What does it take for an area to be granted the title of Geopark? What makes an area special?
Geopark is a shared international brand for significant geological sites. The Geopark network is administered by UNESCO. The nature and culture of Geoparks have global value and are worth preserving. Geoparks promote geological tourism, the preservation of geological, natural and cultural heritage as well as environmental education, and they advance activities that are in line with the principles of sustainable development.
The area hosts protected, rare habitats, such as raised bogs, wooded wetlands and natural forests, as well as sunlit esker habitats and spring complexes. In addition, the area is home to many endangered species, such as the greater tussock-sedge (Carex paniculata), blushing bog-moss (Sphagnum molle), black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa) and the rare moth species Caryocolum schleichi. Due to climate change, the significance of this area as a habitat for increasingly rare species has become increasingly highlighted.
The Kauhaneva – Pohjankangas National Park is one of the areas included in the Ramsar Convention. The Ramsar Convention is a treaty for the conservation of wetlands, which are the most endangered habitats in the world. River Isojoki is one of the sites covered by UNESCO´s waterway conservation programme Project Aqua. In addition, the Lauhanvuori National Park has been selected as one of the reintroduction sites for the wild forest reindeer. Moreover, the Geopark area includes the nationally valuable landscape areas of Hyypänjoki valley and Vihteljärvi – Riihonlahti.