Fulufjellet is a place where visitors are surrounded by birds. The Siberian jay greets you with its chattering tunes all around the mountain plateau. This charming bird can fly very close to you on its silent wings and isn’t frightened to share your packed lunch with you.
In the high mountains, visitors might hear the monotonous whistle of the European golden plover. You might also here the melodic song of the meadow pipit high up above you. During both summer and winter, willow ptarmigan are very good at hiding themselves in the mountains. The gyrfalcon is the world’s largest falcon, and just a few breeding pairs can be found in Fulufjellet. Ptarmigan are the gryfalcon’s main prey.
Moose and hare are common mammals found in Fulufjellet. The surrounding mountains are famous for their large bull moose. In addition, the four large predator species – bears, wolves, wolverines and lynx – live in the area. Bears in particular seem to thrive in Fulufjellet. It is estimated that between 10 and 20 bears hibernate on the Swedish and Norwegian sides of the border. The national park thus appears to be one of the most important areas for the slow-growing bear population in Norway.
Ancient forest and the world’s oldest tree
The forests that are in close vicinity to the mountains have the greatest natural heritage. There are large areas of natural forest and ancient forest consisting of spruce and pine trees. In places, the forest is primeval in character and is very biodiverse. Ancient pine trees that are 300-400 years old are not uncommon. The world’s oldest recorded tree, Old Tjikko, a spruce tree estimated to be 9550 years old, can be seen close to Njupeskär.
Extremely old spruce trees grow in the area’s barren, mountainous environment. They grow in groups, scattered across the terrain. Some of the trees’ branches bend all the way to the ground and have taken root. This process is called ‘layering’ and such layering groups can become very old. They are great habitats for many species of lichen, including arboreal urn lichen (Tholurna dissimilis), a species that thrives in harsh conditions.
The mountains are covered with nutrient-poor moorland vegetation dominated by dwarf shrubs, grasses, sedge and reeds, as well as mosses and lichens. In both a national and international context, barren mountains above the tree line are extremely species-poor.
The absence of reindeer grazing, and therefore the prevalence of intact lichen mats, also makes the flora unique. The large variation in habitats means that many bird and mammal species find good nesting and breeding sites in Fulufjellet.