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The biosphere reserve: an alliance between nature and humans

The sun is warming the archipelago and ice can still be found in smaller bays and straits, making it seem calm on the surface for visitors. However, for locals, spring is usually a busy time.

The biosphere reserve: an alliance between nature and humans

The aim of the UNESCO Archipelago Sea Area Biosphere Reserve is to preserve natural and cultural values while simultaneously helping the archipelago to thrive. Many companies and organisations in the Archipelago Sea region are dedicated to working towards sustainable development of the archipelago and have become Biosphere Partners.

UNESCO biosphere reserves are pilot areas for learning about solutions to promote a sustainable future. There are 748 such reserves worldwide, including two in Finland.

Established in 1994, the mission of the Archipelago Sea Area Biosphere Reserve is to promote biodiversity and sustainable socio-economical development in the archipelago. It also supports research and education on sustainable development.

The biosphere reserve complements the Archipelago National Park and works in partnership with local residents, businesses, organisations and visitors to the area.

Below, we find out a bit more about two of these partners: Gabriel Sydänvirta from Moving Heart, an activity services company, and Charlotta Björklöf from Västeräng Farm.

Gabriel Sydänvirta, Moving Heart

“Entrepreneurship is about sharing your lifestyle” Sydänvirta’s life has always included dance, activities on and in water, yoga and meditation. He now guides visitors to the archipelago in these activities through his company, Moving Heart. For me, entrepreneurship is about sharing my way of life. Someone else might also want to do what I love, Gabriel says. You can provide an opportunity to experience nature, but ultimately, it is up to each individual whether they take that opportunity. Gabriel wants to make sure the archipelago is inhabitable a hundred years from now by making sustainable choices and inspiring other to do the same.

Charlotta Björklöf; Västeräng Farm

I think it’s good for people to know how we produce food in the archipelago, says Björklöf, a biosphere reserve partner. In the winter, Västeräng is home to around fifty sheep. In spring, this number doubles when the new lambs are born. Last summer, for the first time, guests were able to stay overnight at Västeräng, in a glamping tent with the sheep as neighbours. Campers can experience normal daily life on an archipelago farm, including activities such as farming, looking after sheep and chickens, or fishingor join a boat trip that take sheep out to some of the outlying islets, where the sheep play an important role in maintaining the species-rich traditional landscape.

Routes in the biosphere reserve area:

Activities in the area

Interesting places to visit in the area

There are two underwater trails in the area – a nature trail near Stora Hästö and a sculpture trail at Dalskär.

Photo: Kevin O’Brien