Around the islands of Swedish Lapland you can experience a vast and highly interesting mix of different type of environments. The shifting nature with a great vary of biotopes and the change in living species the further out you get, is an intriguing phenomenon. The land rise and brackish water has created unique conditions for both plants and animals that inhabit the waters.
“The northernmost archipelago resembles nothing else. It maintains the light poetry of the Swedish archipelago at the same time as it’s wrapped in an ice-cold draught from the east with semi-arctic desolation and Siberian melancholia.” Swedish author Sten Selander (1891-1957).
The land rise
Currently, the land rise in Sweden is between -0,5 mm/annually and 9,2 mm/annually. The largest land rise happens in Furuögrund in the southern part of the archipelago of Swedish Lapland. In other parts of this area it is about 9 mm/annually.
The cause of the land rise is the most recent ice age where the ice was 3 kilometres thick and therefore weighed down the earth’s crust. Slowly the land is rising out of the ocean since the ice disappeared for about 10.000 years ago – and will continue to do so for many years ahead.
Due to the land rise – new mainland is created each year: the beaches shift which is especially evident on shallow beaches.
The lateral movement of the beaches creates beach-medows and this is a place where you can find unique plants, plants that are dependant on the brackish water.
The water around the islands of Swedish Lapland are neither sweet or salty – it is brackish. In the Atlantic Ocean the water is salty and for every 1000 litres of water, there are 30 kg salt. The water on Swedish Lapland’s coastline has 3 kg salt on every 1000 litres of water.
The reason for the low amount of salt here is the relatively cold temperature during summer limiting the evaporation. A large amount of sweet water is also added to the ocean from the many rivers flowing into the archipelago. The amount of salt rise further south in the Bothnian Sea. Bladderwrack, which is dependant on salt water, has its northernmost growth place just north of Umeå.