil was brought in at a later stage from under the Hartwall Arena built in Pasila, Helsinki, for instance. The soil fill area rose to its current height between 2003 and 2012.

Since the 2010s, the goal has been to recycle clean soil, and it is not perceived as waste in the same way as before. In Helsinki, soil has been used in, for example, the rehabilitation of the Vuosaari landfill, where clean soil has been placed in the surface layer. It can be used for green construction, as has been done, for example, in the Vuosaari sports park and Alakivenpuisto in Myllypuro. Efforts are currently being made to exploit the soil as close as possible to the construction site, avoiding long transport distances to soil fill areas. In Helsinki, no place has been allocated for a new soil fill area, because the space required for it is intended to be used for the expansion of the city.

 

Man-made urban nature

Soil has not been assembled at Vuosaarenhuippu without plans; instead, the work has been guided by a strong image of a unique green area. The aim has been to create a diverse natural habitat enjoyed by both humans and animals. It was intended to replace, for example, some of the natural areas left under Vuosaari Harbour. This brilliant idea occurred to the City of Helsinki’s natural gardener Jukka Toivonen in the 1990s, when the landscaping of Vuosaarenhuippu began. This vision of an open area was inspired by the vast juniper heaths of the Jurmo ridge island in the Archipelago Sea as well as the wide fell landscapes of Lapland.

The nature of the place was modified by selecting precisely which soil was used. Jukka Toivonen was assisted by soil expert Pirjo Laulumaa, who named the soil types transported to the site and directed them to suitable places. Different types of soil were used to create the conditions for diverse habitats. Coarse and sandy soil was particularly desirable because such water-penetrable soil creates low-growth meadows rich in species. However, the majority of the soil brought in was water-retaining clay and silt, which formed a lush vegetation.

The builders and carers of the area have shaped the landscape in the desired direction. As many different types of rock as possible have been brought in, all to be admired! Various biodiversity-enhancing elements have also been introduced, such as dead pines for birds of prey, heaps of rocks for nesting and hiding places, as well as tree stumps for insect hotels and wood-rotting organisms. The artificial pass and the pit that has developed into a grove are small, experiential destinations.

Soil brought to Vuosaarenhuippu has contained soil organisms, plant seeds and pieces of roots. This is why growth has begun soon after the spreading of topsoil. Many invasive alien species, including large-leaved lupine and Canada goldenrod, have also come to Vuosaarenhuippu as stowaways with the soil. These species have been tirelessly fought against by the greenery workers at Vuosaarenhuippu for years.

In the words of a visitor: This place is one big scam!

 

Sings of the Container 2

Welcome to Vuosaari hill!

The extensive recreational area of Vuosaari hill includes a meadow area of 53 hectares and the surrounding forest. It is part of a green area important to East Helsinki, which also includes the Uutela forest area, Vuosaari Golf as well as the nature conservation areas of Mustavuori and Porvarinlahti.

The western part of Vuosaari hill consists of a rehabilitated landfill site, and the eastern part is a soil fill area. The entire meadow area has been built as a comfortable and diverse natural oasis that attracts people and animals. The high summit of Vuosaari hill provides tremendous views of the sea, forest and city.

Vuosaari hill has various meadows, some of which are gravel-surfaced, sunny and dry, whereas others have plenty of flowers, and most of them grow tall. Beautiful stones diversify the landscape, and piles of rock and stone walls have been built along some roads. On the ridge, you can admire the spectacular juniper heaths with various types of junipers. Raspberry bushes grow on many slopes. The groves are lush, wooded oases offering some protection from the wind.

A wide range of routes leads to impressive landscapes and diverse nature. The routes consist of service roads and smaller paths with parts that are difficult to walk in places. These are not suitable for pushchairs, for instance.

In addition to plants, there are many other organisms in the area, such as buzzing insects, chirping birds and shy reptiles. Disturbance to vegetation and animals as well as erosion can be reduced by staying on the paths.

The nature of Vuosaari hill is presented on two nature trails with signs.

Vuosaari hill vision objectives: landscape, diversity and recreational use.

 

Nature is changing

Vuosaari hill is a special, man-made environment that imitates the natural environment. When the construction work was completed, the land was bare, and that is why vegetation is at an early stage of development here.

The nature of Vuosaari hill evolves over time and it is interesting to watch it change!

Saving meadow species

There are few meadows and pastures in Helsinki, like elsewhere in Finland. Even the last of them are disappearing after the end of traditional agriculture. Nowadays, machines do the mowing and pastures have turned into forests since the cows disappeared.

