Sweden designates 21 new Ramsar sites
At the 7th meeting of the Conference of the Parties, in San José in 1999, Sweden pledged to add 21 new Ramsar sites before the next COP, and it has now fulfilled that promise. Twenty-one new Wetlands of International Importance, totaling 125,870 hectares, have been added to the List, and nine of the thirty existing Swedish Ramsar sites have had their boundaries extended, in some cases significantly. The new sites are located in nearly all parts of the country and embody a broad array of wetland types, values and functions, in hydrological as well as in biological terms. Sweden, now with 51 Wetlands of International Importance, has leapt past Italy, Ireland, Denmark, Spain, Canada, the Russian Federation, and Germany to third place in the total number of Ramsar sites (behind only the UK and Australia) - its total number of hectares under the umbrella of the Convention is now over half a million, at 514,500. The Convention itself, with its 131 Contracting Parties, now has 1171 Ramsar sites (with two more already approved and ready to be added to the List), totaling 96,454,325 hectares.
Brief descriptions of the 21 new Ramsar sites can be seen here, and a list of the previously-announced new site extensions is also available.
Aloppkölen-Köpmankölen. 19/11/01; Jämtland; 20,100 ha; 62°39'N 013°35'E. Includes Nature Reserve. A representative example of a natural wetland type (non-forested peatland) in the EU alpine region, the site consists of a large mire complex southwest of Lake Storsjön. Amongst the diverse kinds of fens, mires, peat bogs, and wet forests, solid ground 'islets' with a large number of dead pines Pinus sylvestris give the area a "distinct wilderness feel". Ornithological values are high, and the large carnivores Ursus arctos, Gulo gulo, Lynx lynx, and Canis lupus have been observed. Like much of northern Sweden, the area and its surroundings are used for reindeer husbandry by the local Sami population. Ramsar site no. 1113.
Asköviken-Sörfjärden. 19/11/01; Södermanland, Västmanland; 12,200 ha; 59°28'N 016°41'E. Nature Reserves. Two sizable bays of Lake Mälaren and an archipelago of some 160 islands and isles between them, representative of a near-natural wetland type (freshwater lake and permanent marshes) in the EU Boreal region. Because of the special local climate, the area harbors several species favored by mild temperatures, known as "heat-depending relict species", the remains of a previous flora and fauna that was more widespread in warmer periods. The site supports more than 23,000 waterbirds and also qualifies under one of the fish criteria by virtue of its support for a significant proportion of several species, including the eel Anguilla anguilla and the European pike-perch or zander Stizostedion lucioperca. More than 75 globally and nationally red-listed species are present, including birds, fish and molluscs, fungi, moss and lichen, and insects. Human settlements are known from the 11th century, and a 17th century royal shipyard in the archipelago favored the cultivation of oak. Agriculture, forestry, and grazing are important activities, and the natural and culture beauty of the landscape make it very attractive for recreation and tourism. Ramsar site no. 1114.
Blekinge archipelago. 19/11/01; Blekinge; 12,500 ha; 56°07'N 015°21'E. Nature Reserves. The three separate parts of the site along the southeast coast of the country all include isles, islands, coastal areas with intertidal marshes, beaches, and rocky shores, and the waters between. The area supports more than 100 nationally red-listed species, primarily insects and birds, and more than 20,000 waterbirds, especially ducks, gulls, and cormorants. Remains of medieval house foundations and ancient graves can be seen on some islands, and preservation of the cultural landscape in this area is seen to be of national interest. Twelve nature reserves exist within or partially within the site, all with management plans in place. Ramsar site no. 1115.
Dalälven-Färnebofjärden. 19/11/01; Västmanland, Gävleborg, Dalarna; 17,300 ha; 60°13'N 016°47'E. Includes National Park and Nature Reserves. The lower part of the River Dalälven where it emerges from hilly landscape onto a more flat and open countryside, widening and forming a series of broad, shallow pools. Situated at the limit of the vegetation types of northern and southern Sweden, the site has a rich diversity of mires, riverside meadows, birch and alder fens, marsh meadows, peat bogs, and shore fens. Flooding is common, and flood control is an important function of the site. The fauna is also diverse, especially in birds and fish species, and the mosquito Aedes rossicus is present in its largest populations in Sweden. Because of the wilderness character of the area, its diverse fauna, and attractive landscape, it is well known for birdwatching, hiking, canoeing, and fishing. Ramsar site no. 1116.
Dumme mosse. 19/11/01; Jönköping; 3,350 ha; 57°47'N 014°01'E. Includes Nature Reserve and a bird sanctuary. A large, diverse mire complex representative for the region and with great ornithological and hydrological values, situated in a sandy flatland with eskers. In the northern end of the site, near the Domneå dam, 164 bird species have been observed, of which 90 are nesting fairly regularly. Ramsar site no. 1117.
