IW15 Directive inland water habitats

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


Ten inland water habitat types are included in the EU Habitats Directive. These consist of five lake and pond habitat types, three water course types and two spring types. Seven inland water types occur in both the boreal and alpine region, the other three are naturally restricted to the boreal region.

Conservation status of directive inland water habitat types in the alpine region is favourable. Water bodies are mainly in their natural state, and the pressure from land use is low. In the boreal region, however, the status has been evaluated as unfavourable for the most habitat types. Only the state of alpine rivers found in the northernmost part of the boreal region is favourable according to the assessment.

Natural eutrophic lakes with Magnopotamion or Hydrocharition type vegetation represent the unfavourable-bad status class. This is mainly due to their distribution in southern Finland, where nutrient loading from agricultural sources and municipalities has begun earlier and been heavier than elsewhere in the country. Fennoscandian springs and springfens as well as water courses of plain to montane levels with Ranunculion fluitantis and Callitricho-Batrachion vegetation have been evaluated as unfavourable-bad but improving.

The distribution or total area of directive inland water habitat types have not significantly changed. Instead, their conservations status is weakened by the current structure and function of the habitat type as well as future prospects. Some small inland water habitat types, for example streams and streamlets, springs and springfens and petrifying springs with tufa formation, have also decreased in total area, since some occurences have been lost especially in southern and central Finland. For other threats encountered by the inland water habitats, see IW13.


Status classes
Unfavourable-inadequate but improving
Unfav.-inadequate and deteriorating
Unfavourable-bad but improving
Unfavourable-bad and deteriorating

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