FA12 Red-listed farmland species

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According to the red-listed species evaluation published in 2000, almost every fifth threatened species occurs in farmland environments. The majority of red-listed farmland species lives in dry meadows, but many occur also in wooded and mesic meadows. Cultivated land is a primary habitat for two percent of red-listed farmland species. Dry meadows are important habitats for especially insects, but also for many vascular plants and some fungi of the Agaricales and Gasteromycetes groups. In addition, there occurs some threatened lichens in wooded meadows. The red-listed species in mesic meadows are mainly vascular plants and beetles, and in cultivated lands usually invertebrates.

In the estimates for the year 2010 the proportion of red-listed species in farmland habitats is greater than in 2000. The amount of red-listed species is predicted to remain approximately the same in the groups of spore plants, lichens and beetles. In contrast to this, in the amount of red-listed birds, vascular plants, fungi and butterflies a distinctive increase is expected.

52 species have disappeared from the Finnish farmland habitats. Many beetles, butterflies and wasps have disappeared especially from dry meadows. Species which disappeared from cultivated areas were mainly mosses. By 2010 even more species are expected to disappear from farmland habitats, particularly insect species some of which are very poorly known.



Farmland species becoming threatened or disappearing is associated with the structural change in agriculture which has caused a decrease or even destruction of many farmland habitats. Dry meadows maintained by traditional agriculture and animal husbandry are now strongly fragmented and changing into scrub and forest. Demanding species have become more threatened and with increasing knowledge new species have been added to the group of red-listed species. Management of traditional rural biotopes has not yet been effective enough to stop this development. Even though the life cycle of threatened species is usually short in these habitats, halting or reversing the negative development does not necessarily happen quickly. This is due to the fact that many food chains of for example dry meadows have already become shortened or broken, and their recovery takes time.

This indicator will be updated after the new report of the Committee for the Monitoring of Threatened Species in Finland is finished in 2010.  

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