The area at Svartbäcksmåla was bought by Nybro Municipality during the 1970ies from the glassworks at Pukeberg. The natural conditions and the closeness to Nybro town meant that outdoor activities were quickly established in the area after the purchase. The running trails were created and demolition rubble from the town were used to build a downhill ski slope.
Already at the municipality’s first nature inventory in 1973 it was suggested that Svartbäcksmåla should become a nature reserve, primarily because of the outdoor activities and the geological values in the area. Nature inventories during the 1990ies also showed that the area has rich plant- and wildlife. The more the area developed into an outdoor activities area the more conflicts arose between the public’s need for recreation and normal forestry.
When the Environmental Code took effect on January 1st 1999 the municipalities had the option to decide on certain perimeters, such as nature reserves. The politicians agreed on a stronger protection for Svartbäcksmåla and in 2003 it officially became a Nature Reserve.
Svartbäcksmåla Nature Reserve, that stretches over 8 real estate areas, is own fully by Nybro Municipality. The Nature Reserve is 345 hectare, of which 291 is woodland. It is administered and supervised by official committees in Nybro.
Nature of value
In the Nature Reserve you will find a great variety of nature types, with everything from deep coniferous forests and grove-like deciduous forests to dry, sandy fields and wet alder marshes.
In the coniferous forest, which varies from dark spruce forest to open pine forest, you will find ordinary forest species such as goldcrest and forest lizard, but you can also come across more rare species such as the bird capercaillie and nightjars, or the flowers with the Latin names Pulsatilla vernalis (arctic violet) and Chimaphila umbellate. In the forests you can also pick berries, mushrooms and chantarelles, during late summer. In the rich deciduous forests along the streams you can find the rare violet Viola uliginosa and maybe hear birdsongs from warblers or red-breasted flycatchers. On drier grounds you will find mostly oak- and maple trees.
On the dry open grounds you might hear the melancholy song of the woodlark and, if you walk carefully, see the rare sand lizard. During summer these areas swarm with insects, and among others you might get close to the colourful moth Zygaenidae.
Beside the streams you can relax in the shade and enjoy the rippling of the water. If you pay attention you may find a grey wagtail on rocks in the stream or see a kingfisher fly by. During winter you can follow a dipper hunting for bugs in the water or maybe see trails of an otter in the snow.
There are many exciting plants and animals for you to discover! In April 2018 there were 1585 different species registered in Svartbäcksmåla – 366 kinds of vascular plants, 371 fungus, 80 lichens, 577 invertebrates, 138 birds, 9 amphibians and reptiles and 13 mammals, but only 27 kinds of moss and 2 fish!
A long time ago, huge amounts of meltwater streamed to and formed a glacial lake, called the Baltic Ice Lake. It covered large parts of Southern Sweden and when you stand at the OK-cabin in Svartbäcksmåla you find yourself by the shore of this ancient ice lake. The waves swelled over the shore, where rocks and boulders were exposed and rounded. The highest shore line of the ice lake in Nybro is 81 meters above sea level. Big blocks of ice were broken off the parent ice and were left laying behind. Gravel and sand were by the sides of the blocks and founds its way inside them. Eventually the blocks of ice had to surrender to the heat. The only thing remaining of these blocks of ice are pits in the ground, called kettle holes. In Svartbäcksmåla there is a whole landscape with kettle holes.
A unique wedge of ice
Ice Age winters alternated with arctic summers. The frigidity cracked the ground and when the top soil temporarily was freed from the ground frost the soil fell down into the frozen cracks. During centuries a wedge is formed by new cracks and soil. Much later the unusually well-formed ice-wedge was discovered in the sand-pit by the OK-cabin. Today you can find a part of the ice-wedge in the lobby to the municipality house, where the piece has been preserved.
Because the purpose with the Nature Reserve partly is to further outdoor life and recreation you have ample possibilities to both enjoy a peaceful hike in nature and to do a full work out. At the moment there is a development project in progress to reinforce all kinds of activities in the area.
In Svartbäcksmåla Nature Reserve Nybro municipality carries out forestry adapted to the outdoor activities and nature of value in the area. Some of the felling is done to recreate earlier cultural environments or to strengthen some areas. Long term the municipality will decrease the amount of coniferous forest and increase the deciduous forest, to enhance the biological diversity and increase the recreational value of the area.
During storms some trees sometimes fall down. To favour plants and animals that are dependent on dead wood these trees may be left where they fell. For the same reason the municipality also create piles of branches and tree residues in certain areas, for example from trees that have been felled in the centre of town. These piles are called “fauna depots” and they are marked with information signs. However, any trees that are laying in the way of outdoor activities or that poses a danger are removed.
Coming/current nature care actions
The municipality are also carrying out some targeted actions in the Nature Reserve to strengthen plant- and animal life in the area. In recent years, among other things, some coniferous forest has been felled on the northern side of the stream to encourage growth of oak and maple. On abandoned cropland there are ongoing attempts to create open sand areas to make it easier for bees and other pollinating insects. In the old gravel pit along the stream have planted pine trees been removed to support dry land plants, insects, sand lizards and the little ringed plover bird.