Target 1.2 | Miljøstatus

1.2 No species or habitat types will become extinct or be lost, and the status of threatened and near-threatened species and habitat types will be improved.

Are we moving in the right direction?
  • Threatened marine species 1
  • Almost 150 threatened species in freshwater 2
  • Threatened species in wetlands 3
  • Many threatened species associated with cultural landscapes 4
  • Threatened species in the mountains 5
Are we moving in the right direction?
  • Arctic fox: 40 litters 6
  • Brown bear: seven litters 7
  • Wolf: four litters 8
  • Lynx: 55,5 litters 9
  • Wolverine: 50 litters 10
  • Lesser white-fronted goose: population trend 11
  • Polar bear: population trend 12
  • Healthy population of golden eagle throughout Norway 13
  • Eagle owl still rare in Norway 14
  • Positive trend for the Ural owl 15
  • Corncrake critically endangered 16
  • Problems for the pool frog 17
  • Otter population stable 18
  • Many seabirds declining 19
  • Status of a number of bat species uncertain 20

Miljømål 1.2 No species or habitat types will become extinct or be lost, and the status of threatened and near-threatened species and habitat types will be improved.

Indikator: Number of threatened species in the following major ecosystems: marine and coastal waters, rivers and lakes, wetlands, forest, mountains and cultural landscapes

Threatened marine species

Are we moving in the right direction? Published by the Norwegian Environment Agency

In all, 357 species associated with marine and coastal waters were red-listed in the 2010 Norwegian Red List for Species, and 45 of these were listed as threatened. This means that they were placed in one of the categories critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable. However, well under half of the multicellular organisms found in Norwegian seas have been assessed, and scientists lack sufficient information on population status for many species, particularly invertebrates. If insufficient information is available, species are placed in the category “data deficient”.

The marine species listed as threatened include 8 fish, 8 birds, 4 mammals, 8 molluscs, 3 crustaceans, 2 annelids, 3 vascular plants and 9 species of algae. The overall number of marine species listed as threatened is two higher than in the previous edition of the Red List, which was published in 2006. Several groups of marine organisms were assessed for the first time for the 2006 edition. One species, the North Atlantic right whale, has been listed as regionally extinct since the first edition of Norway’s red list was published in 1998.

There have been both positive and negative developments since 2006. Several fish species are no longer considered to be threatened, either because better information has shown that this is the case, or because steps to improve population status have been successful. On the other hand, new information has shown that the population status of some species is poorer than was previously thought, and they have been reclassified to reflect the higher risk of extinction.


Almost 150 threatened species in freshwater

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According to the Norwegian Red list 2015 147 species are threatened in the habitat freshwater. Compared to the red list published in 2010, this number has decreased with 9 species.


Threatened species in wetlands

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The 2015 Norwegian Red List for Species lists 183 species that are mainly associated with wetlands and that are placed in one of the categories critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable and near-threatened. In addition, 121 species in these categories are associated with habitats that are regularly flooded.

National action plans have been drawn up for some species that are associated with wetlands, and one species, the musk orchid, has been designated as a priority species under the Nature Diversity Act.


 


Many threatened species associated with cultural landscapes

Are we moving in the right direction? Published by the Norwegian Environment Agency

Many species on the Norwegian Red List of Species 2015 are associated with cultural landscapes. The Red List uses a system of 13 main habitats to describe where species are found, and 'semi-natural areas' correspond closely with cultural landscapes as used in the Nature Index and for this indicator. There is also some overlap with 'arable land', 'heavily modified areas' and certain other main habitats.

In all, 565 threatened species are associated with semi-natural areas, 75 species with arable land and 155 species with heavily modified areas. However, these figures cannot simply be added up, since many species are found in more than one of the main habitats. About 24 % of all species listed as threatened in the 2015 Red List are associated with semi-natural habitats, which include traditionally managed meadow and pasture that is not fertilised, coastal heathland and boreal heath. The only main habitat with more threatened species is forest.

Threatened species associated with cultural landscapes include the elder-flowered orchid Dactylorhiza sambucina, fungi such as Geoglossum difforme (an earth tongue fungus) and the pink waxcap (Hygrocybe calyptriformis), and insects including the great yellow bumble bee Bombus distinguendus and the scarce heath butterfly (Coenonympha hero).

