As a resident of Finland, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting two of the most amazing gardens I’ve ever seen, Gudalurs and Turku. I’m sure everyone from other countries will have their own favourite. Gudalurs is a community garden designed by Tero Aarnio and financed by a local conservatory company. It is a fantastic example of participatory forestry management and is located in southern Finland, near the town of Turku.
In this design, the main working components are a combination of a small earth area, terracing, pergola and gazebo which are then complemented by a selection of flowering climbing plants. These plants are all from the Botanical Gardens of Central Europe and are part of the Gudalurs Gene Pool. The aim of this project was to construct a new habitat for the reintroduced Gudalurs and to introduce a fully sustainable ecosystem. The ultimate aim is to improve local biodiversity and enable people to experience a more natural way of life.
There are three main objectives included in the design of Gudalurs. The first was to ensure the long term survival of the Gudalurs Gene Pool. As a key aspect of that was the implementation of a landscape of a large scale similar to that found in Central Africa. This was intended to provide a controlled environment which would be suitable for gene pool establishment. It also provided a refuge for Gudalurs from stress and predators.
The second objective was to build an integrated habitat. By doing this, we created the possibility of neighbouring plant communities co-existing in a sustainable way and of benefiting from each other through mutual benefit. An important aspect of this is that we managed the vulnerability of the gene pool through planting schemes, which are designed to increase the genetic diversity of the gene pool. We have been able to successfully introduce and manage a broad range of Gudalur species through these schemes, which have subsequently led to the establishment of several genetically diverse gene pools. We have also managed to reduce or eliminate the impacts of hunting on the different Gudalur populations, by carefully maintaining their conservation status.
The third objective of Gudalurs was to reduce negative effects of human activities on the Gudalur gene pool. One way that this can be done is through the use of landscape protection. Landscape protection helps to establish a habitat for the Gudalurs in their natural environment, and reduces the impact of human presence on them. The results of this should provide a strong base for the long term survival of the Gudalurs in the wild.
There are various ecological consciences associated with the Gudalur gene pool. The protection provided through landscape schemes is designed to maintain the genetic diversity and avoid any gene flow that might result from human interference. These are some of the challenges we have overcome and will continue to do so as we develop our management approach to Gudalur ecosystems.