At Vuosaari hill, the meadow landscape has been created to replace habitats destroyed elsewhere. Vuosaari hill is Helsinki’s largest and most significant meadow area. Meadow plants and insects have been given a new home here.

From bare land to a rich oasis

At first, wasteland plants grew on the bare land of Vuosaari hill. In a few years, a flourishing meadow developed. Later, most of the meadows became less diverse.

Not all areas can be mown because of their steepness. Among the untended tall hay, only competitive flowers can survive. The splendour of flowers is best preserved in regularly managed meadows, which are enjoyed by many insects.

Vuosaari hill has provided birds with fine nesting places or a stopover during their migration. Snakes have slithered to Vuosaari hill from the vicinity, attracted by good predation opportunities.

A meadow does not stay open by itself

In the Finnish climate, a meadow will turn into a closed, young broadleaf forest in a few decades. Maintaining an open landscape and meadow always requires care.

Parts of Vuosaari hill have been mown annually and trees have been cleared regularly. Natural plants and junipers have been extensively planted for several decades. Indeed, the nature of Vuosaari hill is a peculiar blend of man-made and nature-created.

Maintaining the landscape of Vuosaari hill will require long-term care in the future as well.

 

Diversity and migration

The vision for Vuosaari hilli hill focuses on preserving biodiversity.

Diversity has been created by building diverse habitats, creating shelters and managing meadows. The area has managed to attract a large number of birds, moles and brown hares and, on the Helsinki scale, a large variety of insects.

Frogs, viviparous lizards, adders and roe deer also like it here. Animals enter the area when they are provided with a suitable habitat where they can eat and rest in peace.

Vuosaari hill’s symbol is the jovial red-backed shrike. This little bird of prey can be spotted lurking on the top of a living or dead tree. A typical habit of the red-backed shrike is to store food for a rainy day in a rose bush, for example. The shrubby meadow area of Vuosaari hill perfectly meets the bird’s living standards, and therefore red-backed shrikes have been spotted here annually. At most, 11 pairs have nested in the area before 2020.

The number of bird pairs is better known here than in other green areas in Helsinki, as nesting birds have been regularly monitored in Vuosaari hill. The total number of nesting bird species in the 2010s was 52, which is a large number. Fifteen of these species have been classified as endangered.

Typical species in hay meadows are the corn crake, meadow pipit and common whitethroat, which is abundant in the area. The lark and northern wheatear favour bare ground and rocks. You can find the common rosefinch or common linnet in the shrubbery. The wooded habitat attracts the common blackbird and garden warbler.

Other species in Vuosaari hill have been surveyed over the years, including the natural development of vegetation and butterflies. In addition to this, nature enthusiasts have long been following the butterflies and migratory birds.

 

How to behave at Vuosaari hill

The number of visitors to Vuosaari hill will increase in the future. It is therefore important for every visitor to take into account the values of this unique nature area. Well-behaved outdoor enthusiasts understand that they cannot trample on plants off the paths or take plants home with them.

Nature can be observed from the paths with binoculars to leave the animals in peace. Nature will thank you for using the dry toilet by the main entrance.

Cycling is forbidden on the nature trails.

Cycling is not suitable for Vuosaari hill for a number of reasons. Many of the routes are narrow and rocky. Due to erosion, the ground slips easily, especially at steep points, and the paths are difficult to repair.

Snakes and lizards warm up on the roads and paths and could easily be run over by fast cyclists. There are few reptiles, too few to sacrifice for traffic.

Please enjoy the view and the peace of nature quietly.

Golden rules for a responsible hiker

You can walk and run on marked paths, but cycling is not suitable for the area. You can lock up your bike in the bicycle rack by the main entrance.

Please stay on the paths for your own safety. The terrain includes many rocks, rotten stumps and thorny roses.

Walk carefully, since there are rocks and loose sand on the paths, and rain may make the ground slippery. There is no winter maintenance. The paths are not suitable for pushchairs.

Please let plants and bushes grow wild and free for everyone’s pleasure!

Leave the berries and fruit primarily to the birds and insects – children can sometimes have a taste. In several years, there have been enough raspberries to pick!

Take your litter to the waste bins by the main entrance or take it home with you.

Beware of steep slopes – the rocks and edges may collapse.

The area is inhabited by adders and ground wasps. Watch your surroundings and be careful.

Do a tick check at home at the latest!

 

Time to go outdoors!

Vuosaari hill has been built as a comfortable outdoor area and natural oasis.

The recreational area is 95 hectares in size. There are plenty of routes for hikers of all levels, from easy-to-walk service roads to rocky little paths. Some of the routes provided with signs are difficult to walk in places.