Active management essential

The loss of open semi-natural habitats is the greatest threat to species associated with cultural landscapes. The three main reasons for such losses are abandonment of traditional management, a switch to modern intensive farming, and development and construction that results in the complete loss of semi-natural habitats. Cultivation of traditional semi-natural areas is probably a less serious threat than it used to be. Some areas are still being developed for housing and other purposes, particularly in the most densely-populated areas of the country. Afforestation of open areas – sometimes for climate change mitigation and otherwise for Christmas tree production or ordinary commercial forestry – is currently a growing threat

Active management is essential to prevent traditional semi-natural areas from becoming overgrown with trees and shrubs. Areas that are no longer traditionally managed (either abandoned or fertilised and cultivated) change so greatly that we lose vital habitats for a wide variety of plants, insects and other species.

Action plans and designation of priority species

National action plans have been drawn up for some species that are associated with cultural landscapes. Four species that are mainly or entirely associated with cultural landscapes have been designated as priority species under the Nature Diversity Act. They are the chequered blue butterfly (Scolitantides orion), the hermit beetle (Osmoderma eremita) and two plants, the northern dragon's head (Dracocephalum ruyschiana) and the black vanilla orchid (Nigritella nigra ssp. nigra).


Threatened species in the mountains

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Less than 4 per cent (88 species) of the threatened species in Norway live in the mountains. This does not necessarily mean that negative impacts of humans on biodiversity are is less in the mountains than in other ecosystems, but rather that the proportion of species that live here is low.

Examples of threatened species in the mountains include several plants and birds. The mammals wolverine and Arctic fox are also threatened. Wild reindeer are not a threatend species in Norway, but Norway is home to the last remaining viable populations of wild reindeer in Europe, and we therefore have a special responsibility for ensuring their survival.


Indikator: Status of specific threatened species

Arctic fox: 40 litters

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The Arctic fox has been strictly protected in Norway since 1930, but the population is still close to extinction. The species is classified as critically endangered on the 2015 Norwegian Red List for Species. An Arctic fox action plan was drawn up in 2003, and it has also been designated as a priority species under the Nature Diversity Act.

2009 was a particularly bad year for the Arctic fox in Norway, with no litters registered at all. The main reason was a lack of food because populations of lemmings and other small rodents crashed.

On the other hand, record numbers of litters were registered in both 2011 and 2014. In 2011, 40 litters were registered in all, and at least 270 pups were born. Just under half of the litters were born to females released into the wild as part of a captive breeding programme. In 2012 only one litter was born, but 2013 was a better year, with 24 registered litters. In 2014, 50 litters were registered, setting a new record. In 2013 and 2014, DNA analyses identified at least 125 adult Arctic foxes in mainland Norway.
2015 also represented a good breeding season for the Arctic fox in Norway. 40 litters were documented, and at least 204 cubs were born. In 2016 16 litters were documented, and at least 60 cubs were born. The decrease was related to low access of lemmings and other small rodents. In 2017, 40 litters and a minimum of 135 individuals were recorded.


Brown bear: seven litter

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Lynxes, bears and wolves were common and widely distributed in Norway in the mid-1800s, but all three species had been almost exterminated by ruthless hunting 100 years later. Since the mid-1990s, protection has improved their population status, but their numbers are still much lower than they were 100–150 years ago.

The brown bear population 

It is estimated that there were still roughly 4 000–5 000 brown bears in Scandinavia around 1850, about 65 per cent of them in Norway. The counties of Sogn og Fjordane, Møre og Romsdal, Telemark and Aust-Agder were the strongholds of the species.

Bears were almost exterminated in the first half of the 1900s. The Scandinavian population has now recovered to about 3 000 animals, about 2 per cent of which are in Norway at any time. Bears are primarily found in Hedmark, Nord-Trøndelag, Nordland, Troms and Finnmark county in areas adjacent to the Swedish, Finnish and Russian border. The Norwegian bear population is therefore highly influenced by the bear population status in neighbouring countries. There has been a decreasing trend in the population in Sweden since 2008, and we can expect a decrease in number of bears moving into Norway from Sweden.

National target not reached in 2017

The national target is 13 litters of bears a year. Using DNA analysis of bear scat and hair samples, researchers have estimated that seven litters were born in 2017. The target was therefore not reached in 2017.


Wolf: four litters

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Lynxes, bears and wolves were common and widely distributed in Norway in the mid-1800s, but all three species had been almost exterminated by ruthless hunting 100 years later. Since the mid-1990s, protection has improved their population status, but their numbers are still much lower than they were 100–150 years ago.

