Steady decline for Nature Index values in wetlands
Target1.1 Norwegian ecosystems will achieve good status and deliver ecosystem services.
IndicatorEcological status and trends for the following major ecosystems: marine and coastal waters, rivers and lakes, wetlands, forest, mountains and cultural landscapes (see the Norwegian Nature Index and the Water Management Regulations)
Nature Index values for wetlands
Are we moving in the right direction? Published by the Norwegian Environment Agency
There has been a negative trend in the state of biodiversity in wetland ecosystems as measured by the Norwegian Nature Index since 1990. In 2014, the Nature Index value for wetlands for Norway as a whole was 0.54 (in this system, the reference state is given the value 1, and is defined to correspond to minimal disturbance from human activities).
The weak but steady decline in Nature Index values for wetlands since 1990 is apparent in all regions of the country, but the underlying causes vary to some extent between regions. The main pressure on many wetland species, including a number of vascular plants, amphibians and birds, is land-use change. This is also the main threat to Atlantic raised bogs.
For many years, large areas of mires and bogs in Norway were converted to farmland or forest by ditching and draining. The rate of loss of these habitats was particularly high in the post-war period and up to 1990. In some intensively farmed areas, only fragments of the original mires still exist today. In other parts of the country, the abandonment of traditional farming techniques such as grazing and mowing has made conditions less suitable for species that prefer open areas with plenty of light.
Climate change is another pressure on biodiversity in some wetland areas. For example, palsa mires are peat bogs dotted with hummocks, each with a core of ice, and rising temperatures are causing them to thaw. In contrast, both the smooth newt and the great crested newt have shown a positive response to climate change since 2010. Rising temperatures and more precipitation are probably important reasons for better survival rates and stronger recruitment to newt populations.