Aapa and Palsa mires
Palse mires of the subarctic and northern boreal regions formed by elevated frozen mounds or ridges (palsas), 0.5 to 8 m high and up to 50 m in diameter, interspersed wet hollows of similar area. Essentially, these are large peat hummock with a frozen core, rising above the surface of a mire, with relatively dry and thick peat keeping the core from melting during the summer. Because of the need for thick peat, they tend to be found in valley bottoms. Palsa mires are distributed in the discontinuous permafrost zone of Iceland, northern Fennoscandia and arctic Russia, in areas experiencing subzero temperatures for at least 200 days per year. Aapa mires in contrast, form around shallow tarns and open water and become filled with sphagnum moss in summer. This gives a characteristic ridge pattern to the landscape.
The boreal forest is typically thought of as being made up of just pine trees, but in fact there are several forest types. These include spruce forest, which is moist, with deep, nutrient-rich soils, pine forest, which is drier and often has a covering of reindeer lichen and herb-rich soils which support a large diversity of understory herbs and lastly birch forest, which can be found nearly everywhere. Around Kevo, birch forest is the most dominant but Kevo does have areas of pine forest in more sheltered areas. On the sides of the fells, the lower slopes are covered in mountain birch forests.
Fells and uplands
Fells are bare treeless uplands that stick out from the mires and forests. They are characterised by an arctic tundra type vegetation. It is a harsh environment, and apart from rock lichens, other vegetation is relatively sparse. Both low temperatures and wind dominate, but with a short growing season, the fells are very sensitive to damage and overgrazing from reindeers.
Lapland has a relatively diverse mammal and bird fauna, including all four of Europe's large carnivores (brown bear, wolf, lynx, wolverine). Amongst smaller predators, the arctic fox is still found in remote regions around Kevo. Small rodents (lemmings and voles) are an important part of the food chain and can reach very high densities. As well as Eurasian red squirrels, Siberian flying squirrels can also be found. Large ungulates are represented by reindeer and moose. There are nearly 150 species of breeding bird; Lapland is at the interface of more temperate species, Siberian species and Arctic species. Highlights include species of owls, grouse and waders.