Nursery habitats

Normally animal species reproduce well only in specific environments. Nursery habitats refer to habitats in which the conditions for the propagation and the growth of young individuals are good. In connection with ecosystem services, nursery habitats are normally crucial for the reproduction of economically important species such as commercial fish and game animal species. For example, the bladder wrack communities of the Baltic Sea provide shelter and nutrition for the fry of many fish species. Similarly the edge habitats between mires and forest that are rich with bilberry are crucial for the survival of forest grouse juveniles.

Many of nursery habitats have suffered from environmental changes. Eutrophication of the Baltic Sea has negatively affected bladder wrack communities and the dredging and building of rivers along with water quality changes have decreased the opportunities of salmon species to reproduce. The drainage of mires has dimished the area of high quality edge habitats and clearfellings lower the cover of bilberry for decades in forests.



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