Using pushchairs on the paths is not recommended. There is no winter maintenance in the area.

BOX:

Nature trail calling

Explore the special nature of Vuosaari hill on two nature trails with a total of 13 nature information boards.

A large number of city employees have been involved in building Vuosaari hill. The development of the landscape and nature has been particularly influenced by nature gardener Jukka Toivonen and soil expert Pirjo Laulumaa.

On Jukka’s Trail, nature signs 1–8 (1.3 km), you can admire the expansive view from the highest point of Vuosaari hill, but also dive into the shadow of the groves. The route has significant differences in altitude, and the paths are steep and rocky in places.

On Pirjo’s Path, nature signs 9–13 (1.1 km), you can enjoy the impressive pass and flowering meadows. The route is fairly even and easy to walk.

The nature trails are located in the eastern part of Vuosaari hill, in the soil fill area. The nature trails begin and end at the same point below the pass. There are signs from the main entrance to sign 1 of the nature trails, which is 800 metres away.

Cycling is forbidden on the nature trails.

 

Signposts of Jukka’s Trail

1 Kingdom of stones

The rehabilitation of the landfill site and the landscaping of the soil fill area have resulted in a new recreational area for everyone to enjoy. A special feature of the area is the naturally evolving nature, the framework for which has been created by humans through structures and plantations.

You can admire the diversity of natural stones in various parts of Vuosaari hill. The colour and structure of stones have been modified by their formation process. Stones rescued during earth construction at Vuosaari hill have been reused. Large loose rocks have been placed naturally in the environment. Over time, the rocks will be covered in lichen and moss if they are not trampled on. The lichen species are different on acidic and alkaline rocks.

In front of you is an artificial pass made of natural stones with a wall height of more than three metres. (Note: For admiration only – the wall cannot withstand climbing.) The southern, shadowy wall is cool, while the sunny side warms up very much. In the summer months, the temperature difference can be as high as 30°C. On hot days, you can notice the cooling shadow on your skin. The vegetation differs greatly: ferns and tall plants live in the shade, whereas vegetation on the sunny side is sparser and lower.

 

2 Human creation

In front of you lies more than three million tonnes of mixed waste from 1966 to 1988. At that time, waste was mainly sorted to separate out paper and later also glass. This is why most of the waste ended up in a landfill. The waste mountain is covered with tight structural layers and is no longer harmful to the environment. After the rehabilitation of the landfill site (2012–2020), the current topsoil has become a green meadow in a couple of years.

Underneath your feet is a soil fill area where clean surplus soil has been brought in. This is the result of earth construction, where the foundations for buildings have been excavated. Fine-textured soil cannot be exploited in the construction of roads, for example, because it is affected by frost heave. This is why it had to be transported to the soil fill area. Around 5 million cubic metres of soil were brought here by earth movers and lorries. This amount corresponds to more than 300,000 earth mover loads.

Amount of soil:
more than 300,000 loads.
The amount of soil in the soil fill area corresponds to the volume of 108 ships.
Around 300,000 loads were driven to the waste mountain by waste collection vehicles.

 

3 Lovely heat!

Since the end of pasturing and the effective extinguishment of forest fires, xerothermic (hot and dry) grasslands have become endangered. This xerothermic habitat has been built imitating a ridge.

The imitated ridge has three different structural layers made on top of the soil fill hill. There are large rocks at the bottom, then coarse gravel, and stones and sand at the top. Water quickly penetrates into coarse ground, and therefore xerothermic habitats are dry. They are even drier when located on a southern hill in a windy and sunny place. The species of xerothermic habitats are specialised in extreme conditions in which conventional species cannot survive.

Wild thyme has been planted in the xerothermic habitat, an important plant for many endangered insects. Wild thyme blooms in the middle of summer. With luck, you may notice a buzzing bumblebee or a slender blue butterfly looking for nectar.

 

4 Rescue operation

At the end of Niinilahti Bay, south-east of Vuosaari hill, there was still a rare waterfront grove with alder and ash in 2002. The existence of the grove was threatened by the construction of Vuosaari Harbour, until Jukka Toivonen and Pirjo Laulumaa, who were responsible for landscaping the soil fill area, came up with a rescue operation for it.

The slopes around this sign guide the rainwater into the valley. The place was perfect for the waterfront grove, which needed a new home. First, the ground was lined with a one-metre layer of clay soil, which holds water. After that, soil from the Niinilahti grove was carefully moved here to make way for the construction of Vuosaari Harbour. The soil was cut into slabs in winter 2003 and lifted into earth movers. After transportation, the slabs were positioned here with the root side down. They included stumps and roots of small broadleaf trees.

