AL10 Red-listed alpine habitats
Status of alpine habitat types
The red-list assessment of Finland's habitat types covered approximately 1.3 million hectares of alpine habitats. 15% of these habitats were evaluated as threatened, which corresponds to about 10% of the total alpine habitat area. The number of alpine habitat types is the greatest in the near-threatened category. The share of these habitat types of the total alpine habitat area is 77%. Some of these habitat types were included in the near-threatened category because they are generally rare, not necessarily decreasing.
Snowbeds are the most threatened habitat types. Their amount has decreased and the development is estimated to continue due to global change. Mountain heaths and dry mountain birch forests are other groups, which include threatened habitat types. Habitat types in the least-concern category are patterned and frost-influenced grounds as well as most of the rocky and sandy mountain habitats, and low-graminoid heaths and mountain meadows.
The most important threat to alpine habitat types has been found to be long lasting and heavy reindeer grazing, especially if it occurred during summer. Grazing has weakened the quality of especially lichen dominated mountain heaths and mountain birch forests. The amount of lichen has decreased, and the relative abundance of different lichen species has changed (see also AL4). Reindeer eat mountain birch seedlings and may locally prevent the regeneration of birch forests. Another important threat at present is depletion of ground vegetation. In the future, however, the most significant threat to the alpine habitat types will be global change in addition to overgrazing.
- Updated (14.05.2013)