HomeThe nature guideThe vegetation in Nordmaling - a country with two faces

By Stefan Ericsson
The article was included in Nordmaling's nature guide and field handbook published in 2006.

 

The municipality of Nordmaling can be roughly divided into two zones with quite different conditions for vegetation: the Bothnian coastal plain in the southeast and the Norrland terrain in the northwest. Next to the county border in the southwest, the border between the zones is razor sharp and goes straight out to sea. When traveling north after the E4, this border is crossed shortly after the exit towards Ava, and the landscape changes as if by magic. You leave the last outposts of "High coast-nature" behind you, and a panorama opens up with a much more beautiful landscape. During the further journey you see how the steep mountains stretch further and further inland, and when you eventually reach the border with Umeå, you have long since lost sight of them. The coastal plain reaches a few miles inland, but as the country rises more gradually, its inner border is diffuse and more difficult to draw here.

The coastal plain is for the most part lean and monotonous with a poor ra ora. The reason is the acidic gneiss bedrock with the accumulation of equally acidic moraine, and the fact that the soil hardly slopes. Such soil is usually leached from nutrients and lacks the conditions for a richer vegetation. In Norrlandsterrängen, on the other hand, where the bedrock is somewhat more varied and the landscape shows large height differences, one finds a mosaic with both rich and poor vegetation: rich in the sloping slopes where the groundwater movement performs the slopes creates scaffolding, or where more basic rocks, popularly called "greenstone" ”, Makes the soil reaction less acidic; poor up on the ridges that have been cold-washed by waves during the stages when the ridges formed a beach when the land slowly rose from the sea. In the inner parts of the municipality, where the ridges are so high that they have never been reached by the waves of the sea, ie above the so-called highest coastline, the heights are covered by unsaved moraine which again provides conditions for a locally rich fl ora. The forest land on the coastal plain is generally covered with rice such as lingonberries and blueberries, while the herbs are few and the grass few. The bogs are flat and dominated by tufted wool, meadow wool and a few starlings. Rice bogs with cataracts, odon, squash, cloudberries, dwarf birch, and in the edges binding, are common. With the exception of the river valleys and village lands, the richest fl is found on the plains, usually by streams. Once upon a time, there was also plenty of swamp forest here, which can be assumed to have had an interesting fl ora, but since almost all land has been dug, such forests are now very rare. A remaining swamp forest, Långrumpskogen southwest of Torrböle, has been set aside as a reserve, but the vascular plant an oran there hardly contains anything remarkable.

Within the Norrland terrain, the ora ora of the forest land is more varied. The more demanding species oak bark and midsummer flowers are common, and the herb content is larger. In the often humid northern slopes, there are plenty of ferns and large populations of drought. South of Ava, this herb actually grows, by many incorrectly described as a mountain plant, along streams all the way down to the sea. In the climatically more favorable southern slopes, heat-demanding species such as eagle blight, whiting, witch grape and night violet are generally found, and in some places around Mullsjö and Hörnsjö even white anemone. The bogs are often sloping, and sloping bogs are almost always richer than flat. Actual rich bogs are, however, completely missing within the municipality.

The sea beach

The coastal plain may be thin, but closer to the sea something happens. The coast itself, which in Nordmaling is fl ikig and has a small archipelago border, almost means an explosion in species richness. Different beach types take turns: exposed beaches with rocks, or more often with blocks, alternate with sheltered bays with rich water fl ora and wide beach meadows, and each beach type has its own fl ora. At the high water mark, in addition, drift embankments of vomited bladder wrack and bladderwrack are formed in places, which form a breeding ground for a number of species that require a nutritious substrate. In some years you can also, if winds and currents have been the right ones, on the dikes you can find plants of long-distance guests who have come drifting like seeds and caves, e.g. vejde, marviol and fl your difficult-to-determine goals. The land still rises from the sea, so bogs and swamp forests are formed continuously. The bogs are at first quite rich, but are quickly leached out of nutrients and soon turn to the more trivial. Along almost all beaches, a border of gray eel, or as on Drivan, klibbal, advances at the same time, and inside this eel border, fl oran is very rich. This is due to the waste of nutrients that the alder offers before they, after a single generation, give way to the advanced forest which is actually a young primeval forest.

The Alars, with their nitrogen-expanding allies in special tubers, are specially adapted to just this: to take over new soil and create a soil. No other trees can handle this, and therefore you should be afraid of the eagles on the beaches. Yes, if the truth is to be told, there is also in Nordmaling a special shrub that can also konsten to exert air nitrogen, namely sea buckthorn, but it usually occupies only small areas out on exposed headlands. The merit of the sea buckthorn is thus not to form soil, but the wonderful, sour berries that are so insidiously difficult to pick.

