In the northwest are three forested mountains with inaccessible slopes and scree. East of these mountains are small boggy areas and pine-covered heathland. The heathland slopes steeply down towards lower land by the Nittälven river.
The river is unregulated and regularly floods the low land. On the other side of the river is the extensive Komoramossen marsh with its islets and ridges. This area also includes some of the forest that most resembles the native forest. Most of the nature reserve’s more undisturbed forests are otherwise found in the inaccessible mountain areas in the northwest.
Effects of forest fires
Natural forest fires had their last real effect on the landscape at the end of the 19th century. However, the county’s most undisturbed coniferous forest is still largely shaped by repeated fires throughout history.
The forest in Kaljoxadalen is dominated by pines and mixed coniferous forests that show the effects of fires. There is also spruce forest in neglected locations, naturally protected from fire. Parts of the mountain slopes have leafy spruce forest with aspen and birch.
On the scree slopes, individual limes can also be seen. There are many very old pine trees, mainly at higher elevations, some of them over 400 years old. In some parts of the nature reserve, there are many dead trees, either still standing or on the ground. These provide very important habitats for organisms such as fungi and beetles.
Forestry and marsh meadows
Much of the forest in the Nittälvsdalen valley has been used by man for the past 400 years. In particular, the mining industry required a lot of wood for the production of charcoal. The area has a number of remains from charcoal production in the form of charcoal pits. When mining became unprofitable during the 19th century, wood was extracted from the forest instead. Timber was floated down the Nittälven river and towed over Lake Ljusnaren to Skäret sawmill. At this time, selective felling of pine was common, which means that only the thickest and best trees were chopped down and used as saw wood. Throughout the area, there are dispersed, more or less well-preserved, older stubs from logging.
There was a big need for hay in the area because iron and copper smelting required many draught animals for haulage. The banks of the River Nittälven and the marshes around were therefore often used for hay making. There were many barns along the river and on the marshes, but only a few remains can be seen today. The barn at Dansarbacken has been moved there from another location.
Wolves and wood-decay fungi
The size of the area, the variety of habitats and the relatively undisturbed forest promotes interesting fauna and flora. Examples are heller’s notchwort, jelly lichen, ring lichen, Bryoria nadvornikiana, fungi (Phellinus nigrolimitatus and Asterodon ferruginosus), all of which are linked with old, natural pine forests. Regular visitors include the ural owl, the three-toed woodpecker, lynx and wolf.
How to get there
Kaljoxadalen lies in the Nittälvsdalen valley on both sides of the River Nittälven. Drive from Kopparberg towards Skäret and continue northwestwards. Turn off towards Uvbergsbron and take the first road to the left and southwards after the bridge. After about 5 km, arrive at the car park at Dansarbacken.
In the reserve, it is not permitted to:
- have dogs unleashed
- light fires
- drive motor vehicles, ride or cycle anywhere other along the through road to Övre Älvhyttan
- park anywhere other than in the designated car park
- remove branches, cut down or damage in any other way living or dead trees and bushes
- pick, dig up or damage in any other way flowers or other plants
- camp or park caravans
- set up orienteering control points or mark trails with paper strips set up notice boards, placards, posters, inscriptions or similar