Ecotourism and History Politics of the Conservation Areas in the Finnish-Russian-Norwegian Border Region (GreenZoneProject)
The GreenZoneProject is a geo-historical research project focused on the historical sites and conservation areas between the Finnish-Russian-Norwegian border region, that is, the Fennoscandian Green Belt Region. The home of this three and half-year environmental history project (2017‒2020) is the University of Eastern Finland (Joensuu Campus), and it is funded by the Kone Foundation. The PI of the research is Professor Maria Lähteenmäki and the researchers are MA Oona Ilmolahti, MA Jani Karhu and MA Aleksander Osipov. Ilmolahti finished her dissertation 2017, Karhu is finishing his dissertation in 2018 and Osipov will do his thesis at the University of Eastern Finland during the project.
The project contains four sub-studies:
- Ilmolahti Oona, History Paths and Sites of Cultural Heritage in the Finnish-Russian-Norwegian Green Belt Region
- Karhu Jani, Challenges and Possibilities of Ecotourism in the Finnish Border Regions
- Osipov Aleksander, Ecotourism and history of the nature protected areas of the Republic of Karelia
- Lähteenmäki Maria, Epilogue of Petsamo: Remembering and reinterpreting the Finnish-Russian-Norwegian Border Region
Cross-border cooperation and interaction between the Finnish and the Soviet Union’s environmental ministries started in 1985, when the Arctic cooperation took its first steps. In 2011 the cross-border nature protection meetings activated again. The Fennoscandian Green Belt area is the northernmost part of the European Green Belt. It is a grassroots movement for nature conservation and sustainable development along the corridor of the former Iron Curtain. The Belt is an ecological network that runs from the Barents to the Black and Adriatic Seas. Near the Barents Sea and the former Finnish region of Petsamo locate the northernmost transnational (Finnish-Russian-Norwegian) area, the Pasvik-Inari Protected Region.