The peat bogs on Toska have been mined for peat since 1946, when the island got electricity. In this treeless coastal landscape, peat was the most important source of energy, and this took quite a toll on the bogs.
From times immemorial salmon and trout have been caught with various tools in the fjord and the streams here. Finds in the Stone Age settlements at Skipshelleren indicate that salmon was probably caught by angling. Nets, fish pots and traps have been used in the rivers right up to our times. In the fjords the use of nets was developed into a salmon seine around 1500, and later into what today is known as fixed seine.
In the sea west of Bømlo lies Espevær, half an hour’s rowing trip across the sound from Vespestadvågen. This is a well-run and well-maintained local community, established on the back of the rich herring fisheries in the 1850s. It is fishermen, skippers and the tradesmen who have made their mark on the culture in Espevær, with their contacts to the south towards Haugesund and across the North Sea to the British Isles.
During the latter half of the 1900s the big natural river deltas on Westland disappeared. Until the 1980s there was still a small, but significant remnant of the original river delta from the Etneelva river, but today most of this, too, is industrial land.
At nesting time you cannot avoid hearing the calls of the curlew or the snipe along the narrow road through the cultural landscape from Rimbareid to Vestbøstad. And on late summer evenings, the intense song of the sedge warbler rings out over the two characteristic tarns in the area.
It is difficult to imagine that a plant can grow at the same place for many thousands of years: Climate and local environment change. Different species grow up and die out. Nonetheless, some plants get established, but don't manage to spread into new areas, because the climate is at the edge of what they can tolerate. Great fen-sedge is just such a plant.
Plants that grow in and beside water have to be prepared for marked and rapid changes in their living conditions. They must be able to tolerate living under water without drowning, and getting totally dried out without whithering. Many swamp plants are well adapted to these kinds of changes.