The wolf population 

In the 1800s, wolves ranged through practically the whole of the Scandinavian peninsula. They were hunted ruthlessly, and wolves were almost regionally extinct in the period 1960–90. Since then, the species has re-established itself, and in winter 2016/2017, about 430 wolves in total were registered in Scandinavia. Of these, about 54-56 were entirely resident in Norway, at least 51-56 in areas straddling the Norwegian-Swedish border and about 340 were resident in Sweden. This is a slight reduction in the overall number of wolves since last year, despite a much larger Norwegian wolf population. Sweden has had a wolf license hunt in the last few years, that has targeted entire wolf packs in specific areas. This has led to a reduction in the number of Swedish packs. 
A total of 41 litters were registrered in Scandinavia during the monitoring period of 2015/2016.

National target reached in 2016/2017

Until June 2016 Norway’s national target was three litters a year in the designated management area for breeding wolves (which covers the counties of Oslo and Østfold and parts of Hedmark and Akershus). The national target was achieved in 2015: In spring that year, seven litters were born in territories entirely within the designated management area. The graph shows the year the litters were registered, mainly on snow in the winter time.

In June 2016 the national target was changed to four to six litters a year, where three of these should be entirely resident in Norway. Wolf packs straddling the Norwegian-Swedish border are counted with a factor of 0,5.


Lynx: 55,5 litters

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Lynxes, bears and wolves were common and widely distributed in Norway in the mid-1800s, but all three species had been almost exterminated by ruthless hunting 100 years later. Since the mid-1990s, protection has improved their population status, but their numbers are still much lower than they were 100–150 years ago.

Norway’s lynx population

The lynx was almost extinct in Norway by the 1930s, but since then the population has increased and the range has expanded, so that there are now lynxes throughout much of Norway. The last 15 years, the population of lynx has varied between 44 and 92 family groups, which corresponds to between 250 to 540 animals.

National target not reached in 2017

The national target is 65 litters of lynx a year. In 2017, 55,5 litters were registered, which corresponds to a total population of about 330 animals. The target was therefore not reached. 


Wolverine: 50 litters

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In Norway, the wolverine population was estimated to at least 220 individuals in the period 1995-1997. The corresponding estimate for the period 2014 - 2016 is around 350 wolverines.

In 2015, 65 wolverine litters were registerd in Norway. In 2016, the number was 50. This is above the national population target, which is 39 litters a year.


Lesser white-fronted goose: population trend

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The lesser white-fronted goose is considered to be one of the most seriously threatened species in Norway. It has been designated as a priority species under the Nature Diversity Act, which means that steps must be taken to protect the geese and their habitat.

Early in the 20th century, Norway had a breeding population of several thousand pairs of lesser white-fronted geese. Today, there are believed to be only 15–20 breeding pairs. The species is classified as critically endangered (CR) in the Norwegian Red List. It is also red-listed internationally. The number of pairs arriving at breeding grounds has been fairly stable over the past 10 years, but breeding success has varied widely.

Satellite tracking studies have documented that illegal hunting along the migration routes is an important cause of the population decline. In the past couple of years, breeding success in Norway has been higher, resulting in a small but important addition to the goose population. There may be several reasons for this, but it is possible that the effort that has been made to keep the red fox population to a minimum on the breeding grounds is giving results.

Efforts to save the lesser white-fronted goose are being based on an international and a Norwegian action plan for the lesser white-fronted goose.


Polar bear: population trend

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Healthy population of golden eagle throughout Norway

Areas included in the intensive monitoring programme for golden eagles

Are we moving in the right direction? Published by the Norwegian Environment Agency

There is a healthy population of golden eagle in Norway, and its range covers much of the country. During recent surveys, nesting pairs have been registered in some areas where golden eagle were not previously known to breed.

The most recent nationwide population estimate for Norway is for 2008, and was published by the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research. This is to be replaced by an updated estimate that will be published by the national monitoring programme for large carnivores.

According to the current estimate, approximately 963 (652-1139) territories were occupied of golden eagles during the last five years (2010-2014).


Eagle owl still rare in Norway

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The eagle owl is Norway’s largest owl, and was a common breeding species throughout Norway until the late 1800s. Hunting resulted in a steep population decline. The decline has continued despite the fact that eagle owls have been protected since 1971. The main stronghold of the species is now along the west coast of Norway from Vest-Agder to as far north as Nordland. 

The most recent estimate of the Norwegian eagle owl population, published by the Norwegian Ornithological Society, is 450–680 pairs. Numbers appear to be more or less stable in several counties, including Nordland and Rogaland, which are core areas for the species, but there are no clear indications that numbers are rising in any of the counties. 

