IW13 Directive inland water species

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


EU Habitats Directive species' status has been reported in Finland twice, in 2007 and 2013. Inland waters offer a habitat for 28 Habitats Directive species. They represent a variety of species groups and occur both in lakes and ponds as well as rivers. More than a half of them are vertebrates. Invertebrates include eight insect species, two mussels, a crustacean and an annelid. Only two fresh water plant species are included in Habitats Directive. All species occur in the boreal region, and eight of them ? otter, common frog, vendace, powan, bullhead, salmon, grayling and freshwater pearl mussel ? also in the alpine region. In alpine region vendace and bullhead were considered marginal and their statuses were not assessed.  

In the alpine region, the conservation status of five species is favourable and of one, freshwater pearl mussel, unfavourable-bad. The state of the northern water systems has remained good in comparison to southern Finland, where human impact has overall been stronger.

Conservation status of most Habitats Directive species in the boreal region has been evaluated as favourable. These include otter, frogs, most fish species, European crayfish, the beetles and four dragonfly species. The status of seven species is unfavourable-inadequate, and most of them are weakening. The status of two fish species, powan and grayling, weakened from favourable to unfavourable-inadequate between the two reporting rounds 2007?2013. These were the only genuine changes between the reporting rounds. The conservation statuses of Lake Saimaa ringed seal and freshwater pearl mussel were unfavourable-bad.

The most common threats to the viability of inland water species have to do with different kind of changes in water bodies and courses. These include dredging, drainage, clearence of aquatic and shore vegetation as well as regulation of watercourses. Decrease in water quality due to eutrophication and pollutants forms another threat. Poor conservation status of Lake Saimaa Ringed Seal is a sum of several factors. In addition to general threats affecting the overall state of inland waters, seals are threatened by human disturbance and the risk of drowning in fishnets. In the future global climate change will probably have a negative impact on seal populations, since rising temperature weakens the wintertime ice cover on lakes. Lake Saimaa Ringed Seals have their young on ice and therefore depend on strong ice cover and snow for shelter.

Habitats Directive species
European Beaver Castor fiber
Otter Lutra lutra
Lake Saimaa Ringed Seal Phoca hispida saimensis
Moor Frog Rana arvalis
Common frog Rana temporaria
Crested Newt Titurus cristatus
Asp Aspius aspius
Vendace Coregonus albula
White Fish Coregonus lavaretus
Bulhead Cottus gobio
River Lambrey Lampetra fluviatilis
Brook Lamprey Lampetra planeri
Salmon Salmo salar
Grayling Thymallus thymallus
European Crayfish Astacus astacus
European Medical Leach Hirundo medicinalis
Freshwater Pearl Mussel Margaritifera margaritifera
Thick Shelled River Mussel Unio crassus
(a beetle) Dytiscus latissimus
(a water beetle) Graphoderus bilineatus
Green Hawker Aeshna viridis
Eastern White-faced darter Leucorrhinia albifrons
Lilypad Whiteface Leucorrhinia caudalis
Large White-faced darter Leucorrhinia pectoralis
Green Club-tailed Dragonfly Ophiogomphus cecilia
Siberian Winter Damsel Sympecma paedisca
Slender Naiad Najas flexilis
(an aquatic plant) Najas tenuissima
Birds Directive species

Status of Birds Directive Species

Birds directive includes fourteen inland water bird species. The populations of five species declined before year 1990 and populations of six species increased. The red-throated loon suffered from land clearing for cultivation, mire drainage and disturbance during nesting. Osprey was persecuted such as many other raptors and also the organic environmental toxins decreased the population to some extent. Since 1970s the population of osprey has increased considerably thanks to effective conservation. The population of whooper swan was also small in the beginning of the 20th century because of extensive hunting and destruction of nests, but it started to recover already in the 1950s.

The populations of four species have increased before 1990 and after, these are great bittern, western marsh harrier, black tren and common kingfisher. They have all encroached in Finland mostly during the 20th century. Great bittern and western marsh harrier are, at the moment, quite common in suitable canebrake habitats. Black tren and common kingfisher are still fairly rare.

The populations of spotted crake and horned grebe have decreased since 1990. The population of the latter was decreasing already before.


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