SH5 Red-listed shore species

  This is an impact (I) indicator. DPSIR = drivers, pressures, state, impact, responses.  
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Relative to their total area ? 2% of the total area of Finland ? shores are a hotspot for threatened species. There have been found 290 endangered shore species ? that is 12,7 % of all endangered species in Finland.

Two thirds of the threatened species occur on coastal shores, rest of them are lake and river shore species. Over half of threatened coastal shore species occur on sand beaches. On inland shores the sand beaches are not that significant habitats for threatened species. Of all threatened shore species 42 % live on sand beaches.

Another important habitat type are coastal shore meadows, which host 33 % of the threatened species. Of the shores of rivers and lakes, shore meadows stand out as the richest in threatened species.

As habitats that are regularly affected by flooding water, the alluvial shores of both inland waters and the Baltic Sea are a special shore type hosting 6 % of all threatened species.

More than 60% of all threatened shore species are invertebrates and one quarter vascular plants. The share of invertebrates is most pronounced on sand beaches where nearly all threatened species are spiders, butterflies, beetles, Hymenoptera (sawflies, ants, bees etc.) or Hemiptera (shield bugs, cicadas etc.). Shore meadows are the most  important habitat for vascular plants.

Altogether 17 shore species have been extinct from Finland.



The latest red-list of shore species was completed in 2010, the one before in 2000. In ten years the status of 14 shore species has improved ? seven of those were beetles.

Two bird species previously considered extinct have nested again in Finland. These are greater spotted eagle and great snipe. Nonetheless only single nests have been found and these species have now been evaluated as critically endangered.

Of reptiles grass snake has become more common on Baltic Sea shores and its status has been improved from vulnerable to near-threatened.

Most red-list status changes have nevertheless been negative. The status of 60 species has been evaluated worse than in 2000, these species are for example vascular plants (12 species), beetles (12), butterflies (9) and moss (7).




Nearly half of the threatened shore species suffer from loss of open habitats, such as sand beaches and shore meadows. The loss of shore meadows is mainly due to ending of shore pasturage. Grass species are eventually replaced by different kinds of bushes. Also the spreading of common reed threatens some open shore species. 

In the Baltic Sea eutrophication affects shore habitats. Especially in the Gulf of Finland algae blooms pile up on shore areas. This and other nutrient load from the sea and the air (nitrogen fallout) change particularly sand beaches that are originally habitats very low on nutrients.

Some other bigger threats are hydraulic engineering and alien species. 37 species are threatened primarily because of hydraulic engineering. Alien species are mentioned as a threat in the case of 18 shore species.

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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