Distribution of red-listed species in different habitats and forest vegetation zones

Threatened species by habitat

The 2019 Red List of Finnish species indicates that the majority of endangered species live primarily in forests (31.2%), as well as in rural biotopes and cultural habitats (24.4%). Approximately 10% of the endangered species live in each of the following habitat types; alpine habitats, rock outcrops and boulder fields, and shores. Aquatic habitats and mires both have a smaller proportion of threatened species.

The proportion of Regionally Extinct species is remarkably high in rural biotopes and cultural habitats; as much as 39.4% of all species lost. Yet, only one fifth of all assessed species live primarily in these habitat types.


PK2019_uhanalaiset elinympäristöittäin
Figure 1. Distribution of threatened species (CR, EN, VU) by primary habitat.

When it comes to red-listed species, i.e. including not only threatened and Regionally Extinct species, but also Near Threatened species (NT) and species lacking sufficient data (DD), the distribution of habitats is largely similar to the above.

PK2019_Punaisen listan lajien jakautuminen elinympäristön mukaisesti
Figure 2. Distribution of red-listed species (RE, CR, EN, VU, NT, DD) by primary habitat


The majority of species also live in one or more secondary habitats in addition to the primary habitat. A species may live in different habitats in different stages of its life cycle, or suitable habitats may be found in a variety of environments. For example, some species that live primarily in forests also thrive in parks and gardens.

Forests are also most important secondary habitats for threatened species in terms of quantity. They provide a secondary habitat for almost a half (43%) of the threatened species, and more than one third of red-listed species (38%). Rural biotopes and cultural habitats are almost as important as a secondary habitat for threatened species (37%) and all red-listed species (29%).

Table: Numbers of red-listed species by category and habitat

Threatened species by forest vegetation zones

The occurrence of threatened and red-listed species is concentrated in southern Finland. Differences in the numbers of threatened species between zones can be explained by both the history of land use and geographical factors. In southern Finland, the development of populations has long been affected by the high pressure on their habitats from various forms of land use. For the same reason, most protected areas in southern Finland are small and often isolated, which further contributes to the loss of species diversity in these areas. Moreover, for almost all organism groups, species diversity decreases when moving from south to north.

PK_2019_määrät metsäkasvillisuusvyöhykkeiden osa-alueilla
Figure 3. Number of threatened, Near Threatened, Data Deficient and Regionally Extinct species in the forest vegetation zone sections.
Published 2019-10-25 at 16:08, updated 2019-11-04 at 10:47