Multiharju Old-Growth Forest, Finland

Multiharju (72.5 ha 1) is a part of Seitseminen National Park (45.5 km2). It was protected as early as 1910, when it is thought to having been still completely untouched1. Unfortunately, a road divides the Multiharju Forest into a northern and a smaller southern part.

Multiharju is an esker (glacial sand ridge, harju = esker) surrounded by bogs. The bogs are at an elevation of approx. 160 m and the hilltop at approx. 190 m. Annual precipitation is approx. 700 mm and average annual temperature approx. 4.5°C 2.

Multiharju is renowned for its magnificent Scots pines (Pinus sylvestris) – up to almost 400 years old – that have survived multiple forest fires during their lives3 (photo right). After the cessation of fires, Norway spruce (Picea abies) has invaded the forest. Today Multiharju is mostly spruce forest with plenty of old pines to remind us of ancient forest fires. There are also silver birch (Betula pendula), downy birch (B. pubescens) and common aspen (Populus tremula) here and there (photo below). The forest is not particularly tall: both spruce and pine reach approx. 30 m at the best sites on almost level ground at low elevations. The amount of dead wood is high. The undergrowth is dominated by mosses and bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), at drier sites also by lingonberry (V. vitis-idaea).

Aspen grove in spruce dominated forest on almost level ground. Also a few pines, background. Dead birches, extreme right. Plenty of trees downed by wind

Several marked trails run through the Multiharju Forest. Otherwise there are no human traces in the forest. It is easy to begin a hike from Multiharju parking area along the west-east orientated road through the forest. South of the road there are very few hikers, in the northern part lots more. Camping is forbidden in the Old-Growth Forest but allowed elsewhere in the National Park at designated sites3.



  1. Niittylahti, A. (2013): Seitsemisen metsien käytön historiaa 1800-luvulta tähän päivään. Tampereen Ammattikorkeakoulu.