A new grove has gradually emerged from the transferred soil, stumps and pieces of roots. The grove has been allowed to develop in peace without any forestry measures. There now grows ash and alder, bird cherry with white flowers, and the undergrowth includes nettle, common reed and yellow meadow-rue.

 

5 Hazel path

A vault made up of common hazel plants creates a fabulous atmosphere for an unhurried hiker. The narrow hazel grove was planted in mineral soil transported from Käärmeniemi and Lehdessaari island. In the spring, the wood anemones that were moved there bloom on the slope. Early in the summer, you can enjoy the white flowers of wild roses and guelder roses. The red berries of buckthorn and guelder rose glow in the autumn. All the shrubs in the area have been obtained from nurseries, but they have since been allowed to reproduce naturally.

In the autumn, wandering spotted nutcrackers will surely find delicious nuts from the hazel grove. They scour all the bushes before they move to the next rest stop. The spotted nutcracker stores nuts in many places and will find them later thanks to its good memory. With the help of the nutcracker, common hazel gets a free ride to new places of growth. Nuts sprout into new plants if they do not get eaten.

 

6 Hiding place

The brilliant fern grove is surrounded by steep edges built from a rocky shoulder. The whole soil fill area has been made according to the same principle in order to keep the fine soil in place. This pit was originally intended to be filled with soil excavated to make way for the harbour. Instead of filling the pit entirely with soil, a suitable amount of soil was brought into the pit for a sheltered grove. The base was filled with fine-grained mineral soil and the topsoil was made of leaf compost. A curious fox participated in the construction work, supervising the work and checking the outcome by sleeping on the dark soil.

The trees have grown in the grove since 2009, when construction was completed. The fertile soil has been planted with alder, bird cherry and some common hazel plants. The goat willow trees have arrived by themselves. In the shadow of the trees grow the handsome ferns, which survived the early years without shelter from the sun.

The grove is home to birds that nest in broadleaf forests, such as the common blackbird, Eurasian blackcap, great tit and common chaffinch. Brown hares and roe deer seek food and shelter in the grove. It is often windless at the bottom of the fern grove, even if the meadows are buffeted by sea wind.

 

7 Do you recognise the landmarks?

The highest point of Vuosaari rises to 60 metres above sea level. This height was reached with the landscaping work in 2010–2012. The wind and sun dry the soil and vegetation at the top, which is why only resistant species like it here. The groves below are lush oases compared to the treeless top.

Can you establish the compass points from the top in sunny weather? To help you, you can look at the landmarks in the horizon and the accompanying compass. Approximately in the north, you can see the chimney of the Vantaa waste-to-energy plant, and in the south, the Vuosaari Cirrus tower block, which reaches the height of 87.5 metres. If you look over the harbour into the archipelago, you can see many islands, the closest of which are Mölandet and, in front of the harbour, further away, Musta Hevonen. In clear weather, you can see as far as the church towers in the centre of Helsinki (14 km) in the west. In the east, you can see the chimneys of the Kilpilahti oil refinery in Porvoo (22 km).

 

8 Spiky little tree

The official plant of Vuosaari hill could very well be the diverse juniper. Over the years, thousands of junipers have been planted in the area. The juniper heaths were inspired by the Jurmo ridge island in the Archipelago Sea. The vast island is full of low junipers and heather as far as the eye can see.

Juniper is a bush or a small tree that likes the sun. Juniper is dioecious, which means that each plant is either female or male. Only female plants have seed cones, which look like berries. The berries can be used to flavour game dishes.

The mother plants of Vuosaari hill’s junipers were harvested in nature in various parts of Finland for cultivation in the Hongisto nursery. The varieties represent the natural types of juniper. A low-to-the-ground juniper was named the Vuosaari hill variety. Fan-shaped junipers were named after national heroes Lotta Svärd and Sven Dufva. Varieties of juniper that grow straight up are Jaakko Ilkka, Sisu and Urho, also names from Finland’s history.

 

Signposts of Pirkko’s Path

9 Skilful flyers

Bird watching is interesting at all times of the year, as many activities of birds can be seen or heard. Are there males singing love songs for females, mothers feeding their nestlings or large flocks taking a break from migrating?

The range of Vuosaari hill’s habitats maintains diverse birdlife. The number of nesting species varied between 27 and 35 in 2012–2019. The area is particularly attractive to open-land birds that enjoy meadows, rocks or semi-open shrubs. Easily recognisable in appearance, the northern wheatear wags its tail and makes sharp warning sounds. A keen eye can spot the official bird of Vuosaari hill, the red-backed shrike, in a rose bush or dead pine looking for prey.