The eagle owl’s large wingspan combined with its habit of using the cross arms of pylons as look-out posts when hunting makes it very vulnerable to electrocution. This is considered to be the most serious threat to the species today. Other important factors behind the continuing drop in numbers are declining populations of prey species, human disturbance early in the breeding season and habitat disturbance and degradation caused by the construction of roads, holiday cabins and wind farms. 

In 2009, Norway published an action plan for the eagle owl listing various measures that can improve the status of the species. Power lines cover much of Norway, and pylons for power lines with a voltage of 22–132 kV are particularly dangerous to eagle owls because of their design. The most important measure in the action plan is to insulate dangerous parts of pylons and transformers near known breeding sites. 

Population surveys should also be continue to obtain better data on numbers in each county. Monitoring programmes have been established in several parts of Norway the action plan has been implemented. It is also essential to take eagle owls and their needs more fully into account in land-use planning and to avoid disturbance early in the breeding season. In some parts of Nordland, American mink may be culled to relieve pressure on prey species and give eagle owls a more stable food supply. 


Positive trend for the Ural owl

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The Ural owl is classified as vulnerable in the 2010 Norwegian Red List for Species, since there is only a very small breeding population restricted to Hedmark county. Ural owls are occasionally observed elsewhere in Norway, but no breeding has been recorded outside Hedmark since 1965. 

The Ural owl is heavily dependent on natural holes in large hollow or broken-off trees, including chimney-like tree stumps. Since 1965, only four such trees in Norway have been found in use as nest sites for Ural owls. All of them were large dead aspens. Three of them have now blown down, and the fourth is surrounded by young trees and is no longer accessible. There is an acute lack of natural nest sites in managed forests, and hardly any new ones are being formed.

Since 2000, about 250 specially designed Ural owl nest boxes have been erected in forested areas of Hedmark, and a further 100 across the border in Sweden. There has been a positive trend in the Ural owl population on both sides of the border in this period. In 2014, when rodent populations reached a peak, 51 breeding pairs were registered using these nest boxes, 14 in Norway and the rest in Sweden.

Restrictions on forestry operations and other conservation measures within the forestry sector are needed to maintain a Norwegian breeding population of the Ural owl. It is very important to monitor and maintain the owl nest boxes. Provided that these steps are taken, there is every reason to believe that this charismatic species will continue to breed in Norway’s forests. 


Corncrake critically endangered

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Corncrakes are strongly associated with farmland, particularly grassland. The Norwegian population declined severely from the late 1800s and through the early part of the 1900s. By the 1950s, the corncrake had almost disappeared as a breeding species across much of Eastern Norway. It was more successful in parts of Rogaland, the Lista area in Vest-Agder and parts of Møre og Romsdal, but even here numbers dropped sharply. 

By the mid-1990s, only 50–75 singing male corncrakes were recorded in Norway each summer. Nationwide monitoring of corncrakes started in 1995, and the number of singing males registered rose gradually to a maximum of 235 in 2003. There was a marked drop again in the period 2004–06. Since then, the number of singing males registered has remained fairly low, fluctuating between about 75 and 200.  

Corncrake numbers are highest in Rogaland and Oslo and Akershus, which are home to more than 40 % of the Norwegian population. Next follow Hedmark and Oppland. 

The corncrake is classified as critically endangered in the Norwegian Red List for Species. Most other Western European countries have registered a similar decline in corncrake numbers, but Eastern European populations are so far in a stronger position.

The conservation measures that have been implemented for corncrakes in Norway appear to be having a positive effect. Most confirmed breeding records in recent years have been in areas that are left undisturbed during the breeding season (vegetation not mown or mown later than normal). 


Problems for the pool frog

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The pool frog (Pelophylax lessonae) is critically endangered in Norway, where it is right at the edge of its range and only spawns in three small pools in the same area in the south of the country. 

As a result of several very cold winters, there are currently very few adult frogs, particularly females, at two of the localities where the species breeds. At the third locality, several new pools have been excavated near the original one, and this appears to have improved the situation for pool frogs. Nearby pools are also being monitored to find out whether the frogs are spreading to them. At present, the population appears to be so small that this is not happening.

There has been some disturbance around the pools. These are small pools in peat bog, and the peat and vegetation at the water’s edge is easily damaged. There have also been reports of illegal collection of frog spawn. 

