All glaciers in Norway are threatened

Austdalsbreen.LUSTER.Austdalsbreen.Photo: Berit Roald / NTB scanpix

All glaciers in mainland Norway are threatened due to climate change.This was shown in a new ‘red list’ of natural habitats in Norway.


The Arts Database will launch the new red list on Wednesday,which shows what types of habitat we risk losing all over the country. In total,75 natural habitats are defined as endangered,and among them are all types in mainland Norway.

They are all placed in the “vulnerable” category.

“The threats depend primarily on the climate.Studies show that continental shelves have sharply shrunk over the past 50 years,and that development will move quickly in the next 50 years, given the latest estimates for the future climate” wrote the expert
authors of the red-list.

In Svalbard,experts also believe that the glaciers will be reduced, but changes are expected to be much smaller than on the mainland.

Snow melts

Another type of nature threatened by climate change is so-called snow-banks.These are areas that depend on snow that stays in the mountains for long periods of summer, giving a short growing season and almost continuous supply of melt water.

“When snow conditions are reduced, the specialised species will have more difficult living conditions.Over time, they will then be replaced by other species” wrote the Arts Database in its review.

“In this red list, we see very clearly that climate change affects natural habitats in Norway. This applies to 25 of the endangered natural habitats,and it is in the
greatest’’ said project manager,Snorre Henriksen.

Among natural habitats at risk of disappearing are,among other things, forests, southern marshes,olive groves,fossil and soil pyramids. It is emphasised that
much more than climate change can also affect natural habitats, and sometimes we do not know the reasons why they are reduced.

Mussel trouble?

Another worry is that the mussel stock appears to be reduced.It is currently considered “vulnerable” in the red list, but this is not fully decided.

‘’The final assessments for this group will be ready on the 3rd of December, it will be announced.The reason why mussels may be on the way to the red list are
several concerns about the stock.Possible explanations may be “changes in the marine environment,and that the combination of increased temperatures, and disease outbreak can lead to higher mortality.”

A survey of experts in the field is waiting for the final mussel decision to be taken.

Critically endangered

Hot springs are very unusual in Norway, but they actually exist in three locations on Svalbard.They are all listed as “critically endangered” on the new red list.

“They are damaged by visitors trampling in them” said Arts Database.

The same applies to the landforms of lime, which are formed around the hot springs on Svalbard. These are also “critically endangered”.

Nine committees with 36 professional experts have made the reviews in the new list. The work was led by the Arts Databank and the assessments were made according to a method of red-listing prepared by the International Conservation Union (IUCN).

“The red list is based on the best knowledge we have about state and development in Norwegian nature,and the assessments are verifiable and independent” said Snorre Henriksen.


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