Humans are visitors to the area, but for birds and many animals, Vuosaari hill is home. People are therefore advised to follow only marked paths, especially in spring and early summer, the most sensitive period for nesting birds.

 

10 Intoxicating scents

In the scented meadow, you can retreat into a miniature world of your own, somewhat protected from the wind. The small banks and the shrubs growing on them create a finite habitat in the otherwise open landscape.

Throughout the summer, you can smell the spicy scent of wild thyme and heather. Delicate pink heather flowers can be admired in the middle or late summer. Both plants are very good nectar producers and are therefore important for pollinators. You may see or hear these pollinating insects, such as bumblebees and butterflies, if you remain stationary for a while.

The “father” of the place, nature gardener Jukka Toivonen, had the key idea to choose structures and plants that increase biodiversity, such as domestic nectar plants. Therefore, Vuosaari hill has heaps of rocks for northern wheatears and snakes, as well as hot and sunny environments for insects. Bare areas have been made for larks, and roses have been planted to produce hips for small birds.

 

11 Life in a pile of rocks

The small rocky knoll is Vuosaari hill’s first slate area, which was built in 2003. The purpose was to imitate the conditions of natural bare rock. There are large pieces of rock beneath the flat field stones.

It was later discovered that the deep rock cavities may provide wintering places suitable for snakes. Snakes need new hiding places as the city expands. Versatile landscaping can help these troubled reptiles. Snakes eat small rodents – moles and mice, which serve as intermediate hosts for ticks. Snakes indirectly reduce the incidence of tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis.

Over the years, birdwatchers on the ridge have seen many rare birds glide by, either close by or high in the air. Visibility from the high ridge is good in all directions. The best time to see migrating birds is in April and May and from August to December.

 

12 Memories of the past, reproduced…

Behind the handsome stone wall is a garden with the built-up ruins of a house, reminiscent of Vuosaari’s former country landscape. Traditional horticultural plants grow inside the “foundations”, as if to commemorate the past. Can you find a big-leaved musk strawberry or a yellow-flowered spurge? The garden and the stone wall flourish throughout the summer because many species of traditional perennial plants have been planted. All the grassy plants in the garden were purchased at the Annala garden in Vanhakaupunki, Helsinki.

Jukka Toivonen, who created the vision for Vuosaari hill, saved two apple trees and a blackcurrant bush when they were almost devoured by an earth mover during the early stages of the landfill rehabilitation. He moved them and planted them in the courtyard, after which they have started to grow again. However, brown hares like to graze the bark of the apple trees, giving them a peculiar shape. The trees may sometimes be in rather poor condition after being gnawed at in the winter. The number of brown hares in Vuosaarenhuippu has increased with the growth of shrubbery.

 

13 Disappearing diversity

Vuosaari hill’s open meadow landscape is the result of long-term and continuous care. For the first time, a meadow was created using the green construction method of layered excavation, which, after this experiment, was also used elsewhere at Vuosaari hill. The topsoil was peeled off at the construction site one ground layer at a time, moved to Vuosaarenhuippu and distributed in the same order to this site. The finished soil has been sown with plants such as yellow bedstraw, field scabious and Nottingham catchfly. Common kidneyvetch has spread from the topsoil’s seed bank.

The great structural change of Finnish agriculture has brought an end to traditional pasturing, mowing and slash-and-burning. Animals now graze on grassland, not on natural pastures. For this reason, all our traditional landscapes are under threat and their species are in danger of extinction.

Anything may emerge from the slowly settling soil – invasive alien species and tall, fast-growing plants. These quickly take up living space from blooming grasses, which are less tolerant of competition. The Vuosaari hill management team mows the plants of this meadow every year and removes the mowing waste. The management of Vuosaari hill’s meadows reduces the plight of meadow species, at least locally.

Vuosaarenhuippu Vuosaari Hill

Area >60 hectares

Design Jukka Toivonen, 1980s–1990s, FCG Finnish Consulting Group Oy 2020

Services Nature trails: Pirjo’s path and Jukka’s trail. Containers: 1 The story of Vuosaari Hill and 2 Vuosaari Hill today.

Vuosaarenhuippu Vuosaari Hill

Area >60 hectares

Design Jukka Toivonen, 1980s–1990s, FCG Finnish Consulting Group Oy 2020

Services Nature trails: Pirjo’s path and Jukka’s trail. Containers: 1 The story of Vuosaari Hill and 2 Vuosaari Hill today.