The environmental authorities are taking action to boost the pool frog population. The most important of these is to excavate more small pools in the area to increase the number of suitable breeding sites. To reduce pressure on the current breeding sites, a viewing pool is to be established where visitors will have an opportunity to see the frogs. 


Otter population stable

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The European otter (Lutra lutra) is classified as vulnerable in the 2010 Norwegian Red List for Species. There was a bounty system for otter pelts from 1900 to 1932, after which protection was gradually introduced, and the species has been protected throughout Norway since 1982.

We do not have satisfactory figures for the otter population in Norway. However, registration of otters killed on the roads and carcasses delivered to the authorities suggests that numbers have been stable for the past ten years. 

The main stronghold of the otter in Norway is along the west coast from Troms and southwards to Møre og Romsdal, but there are strong indications that numbers are on the rise further inland and along the coast further south. 

The most important threats to otters are road traffic, fishing gear and hazardous substances. Otters are attracted to fishing gear because they feed on fish. Traps and gill nets can be lethal to otters, which may become entangled or trapped and drown. 


Many seabird species declining

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According to the SEAPOP monitoring programme, pelagic seabirds had only moderate breeding success in Svalbard and North Norway in 2015, but did better in colonies further south. For coastal species, breeding success was more variable than in 2014.

What can the 2015 results tell us about various species?

The serious long-term decline in kittiwake numbers all along the mainland coast is giving scientists most cause for concern. About three quarters of Norway's kittiwakes breed in Svalbard, and the total breeding population in Norway is about 340 000 pairs. In the past ten years (2005-2015), the only colonies where breeding numbers have remained stable or increased are those in Svalbard and a colony on Anda, a small island in Troms county.

The common guillemot is classified as critically endangered on the Norwegian Red List of Species (2015), and seven colonies are monitored as part of the SEAPOP programme. The Norwegian population is only 20 % of what is was 50 years ago. During the past 10 years, guillemot numbers have risen at the colonies on Bjørnøya and Hornøya (Finnmark county), while trends for the other colonies vary. The small colony at Sklinna in Nord-Trøndelag has been stable for some years, but numbers rose by 33 % from 2014 to 2015, when 649 pairs were counted.

There is also a fairly small razorbill colony at Sklinna. One unexpected piece of good news from the 2015 breeding season was that this colony increased in size by as much as 65 % from 2014.

However, the puffin colony on Røst (Nordland) suffered total breeding failure for the ninth year running. This is the longest period without any fledgling production since monitoring started in 1964. The population decline is continuing, and was 7 % from 2014 to 2015. In 2015, there were 289 000 puffins on Røst, which is the lowest figure ever recorded and only 20 % of the population in 1979.

Coastal seabird species generally had a poorer breeding season in 2015 than in 2014. However, both 2014 and 2015 were good years for cormorants, and Hjelmsøya (Finnmark) was the only colony where there was decline in numbers.

Shags had a much poorer breeding season in 2015 than in 2014, and numbers dropped at four of six colonies. Shags have also been doing rather poorly over the past 10 years, and three of the five colonies for which figures are available show a population decline in this period. There has been a similar pattern for cormorants in this period, although the subspecies sinensis, which is monitored at colonies in Vest-Agder and the outer Oslofjord, has been more successful.

The common eider was red-listed for the first time in the 2015 Norwegian Red List of Species. It has been placed in the category near threatened (NT) on the basis of a population decline of 15-30 % in the past 15 years. In 2015, more breeding common eider were registered at Grindøya (Troms), Røst and in Vest-Agder, but fewer in the outer Oslofjord.


Status of a number of bat species uncertain

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  • Barbastelle (Barbastella barbastellus). Classified as critically endangered on the 2010 Norwegian Red List for Species. There are only four known older records of the species in Norway. A few years ago, a single specimen was found hibernating in a tunnel. The site is protected by a door that is kept closed during the hibernation period. So far, efforts to find barbastelles in summer in the area around the hibernation site and in areas of suitable habitat have been unsuccessful. 
  • Natterer’s bat (Myotis nattereri). Classified as critically endangered on the Norwegian Red List. little information is available about the species in Norway. The most recent record is of a specimen photographed during hibernation in 2010, in a mine in Oppland county. Subsequent attempts to find Natterer’s bats in suitable habitat in summer and in winter in the area where it was found in 2010 have been unsuccessful.
  • Common pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus). Classified as vulnerable on the Norwegian Red List. The first confirmed record in Norway is from 2007, in Stavanger. However, this species is easily confused with both Nathusius’ pipistrelle and the soprano pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pygmaeus), and may therefore have been overlooked. The common pipistrelle is one of the bats that breeds in buildings. Whenever there are plans to bat-proof buildings, the species using them should therefore be checked carefully before any action is taken. 
  • Nathusius’ pipistrelle (Pipistrellus nathusii). Classified as vulnerable on the Norwegian Red List. There are a good many Norwegian records, all from the summer and autumn months. We do not know whether this species overwinters or breeds in Norway, but there are so many observations that breeding is probable. These bats are migratory, and it is likely that many of them leave Norway for the winter.
  • Noctule (Nyctalus noctula). Classified as vulnerable on the Norwegian Red List. It is likely that it breeds in Norway, although no colonies have been found as yet. Noctules are migratory, and many of them probably leave Norway in winter. 

