AL9 Directive alpine species

  This is an impact (I) indicator. DPSIR = drivers, pressures, state, impact, responses.
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Status of the Habitats Directive species


The EU Habitats Directive includes 14 species which occur primarily in alpine habitats. Two of these species, arctic marsh sedge and Encalypta mutica, can also be found in the boreal region where their conservation status was evaluated as unfavourable-inadequate. The rest of the species are restricted to the alpine region.

The conservation status of most (9) of the Habitats Directive's alpine species has been evaluated as favourable. These species, which include two mammals, three butterflies, and four vascular plants are generally well protected within the existing protected areas. While the distribution area of the mammals wolverine and arctic hare is large, the other species are local and mainly restricted to the northwestern fells with calcareous soils.

The status of one species, arctic fox, was evaluated as unfavourable-bad. The state of the arctic fox population is critical and is likely to weaken even further in the future. The population has been decreasing since the 1980s and the latest reported breeding occurred more than ten years ago. Based on actual sightings of the species, the arctic fox population has been estimated to consist of only five individuals.

One of the most important reasons for the decline of the arctic fox population is the spreading of competing species red fox into the alpine region. In addition, changes in reindeer husbandry and the weakening of vole population cycles have decreased the amount of food available for arctic foxes.

The conservation status of wall hawk's-beard and the mosses Encalypta mutica and Orthothecium lapponicum was assessed as unfavourable-inadequate. The conservation status of a moss Cynodontium suecicum was not assessed because it was evaluated as a marginal species.

Habitats Directive species
Wolverine Gulo gulo
Arctic Hare Lepus timidus
Arctic Fox Vulpes lagopus
Arctic Blue Agriades glandon ssp. aquilo
Dusky-winged Fritillary Clossiana improba
ssp. improbula
Silver-spotted Skipper Hesperia comma
ssp. catena
Arctic Marsh Sedge Carex holostoma
Wall Hawk's-beard Crepis tectorum
ssp. nigrescens
Glade Fern Diplazium sibiricum
Fragrant Buckler Fern Dryopteris fragrans
Teesdale Violet Viola rupestris ssp. relicta
(a moss) Cynodontium suecicum
(a moss) Encalypta mutica
(a moss) Orthothecium lapponicum
Birds Directive species
Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus
Gyrfalcon Falco rusticolus
Eurasian Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria
Eurasian Dotterel Charadrius morinellus
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica
Snowy Owl Bubo scandiacus

Status of the Birds Directive species

The EU Birds Directive includes six bird species in alpine habitats. During 1990?2008 the population of five species was stable and one decreasing, the lesser white-fronted goose. Nevertheless, before in the 20th century the populations of four species had already declined. The populations of Eurasian golden plover and bar-tailed godwit were increasing before year 1990.


Due to lighter land use pressure, there are generally fewer threats in the alpine region compared to the habitats in southern Finland. In addition to this, majority of the alpine region belongs to the Natura 2000 nature conservation area network. In future the greatest threat in the alpine region is probably the climate change. Species? capability to adapt and migrate is difficult to predict in changing environment. One possible outcome is the increasing rivalry between species as has already happened with the red fox and the arctic fox.


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