Nordmaling's beach fl ora is not only rich in relation to the coastal plain in general, but also in relation to the steeper coast in the rest of Ångermanland. In fact, you have to go all the way down to Gävlebukten to find beaches with the same richness of species. Several unusual beach species also have their northern border or southern border here, so Nordmaling is favored in that respect. In addition, there is a specialty here: a species that currently has its only known Swedish habitat within the municipality's borders - the Arctic horsetail. After the ice age, a population of this Arctic plant remained in the northern Baltic Sea, mainly along the English coast, but the known Swedish populations have all been small and have eventually become extinct. The joy was therefore great when the Arctic horsetail in 1996 was rediscovered as Swedish at Njurviken and Inneravan east of Kronören. To thrive, an Arctic ponytail needs a protected brackish water bay with a very soft bottom. Through the land uplift, however, such bays are eventually narrowed from the sea and become lakes or bogs, so the ra ora that is there, and it includes quite a few species, must be prepared to surface. The bays of the Arctic Horsetail are still connected to the sea, so it still feels good and even seems to have increased, but in the long run it is doomed to disappear.

Älvdalarna

The municipality is blessed with two almost untouched forest rivers, Lögdeälven and Öreälven. The river valleys' fl ora deviates from the surroundings, and the rivers thus increase the species richness significantly both within the Norrland terrain and on the coastal plain. Many species are found within the municipality only in the rivers 'alternating shore zones, especially at rapids, and if the rivers' natural water level rhythm were to be damaged, some of these plants would disappear. Some species by the rivers are also directly unusual, e.g. the King Karl's sprout and river lettuce, which occurs on both rivers, the latter, however, is unusual by the Lögde River. The most special river plant is almond willow, which in Västerbotten County is only found by the Öre River.

Within the Norrland terrain area, the course of the rivers is deeply cut, and the valley sides are bordered by deep ravines. In the ravine bottoms there is often a grove-like deciduous forest with lush vegetation, and here, especially along the Lögde River between Norrfors and Hyngelsböle, there are more unusual species such as spring barley, koes and sturgeon. The mouth of the Lögde River is channeled and rather uninteresting from a botanical point of view, while the Öre River delta is freer and wilder with wide deciduous forests and old rivers with richer fl ora.

The fields of culture

It is not easy to imagine what Nordmaling would look like if all traces of culture suddenly disappeared, and not least this applies to the vegetation. A large part of the plant species that we consider to be obvious and completely natural, would suddenly be missing. Species such as daisies, red clover, timothy, stinging nettle and a few hundred more of the municipality's plants are in fact living cultural traces without actual domicile in our fl ora. One thing is for sure: if these plants were not found here, the sea shore urchin would even more clearly stand out as the most species-rich in the municipality. For the cultivated land plants, the coastal plain and river valleys belong primarily, with outposts in cultivated areas and older summer pastures that are scattered within the Norrland terrain. However, some of the species that we now most closely regard as cultural followers probably occur quite originally in the archipelago. The gray nest, reindeer fan and yard debris on the bird sanctuary have in all probability been there before the cultivation came to the countryside.

It is now not only the cultivation that has led to new species coming here, many have spread via the transport to ports, railway banks and roadsides. Even today, newcomers are spreading along roads, on arable land, and pretty much everywhere where humans are present. These plants can either be actively introduced, e.g. by sowing on roadsides or as escapes from gardens, or be introduced passively, e.g. as weeds, as pollution in grass seeds, as "hitchhikers" in soil transports or on vehicles.

Flora changes

A statement that may seem strange, is that even though many plants are now endangered, there have probably never been as many vascular plant species in Nordmaling as there are today. The thesis may seem difficult to prove, as no complete review of the municipality's ora has ever been made. To prove it, one might consider starting from Artedi's famous list of plants around Nordmaling written in 1729 (see Fries 1985), but unfortunately his description is so fragmentary that it is not enough for a comparison. We therefore also need to use information from what is known about the municipality's species from other parts of Sweden.

In fact, the ora never changes in balance: a slow change is constantly taking place, and the cultural change changes the fastest. However, the changes in the natural fl oran occur so slowly that they can be ignored in our comparison. Although the number of presumed natural species has increased, hardly anyone can be shown to have become extinct within the municipality's boundaries, and most of those that have been added in recent years have probably only been overlooked in most cases. We therefore count on the status quo for the original fl oran. The human companion then remains, of which a large number of species entered the country only long after Artedi wrote his list. Examples are all the plants that were spread here via railway, motoring, ballast transport in connection with the 19th century's large timber exports, purchased seeds, etc., methods of spreading that were all unknown less than 200 years ago, and new species are constantly being found.

Many of the plants that were introduced at the beginning of the traffic boom could not survive in Nordmaling and therefore never took root, others became common and feel familiar, e.g. sheaf seed and chamomile. But there are also some species that in and of themselves have taken root with us but have had difficulty spreading further, and they are usually located on the very premises they were originally introduced to. Such places, e.g. Notholmen and Olofsfors, should be regarded as living cultural monuments over fl orange change and are often interesting enough to take a closer look at.

Stefan Ericsson, director of Herbatium UME at Umeå University and chairman of Västerbotten County Botanical Society.

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Nordmaling

Nordmalings kommun
914 81 Nordmaling

turism@nordmaling.se
nordmaling.se

The Umeå region

Visit Umeå
Information and inspiration

info@visitumea.se
visitumea.se

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