Indikator: Number of threatened habitat types in the following major ecosystems: marine and coastal waters, rivers and lakes, wetlands, forest, mountains and cultural landscapes

Indikator: Number of priority species in the following major ecosystems: marine and coastal waters, rivers and lakes, wetlands, forest, mountains and cultural landscapes

13 priority species

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The first eight priority species were designated under the Nature Diversity Act in May 2011, and by June 2015 the number had been increased to thirteen species. They include both animals and plants, ranging from the lesser white-fronted goose to the musk orchid and the dune tiger beetle . Some of them are associated with more than one of the major ecosystems.

Where are the species found?

  • Marine and coastal waters: dwarf eelgrass (Zostera noltii)
  • Rivers and lakes: dune tiger beetle (Cicindela maritima)
  • Wetlands: lesser white-fronted goose (Anser erythropus), black vanilla orchid (Nigritella nigra ssp. nigra), musk orchid (Herminium monorchis) and the moss Sphagnum troendelagicum.
  • Forest: hermit beetle (Osmoderma eremita) and red helleborine (Cephalanthera rubra)
  • Mountains: lesser white-fronted goose, Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), black vanilla orchid and yellow oxytropis (Oxytropis campestris ssp. scotica)
  • Cultural landscapes: six of the priority species are mainly or entirely associated with cultural landscapes. They include three plants (northern dragon’s head (Dracocephalum ruyschiana), musk orchid and black vanilla orchid); two insects (chequered blue butterfly (Scolitantides orion) and hermit beetle); and one bird, the black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa), northern subspecies.

Further species are being considered

Work on identifying and designating further priority species is continuing. Several possible candidates are being considered.


Indikator: Number of selected habitat types in the following major ecosystems: marine and coastal waters, rivers and lakes, wetlands, forest, mountains and cultural landscapes

Six selected habitat types

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So far, six selected habitat types have been designated – traditional hay meadows, mires/fens traditionally used for haymaking, calcareous lakes, calcareous lime forest, hollow oak trees and coastal heaths. They support a wide variety of plant and animal species, and sustainable use of these areas can play an important part in safeguarding biodiversity. 

Where do we find the selected habitat types? 

  • Rivers and lakes: calcareous lakes 
  • Wetlands: mires/fens traditionally used for haymaking 
  • Forest: calcareous lime forest 
  • Cultural landscapes: traditional hay meadows (including wooded hay meadows), hollow oak trees and coastal heaths 

The Nature Diversity Act provides the legal authority to designated selected habitat types. The idea is to safeguard endangered and vulnerable habitats through active management and sustainable use. In deciding whether to include a habitat type in the system, the authorities look particularly at whether it meets some or all of the following criteria: 

  • its ecological status is poor or it is showing negative trends, which is contrary to the management objective for ecosystems and habitats in section 4 of the Act (for example, there is a risk that the habitat type will be lost);  
  • it is important for one or more priority species; 
  • a significant proportion of the natural range of the habitat type is within Norway; 
  • there are international obligations that apply to the habitat type. 

Management of selected habitat types 

Action plans are being drawn up to provide further guidelines for the management of each selected habitat type and for other measures to safeguard them. County management groups have been established to carry out practical management measures and ensure that there is close coordination between the environmental and agricultural authorities. National coordinators have been appointed to ensure that management is scientifically sound and that the same principles are followed throughout the country. 

More habitat types are being assessed 

The work of identifying selected habitat types is continuing. Some habitat types that are being assessed for inclusion in the system are: 

  • Marine and coastal waters: eelgrass beds 
  • Forest: rich swamp forests, calcareous forests and coastal Scots pine forest. These include several forest habitats that have been classified as threatened.
  • Cultural landscapes: agrarian woodland, semi-natural pastures and tidal meadows.