FO15 Red-listed forest habitat types
>> Background information
A red-list assessment of Finland's habitat types was published in 2008. Of all forest habitat types 70% were evaluated as endangered. This represent almost half of the total area of the country's forest habitats. Forest habitat types are more threatened in southern than in northern Finland.
The Finnish forest landscape has changed considerably during the past century. Many large-scale changes happened also before this, but since modern commercial forestry began to develop in the 20th century, the changes in forests have been quite abrupt. The draining of mires has increased the total forest area. However, as a forest-dominated country the changes in forest area have not been the most crucial issues in Finland. More important have been the qualitative changes within forests.
Forest habitats have become less diverse and their relative abundances have changed. Some of these changes are of an older origin. Herb-rich forests with favourable soils in terms of cultivation have been turned into fields. The present herb-rich stands are small and scattered remnants of original larger forests. All herb-rich forests with broadleaved trees are relatively uncommon and, although they are proportionately well-protected, they suffer from a continuing decline in species diversity. This is due to small size and isolation.
In evaluating the viability of a forest habitat type a decrease in quality refers to negative changes in the natural structural characteristic of forests. The scarcity of dead wood, low diversity of tree species and age-groups as well as draining of moist forest are typical characteristics of commercial forests.
- Updated (14.05.2013)