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The Ålandic landscape was forged many millennia ago by powerful natural forces, which are still at work today, into a distinctive archipelagic landscape consisting of thousands of islands, holmes and skerries. The rapid changes in the landscape – from land to water, and from fields and meadows to dense, dark woods – as well as the large number of different habitats and the striking wealth of species give Åland its special character. The mosaic-like skärgård, or archipelago, and its inspiring waterways, unusual land formations and rich bird life is perhaps the natural experience that most visitors associate with Åland, as well as the red rock, rapakivi granite, which gives the Ålandic landscape its distinctive hue.

In terms of plant geography Åland lies within the Nordic “oak zone”, which is characterised by a relatively high share of broad-leaf trees such as oak, ash, elm, maple and lime as well as more southerly species of flowering plants. The mild sea climate and chalky soil also help to create a rich flora. Åland has many species of orchids and is widely known for its wooded meadows, which are richer in species than anywhere else in the country.

Nature conservation is relatively well developed in Åland, which has its own nature conservation laws, including special provisions relating to the protection of wild plant and animal species. About 50 plants, including most orchids, are protected, and so, of course, are most mammals and birds, except for those game species which may be killed during their respective shooting seasons. Under an Åland Government resolution, all amphibians and reptiles, except the common adder, as well as some endangered butterfly species, are protected. The so-called “every man’s right”, or public right of access to privately owned land, is more limited than in other parts of the Nordic region.

There are about 40 nature reserves in Åland, which are intended to preserve different types of nature for future generations. The wooded meadows of Ramsholmen and Nåtö just outside Mariehamn are two well known examples.

The province flower of Åland is the common cowslip
The page was last updated on 28.06.2013 kl 19:20