Mitigating the impacts of climate change on biodiversity in the Barents Region – BARIMS

Map of study areas
Study areas of the BARIMS project

The BARIMS project, that is funded by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, aims to enhance regional co-operation in the light of sustainable development and safeguarding biodiversity in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region. In the project areas that are significant for biodiversity will be studied, and means for safeguarding nature values and ecosystem functions as a part of mitigation of and adaptation to climate change will discussed.

In the project the possibilities to evaluate nature values of large river catchment areas and bordering marine areas and effects of climate change to the ecosystems will be studied. A project is implemented in two stages: in 2020-2021 and 2022-2023.

The main activities in the BARIMS project are in 2020-2021

  • To compile existing spatial data on selected catchment areas and bordering marine areas, that are significant for biodiversity.
  • To find means to evaluate the effects of climate change to the nature values, ecosystems and use of nature resources of the selected catchment areas.
  • To identify main actions, that need to be taken for safeguarding biodiversity and nature-based economics in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region.

Study areas

BARIMS project focuses studying two transboundary areas in the Barents Region: Finnish-Russian Oulanka and Kem River catchment areas and Finnish-Norwegian Tana River catchment area.

Oulanka and Kem River catchment areas

Transboundary Oulanka River catchment area is located in Northern Ostrobothnia (Finland) and in the Republic of Karelia (Russia). The area has diverse flora and fauna, but it is sensitive for effects of climate change.

Map of the Oulanka and Kem watersheds

Oulanka River starts from the Finnish side of the pilot area in Kuusamo, which belongs to northern boreal zone and where northern, southern and eastern species meet. But on hills, deep valleys and on margins of springs and on rich fens occur also Arctic species. Some species, that occur in Kuusamo, can be found closest on Köli mountains and on Khibiny mountain. On the contrary, on slopes containing dolomite occur rich forest sites and paludified forests. Oulanka River canyon is a place for southern and eastern species. 

Oulanka river is running to Paanajärvi lake in the Republic of Karelia, where the dolomite in acid bedrock is providing habitats for rich flora and the landscape is relatively flat. Karelian side of the study area belongs mainly to middle boreal zone. From Paanajärvi water is running to Ala-Kuittijärvi, where the Kem river is starting and then running to Jyskyjärvi, where Tsirkka Kem river is joining to Kem river. There also river Kepa is joining to Kem river and finally they run to the White Sea. Our study area includes also coastal areas of the White Sea.

There are several existing and planned protected areas with intact nature. Paanajärvi National Park (104 000 km2), Oulanka National Park (27 000 km2), Ypäyssuo aapa massive nature reserve (35 000 ha), Kalevala National Park (744 km²), and Gridino nature park are the largest ones. Kostamus Strict Nature Reserve belongs partly in the catchment area.

Bog view
Belomorie eccentrig bog close to White sea. Photo Tapio Lindholm.

Tenojoki catchment area

The Tenojoki catchment area is located partly in Finnmark county in Norway, and partly in northern Lapland in Finland. The spesific character of Teno watershed area is that it belongs biogeographical on three different zones. The southernmost zone in Utsjoki area and in adjacent Finnmark area belong to Fell Lapland zone, which is part of the Northern boreal forest zone and Fell Birch is there dominant tree, which in general describes oceanic pattern in vegetation. But this zone is rather continental, with cold winter. Some permafrost and palsa mires also occur in the area.

Map of Teno watershed
Teno river catchment area has several protected areas, e.g. Øvre Anárjohka National Park, Kevon Strict Nature Reserve, ja Kaldoaivi Strict Nature Reserve. 

North of Fell Lapland area occur zone named, Fjord Lapland, that reaches to the ends of fjords. It is a clearly oceanic northern boreal zone, where fell birch is the dominating tree species, but also forest plants Geraniun sylvaticum and Cornus suecica are common. The last zone close the open sea is named as true hemiarctic zone and it is highly oceanic and almost treeless. Sea is open year-round. Many plant species occuring in this zone are Arctic.

Teno river
Tana River valley is one of the Finnish national landscapes. Photo Riku Lumiaro.

Contact information

Development Manager Kirsi Kostamo, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE,, puh. +358 295 251 315

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Published 2021-09-01 at 10:46, updated 2021-10-21 at 13:59
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