Which ecosystems might disappear?
The first Norwegian Red List for Ecosystems and Habitat Types, which was released in 2011, includes 80 types. Of these, 40 are threatened.
- Threatened semi-natural sites
- Special and rare forest types
- Mud volcanoes and thermal vents
- Reduction in state of freshwater habitats
Two types were considered to be critically endangered, 15 to be endangered, 23 to be vulnerable and 31 to be near threatened. Nine were classified as data deficient (DD). No types were classified as disappeared (RE) from Norway during the assessment period for the report, which considers the last 50 years. “Hay meadows”, “coastal spruce forests”, “Radicipes coral gardens”, and “lime-rich lakes” are among the examples of threatened types.
Threatened semi-natural sites
Several nature types have been created by prolonged hay-making or grazing, traditional farming methods that have more or less ceased to exist over the last 50 years. Changes to these sites have been so drastic that “semi-natural grasslands” are considered to be vulnerable, and “hay meadows” have seen an even greater reduction and are classed as endangered.
Another endangered nature type that is dependent on traditional agricultural management is “coastal heath”. In addition, several nature types that are dependent on partial agricultural management through grazing and hay-making are included on the Red List. Examples of these are “mowable mire margins”, classed as critically endangered, and “mowable mire expanses”, which are classed as endangered.
Special and rare forest types
The Red List for Ecosystems and Habitat Types shows that several types of forests have been in decline. Examples of these are “ultramafic woodland” and “coastal thermophilous scots pine woodlands”, both of which are categorized as endangered. These are both relatively rare forest types that are in decline.
“Coastal Norway spruce forests” are in the same category. This is a nature type that occurs in Trøndelag and Nordland. It is more common than the previously mentioned forest types, but the state of these forests has changed significantly in the last 50 years as a result of forestry.
Forestry isn’t the only factor that affects Norwegian forests, however. Many types of forest are in decline because they are located near densely populated areas that are being built out.
Mud volcanoes and thermal vents
The deep sea contains several unique nature types that have been red-listed. Norway’s only known “mud volcano”, the “Håkon Mosby mud volcano”, is located 1250 metres under the Norwegian Sea and is categorized as vulnerable on the Red List. Other special marine types included on the Red List are “Radicipes coral gardens”, categorized as vulnerable, and “thermal vents”, which are categorized as near threatened.
More widespread marine habitats can also be found on the Red List. “Coral reefs” span large areas, and “Skagerrak sugar kelp forests” are fairly common, but both have seen significant reduction, and are respectively listed as vulnerable and endangered.
Reduction in state of freshwater habitats
The 2011 Norwegian Red List for Ecosystems and Habitat Types shows the cumulative impacts on Norwegian rivers and lakes over the past 50 years. Freshwater types have been affected by a number of factors that have damaged these nature types, primarily eutrophication, acidification, hydropower development and watercourse development, infilling and blocking.
An example of a red-listed freshwater type is “oxbow lakes, meanders and flood channels”, categorized as endangered. “Low-turbidity lime-rich lakes” and “lime-rich ponds and small lakes” have also been assigned to this category. “Lakes”, however, have seen a positive development in recent years, resulting in a lower Red List category. This is partly due to the positive effect of reduced acidification, particularly for lime-poor and moderately lime-poor lakes.