FA13 Red-listed farmland habitat types
A red-list assessment of Finland's habitat types was published in 2008. Out of all farmland habitats this assessment covered only traditional rural biotopes.
Of all the habitat groups in Finland traditional rural biotopes host the greatest percentage of threatened habitat types: 93% of all traditional rural biotopes were evaluated as threatened. Approximately 70% of traditional rural biotopes have even been evaluated as critically endangered. All dry and moist meadows as well as wooded meadows and pastures belong to this class.
The preservation of wooded meadows and fen meadows rests solely on the management work carried out in protected areas. Herb mesic meadows, calcareous dry and moist meadows, low shore meadows, moist and dry alluvial meadows as well as grazed woodlands with deciduous or mixed forests are all critically endangered. One habitat type, alder meadows, have been evaluated as recently extinct.
Total areas of the smallest farmland habitat types are less than 100 hectares each. These include low herb dwarf shrubs heaths, dwarf shrub dry meadows, calcareous moist meadows, salt patches and coppice meadows. The lowest-lying zones of alluvial meadows have been evaluated as near-threatened due to the partly natural factors that help to maintain them. None of the traditional rural biotopes has been evaluated in the least concern category.
The area traditional rural biotopes has decreased in Finland already from the 1880s onwards. The decline steepened since 1950s and has continued almost unchanged until present. Mots traditional rural biotopes have declined by more than 90% during the past 50 years. The decline has been driven by changes in agriculture, but also by changes in the society as a whole.
Meadows and wooded pastures are losing their open character as a result of the ending of grazing and mowing. Clearance and afforestation of arable fields as well as building, dredging and eutrophication of shore meadows are other significant threats to traditional rural biotopes.
Since 1995 the management of traditional rural biotopes within the agri-environmental support scheme has been slowing down the decline of these habitats, at least to some degree (FA15 Management of traditional rural biotopes). However, the area included within the support scheme is merely a fraction of the area of traditional rural biotopes in the 1950s, for example.
- Updated (14.05.2013)