Our Biosphere reserve
National river and vital nerve – JUHTATDAHKA
The river Vindelälven is a free flowing river that flows through Västerbotten’s entire landscape – mountains, woodlands, morass and coasts. It has its source in Ammarnäsfjällen at the Norwegian border and flows out as a tributary to the Ume river on the coast – a distance of nearly 500 kilometers. Vindelälven is one of our four national rivers, which means that it is based on protection from being built. Vindelälven river has, like its tributary river Laisälven, always been a lifeline and transport route in the landscape for animals and humans. In the river valleys there are traces of hunters and gatherers from the time of the recent inland ice meltdown. Even today, Vindel river operates as a flood, and the long, unbroken migration of the Sami people from mountain to coast along the river is unique – one of the longest movements of reindeer that are known today. The umesamic word of flood is ”Juhtatdahka”, a good description of one of Vindel rivers many functions.
Sami and Swedish heritage
The valley of Vindel river has a unique and rich cultural heritage from the Sami and Swedish culture. The cultural diversity in the valley of eleven constitutes an asset and a challenge to manage. For example, there are valuable knowledge in the form of languages, handicrafts, culture and nutrition that are at risk of losing. Vindel river as a biosphere reserve in this cultural context could serve as a model area for issues concerning identity, cultural heritage, sustainable land use and nature management.
Open, living landscape
The recurring floods of Vindel river give fresh nutrition to its beaches – one of the reasons for using the earth and keeping domestic cattle for centuries. The area where Vindel river flows with the Ume river has been an agricultural area since the Middle Ages. Although the conditions for living on traditional farming have become more difficult, along the Vindel river there is a living cultural heritage in the form of a well-maintained cultivation landscape and open pastures that contribute to the biodiversity of the river valley.
Nutrition and entrepreneurship
There are such industries that are traditionally associated with the area, such as forestry and wood processing, agriculture, wastewater treatment, and now also visiting industries – but also trade, creative industries and technical innovation. Here there is a strong entrepreneurial spirit, and an effort to develop the valley of the river.
The biosphere reserve
The proposed Biosphere reserve is approximately 1.3 million hectares and extends from the mountains to the coast. The area comprises the catchment areas of Vindel river, Lais river and Lower Ume river and represents both a coherent ecological and social unit. The landscape holds a diversity of natural and cultural environments that are currently not represented in the biosphere network, either in Sweden or internationally. The Vindel river is fully protected and covered by various national interests and nature conservation. This is thanks, for example, to its biological values, cultural history and opportunities for outdoor activities. The main function of a Biosphere reserve is to develop, preserve and support the area, which the river valley offers great opportunities for. Climate research is given special conditions through the size and nature of the area.