Assessment of threatened habitat types 2008

Alnus glutinosa swamps were categorized Vulnerable (VU) in the first threat assessment. Photo: Anne Raunio.

Some 400 habitat types were classified according to their risk of human-induced decline and deterioration in Finland in the first assessment of threatened habitat types in 2008. Of the total number of habitat types, 51% were threatened in the whole country. Almost one-third of habitat types were Near Threatened (NT) and one-fifth belonged to the category Least Concern (LC).

The assessment considered all natural habitat types, which were divided into seven main groups: the Baltic Sea and its coast, inland waters and shores, mires, forests, rocky habitats, traditional rural biotopes, and the fell area.

Habitat types in Red List Categories by main groups

The red listing of habitat types was carried out on the national level, and on the regional level separately for southern and northern Finland. The proportion of threatened habitat types was much higher in southern Finland (66%) as compared to northern Finland (29%). This difference was related to the the clear difference in the intensity of land use between these regions.

The most significant reasons for habitat types being threatened were forestry, drainage for forestry (ditching), eutrophication of water bodies, clearing of agricultural land, and water engineering.

Proportion of threatened types highest among traditional rural biotopes and forests

The proportion of threatened habitat types was by far greatest among traditional rural biotopes, 93%. The group of forests was second with a proportion of 70% of types being threatened. More than half of the habitat types were threatened also in the main groups of the Baltic Sea habitats and mires. The proportion of threatened types was lowest in rocky habitats and in the fell area.

Examples of Critically Endangered (CR) habitat types were herb-rich forests with broad-leaved deciduous trees, barren heath forests, forests and mires on the land uplift coast and streams of clay-dominated catchment areas. In the category Least Concern (LC) there were environments where human-induced changes have been more subtle due to e.g. remote location or infertile substrate. These habitat types included fell habitats, acidic rocky habitats and some of the wettest and poorest mire habitats.

Further information

Senior Research Scientist Tytti Kontula, Finnish Environment Institute, tel. +358 295 251 294,

Head of Unit Anne Raunio, Finnish Environment Institute, tel. +358 295 251 547,

Published 2016-04-06 at 9:58, updated 2020-12-04 at 11:45