Finnish “ecosystem hotel” to preserve plant species

Plants being handled in an ecosystem hotel. (Yle)
Plants being handled in an ecosystem hotel. (Yle)
A project by the Finnish Environment Institute and manufacturing firm Rudus aims to conserve and even increase the number of rare plant species.

The plants are placed in a new type of “ecosystem hotel” where they are kept while their natural environment is under construction.

In Karjaa, by main road 51, there is a gravel pit on whose embankment sits the world’s first ecossytem hotel.

“An ecosystem hotel is a place where plants can be placed out of the way of construction and earthmoving work,” says Minna Pekkonen from the Finnish Environment Institute.

The FEI gathers plants from around the road 51 area where construction work is underway. The plants are placed in the ecosystem hotel so that the machines do not harm them. They will be returned once the site is clear.

“We’ve been relocating sand pink, wild thyme and catsfoot and we hope to see insects that benefit from these plants too,” says Pekkonen.

Plants multiply in hotel

The ecosystem hotel, for all its ingenuity, is only suitable for plants that can safely be moved. The FEI hopes that the flora will multiply during their stay.

“These plants are part of gravel pit landscaping,” says Liisa Suhonen from construction company Rudus. “The multiplied plants are left in while the rest are replanted where they were taken from. Pines are usually planted to liven up the pits but now we can use the new plants.”

Moving plants away from danger zones for the duration of earthmoving work may become a common practice, Suhonen says, noting that moving plants around is cost-effective.

The Institute expects ecosystem hotels to help maintain and expand the plant populations of sunny habitats especially.

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