There are varied landscapes and biotopes in Öland, including the steppe-like area "Stora Alvaret" in the South of the island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Alvaret is the habitat of a diverse flora and fauna, adapted to the arid and hot living conditions. A number of species, such as the Öland sunrose (Helianthemum oelandicum) are endemic and cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Small lakes in the Alvaret attract large bird species numbers and are highly attractive for anyone with an interest in ornithology. There are also several internationally important bird sanctuaries in the southern part of Öland (close to Ottenby). Here you will also find a bird research centre. In the northern part of the Alvaret is the "middle land forest" (Mittlandsskogen), a large forest area. Because of the specific soils in many parts of Öland, there are 32 orchid species. Other important natural sites include the raukar at Byrum, and the Neptuni-fields along the coasts of the island.

Öland also has a considerable number of wetlands. A review in 1993 found 410 wetlands with a size of at least 2 ha. This number has originally been even greater, but many wetlands were drained in the 17th century to gain new agricultural areas. However, soil conditions did not prove to be profitable, and many areas were abandoned again. Renaturation efforts began in the second half of the 20th century.

Source: Forslund, M. (2001). Natur och kultur pa Öland. Länsstyrelsen i Kalmar län.

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