FO13 Red-listed forest species

This is an impact (I) indicator. DPSIR = drivers, pressures, state, impact, responses.

>> Background information


In the latest species' red list assessment of 2010 forest were found to continue to be the most important habitat for threatened species. Altogether 814 threatened species can be found in forest. This corresponds to 36% of all threatened species of Finland.

More than one third of threatened forest species are old-growth specialist. The share of species living in young and middle aged herb-rich forests is almost equally high. Smaller numbers of threatened species occur also in young and middle aged heath forests, esker forests as well as burnt areas and other early stages of natural succession.

Mushrooms have a particularly high share of all threatened forest species, more than 20%. Beetles (17%), butterflies (16%), hymenoptera (11%) and lichens (11 %) all have more than a 10% share. Forests are very important habitats for mushrooms. More than 72% of all threatened mushroom species are forest species. Forests are also an important habitat for threatened mammals, among other species groups.

Many beetles, polyporous fungi and lichens occur only in old-growth heath forests. Threatened species specializing in old-growth herb-rich forests include also several mushrooms. Younger herb-rich forests host a number of threatened vascular plants and butterflies. The threatened species occurring in burnt areas are mainly insects; beetles, butterflies, heteroptera and hymenoptera.


According to the genuine red-list class changes that have occurred between 2000 and 2010 the situation in forests continues to worsen. The red-list classification of altogether 81 species was changed towards less threatened classes. Half of these are beetles many of which have benefitted from retention trees left on regeneration areas. The leaving of Common Aspen has been particularly important.

At the same time, the classification of 108 species living primarily in forests was changed towards more threatened red-list classes. Especially the plight of lichens appears worrying. Whereas the status no lichen species changed in the positive direction 34 species experienced a negative class change. More than ten negative class changes were also made in the case butterflies, beetles and hymenoptera.


Changes in the amount and quality of habitats are the most important factors driving changes in species diversity. Forestry measures have both decreased the area of important habitats such as natural-like old-growth forests and decreased the quality of more common forest habitats. Factors relating to forestry are the primary causes of threat to a total of 606 species, which corresponds to 74% of all threatened forest species.

In more detail the threats caused by forest management relate to the decline of dead wood, changes in tree species composition as well as the decreasing of old-growth stands and large trees. Each of these is the primary cause of threat for more than 100 species. The decline in the area burnt forests and other young stages of natural succession are the primary cause of threat for 58 species.

This indicator will be fully updated when the next red list assessment of Finnish species will be completed (probably in 2020). Smaller updates and additions are possible before that.

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