Changes in red-list status

Comparing the results of different assessments is not an unambiguous process as the scope of the assessments is different and the knowledge of the species has improved. Moreover, the guidelines and criteria have been developed and revised during the last ten years.

The differences in coverage are best illustrated by the numbers of species classified as Regionally Extinct (RE), threatened (CR, EN, VU), Near Threatened (NT), or Least Concern (LC). In the previous assessment, the total number of these species was 20,884 while in this assessment it is 20,626. Therefore, adequate data has been available for assessing slightly fewer species. 

The number of threatened species increased by 420 species compared to the 2010 assessment. The proportion of threatened species among all assessed species increased by approximately 1.5 percentage points, from 10.5% to 11.9%. 

600 species have been removed from the Red List, about half of which were removed because new data is available. A genuine improvement has occurred for about 180 species. Due to a number of other reasons, the category for over a hundred species has changed and the species have been removed from the Red List. Approximately 400 of the removed species, more than half, were classified as Near Threatened (NT) in the previous assessment, but are now listed as Least Concern (LC).

The development trends for threatened species can now be better understood as the third IUCN-based assessment is completed. The situation has genuinely improved for 267 species, but worsened for 461 species. In the examination of genuine changes, all cases where the species were downlisted or uplisted were included.

Genuine changes for species by habitat type

Genuine changes of category can be used to assess species trends in different habitats. Forests as well as rural biotopes and cultural habitats are among the habitats with the richest variety of species in Finland. The largest number of genuine changes of category in the assessment was recorded for species in these habitat types. 

Genuine changes for species in forest habitats 

The development of 115 species living primarily in forests has been positive. Slightly more than half of these are butterflies. These are mainly southern and southwestern species favouring broad-leaved trees in deciduous forests, and their distribution has been rather limited in Finland in the past. It is obvious that global warming is a key factor in their success. There are also several species of beetles in a similar situation. In addition, positive development of individual species has occurred for eight other organism groups living in forests. 

At the same time, the situation of 142 species primarily living in forests has deteriorated significantly. Most of these are lichens, butterflies and beetles.

PK2019_Aidot muutokset metsissä
Figure 1. The number of species living primarily in forests whose development has been positive/negative on the basis of genuine changes, by organism group.

 

Genuine changes for species in rural biotopes and cultural habitats

The situation has improved for 101 species inhabiting rural biotopes and cultural habitats. The effect of global warming is evident in the fact that species with southern distribution have become more abundant. Additionally, the more effective forest management activities in rural biotopes, which are valuable in terms of species diversity, have been estimated to have had a positive impact.

The situation has worsened for 115 species. Again, most of these are butterflies and beetles. The habitats of these declining species are mainly meadows and newly made habitats, and, to a lesser extent, parks. Species living in open rural biotopes do not survive when their habitats are invaded by grasses and brushwood.

PK2019_aidot muutokset perinneympäristöissä
Figure 2. The number of species living primarily in rural biotopes and cultural habitats whose development has been positive/negative on the basis of genuine changes, by organism group.

 

Genuine changes for species in aquatic habitats

Of the species living in aquatic environments, positive development was observed in the case of eight species and negative in 34 species. Beetles have been most negatively affected here. The causes of decline for this group are incompletely known and probably involve several factors. However, the most common risk factor is the adverse effects of chemicals on lakes and ponds, which cause eutrophication of shallow shores suitable for beetles, changes in aquatic and vegetation on shores, as well as changes in pH and other water properties. The changes have been negative also for other organism groups associated with aquatic habitats and wetlands, especially fish and birds.

PK_Aidot muutokset vesielinympäristöissä
Figure 3. The number of species living primarily in aquatic habitats whose development has been positive/negative on the basis of genuine changes, by organism group.

 

Genuine changes for species in mire habitats

For the species living in various types of mires, genuine favourable changes have occurred for 8 species, but 39 species have encountered negative changes. Most of the negative changes have manifested in butterflies, the main factors being peatland drainage and peat harvesting. Past drainage activities also continue to have a dehydrating effect in these habitats.

PK2019_Aidot muutokset soilla
Figure 4. The number of species living primarily in mires whose development has been positive/negative on the basis of genuine changes, by organism group.

 

Genuine changes for species inhabiting shores

There have been 32 positive changes and 52 negative changes for species in shore habitats. Both butterflies and beetles are the most improved, but also the most negatively affected. The recovery of shore species is undoubtedly partly due to the effects of global warming, but the improved management of shore meadows has also been significant for the populations of these species. However, the overgrowing of open habitats is a common threat to butterflies inhabiting Baltic coastal meadows and sand beaches. The overgrowth in shores has also contributed to the decline of many vascular plants.

PK2019_Aidot muutokset rannoilla
Figure 5. The number of species living primarily on shores whose development has been positive/negative on the basis of genuine changes, by organism group.

 

Genuine changes for species in alpine habitats

Almost all recorded changes for species in alpine areas have been negative; only two have been identified as positive, whereas the negative amount to 57. There have been many genuine negative changes in alpine habitats, particularly for butterflies, vascular plants and lichens. The main threat causing the decline for butterflies is climate change. Alpine plants in the alpine region are also deteriorating due to global warming. Moreover, in this area all genuine changes for both lichens and birds have been identified as negative. The effects of climate change on individual species are still very poorly known. Climate change is likely to have a greater impact on alpine species than the results of this assessment reveal.

PK2019_Aidot muutokset tunturipaljakalla
Figure 6. The number of species living primarily in alpine heaths and meadows whose development has been positive/ negative on the basis of genuine changes, by organism group.

 

Genuine changes for species on rock outcrops

Twenty-two genuinely negative changes are reported for species living on rock outcrops, and only one positive. Most changes have occurred for lichens, and all of those are negative. There are several causes for the decline for lichens, such as construction, erosion, the adverse effects of chemicals, and forest regeneration and management.

PK2019_Aidot muutokset kallioilla
Figure 7. The number of species living primarily on rock outcrops whose development has been positive/negative on the basis of genuine changes, by organism group.

Reference

Hyvärinen, E., Juslén, A., Kemppainen, E., Uddström, A. & Liukko, U.-M. (eds.) 2019. The 2019 Red List of Finnish Species. Ympäristöministeriö & Suomen ympäristökeskus. Helsinki. 704 p.

Published 2019-10-25 at 16:42, updated 2019-11-04 at 13:16