Emån. 19/11/01; Kalmar; 1,580 ha; 57°09'N 016°22'E. The lower reaches and mouth of the Emån river, containing many representative wetland types and extraordinary fish diversity. The river is broad and calm in most places, with large seasonal variations in water levels and annual flooding of large areas. It is one of the largest continuous wetland areas in the country, with vast areas of reeds, marsh meadow, waterlogged marshland, and meadows bordering the river. The river valley has been put to human use since the Stone Age and several sites are of national interest for cultural history, including remains of an early barrage near the mouth of the river. Conditions for recreation and tourism, especially sport fishing, are very good. Ramsar site no. 1118.
Fylleån. 19/11/01; Halland; 910 ha; 56°40'N 012°55'E. Nature Reserves, Bird Sanctuaries. The site encompasses the lower parts and mouth of the river Fylleån on the west coast, largely untouched by hydrological interventions and with good water quality. Interesting plant life is supported by old meanders, overgrowing oxbow lakes, and regularly flooded wetlands, as well as by the well-preserved sand dune landscape at the coast. The river is highly valued for its richness in nationally red-listed salmon Salmo salar and brown trout Salmo trutta, for both of which it provides important reproduction sites. The coastal stone fields contain graves from the early Iron Age in Scandinavia, and there are a large number of archaeological and ancient cultural remains in the area. Because of the open landscape, scenic beauty, diverse nature, and richness in monuments, the area is highly valued for recreation and tourism. Ramsar site no. 1119.
Kallgate-Hejnum. 19/11/01; Gotland; 1,650 ha; 57°41'N 018°42'E. Includes Nature Reserve. A large complex of wetland, flat rockland, and forest on limestone bedrock on the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea. The site's many springs and high water quality contribute to its importance as a water reservoir. Several rare plant species are present, including fen pondweed Potamogeton coloratus, found only on this island within Sweden, and 26 species of orchids can be seen. Forestry, drainage, and road construction just outside the site are believed to be having some negative impact upon its flora and fauna. Ramsar site no. 1120.
Komosse. 19/11/01; Jönköping, Västra Götaland; 4,070 ha; 57°41'N 013°42'E. Nature Reserve. Described as one of the most valuable peat bog complexes in northwestern Europe, large, diverse, and little exploited, with representative flora, fauna, and wetland types. Originating as a series of lakes in hilly landscape, the peat bog is thought to have been completely formed around 4000 B.C.; the ground is now flat and precipitation is high, thus wide soaks are common and there is a large pool system that is unusual for this part of the country. With its natural qualities and little human impact, the site is very valuable as a research area for national and international mire researchers in both hydrology and botany. Ramsar site no. 1121.
Lundåkra Bay. 19/11/01; Skåne; 1,980 ha; 55°49'N 012°55'E. Includes Nature Reserves. A shallow bay including adjacent shoreline and a small river mouth, which supports significant numbers of wetland birds and constitutes an important area for fish production. The terrestrial part of the site consists mostly of a large flat seashore meadow area, often flooded by the sea and partly waterlogged. The meadows within the northern part of the site (a nature reserve) are wet and more intensively grazed, and offer good breeding habitat for waders, including some nationally red-listed species such as avocet, dunlin, and little tern, all of which nest there regularly. The reserve has value for recreation and tourism, especially sport fishing, and the area has been classified as being of national interest for commercial fishing. Ramsar site no. 1122.
Mörrumsån-Pukavik Bay. 19/11/01; Blekinge; 2,740 ha; 56°09'N 014°45'E. Nature Reserves, Bird Sanctuaries. The site contains areas of high national interest for nature conservation, cultural heritage,and geology, and is one of the foremost areas in Sweden for populations of salmon Salmo salar and brown trout Salmo trutta. The site consists of the lower half of the river Mörrumsån (some 30km in length) and the shore surrounding the bay at the river mouth. Fifteen red-listed species of fungi have been found, and the endemic Hygroaster lacteus is present on small islands in the river. Sport and commercial fishing, chiefly for salmon and trout but also for eel Anguilla anguilla, are of very great importance. Ramsar site no. 1123.
Mossaträsk-Stormyran. 19/11/01; Västernorrland; 950 ha; 63°50'N 017°19'E. Nature Reserve. One of the largest forest-mire complexes in northeastern Sweden, the relatively flat landscape contains a large, well-developed "string flark fen with large flarks [defined as 'seemingly bottomless pools'] and waterlogged areas". As the site is largely unaffected by human activities, water quality and ornithological values are high. As a nature reserve since 1998, a management plan is in place and the site is included in the National Mire Protection Plan. Ramsar site no. 1124.
Nordre älv estuary. 19/11/01; Västra Götaland; 7,210 ha; 57°47'N 011°44'E. Includes Nature Reserves and Bird Sanctuaries. A shallow marine bay around the mouth of the Nordre älv river on the west coast, and 5km of the river itself, with several small sheltered bays and a large number of islands and isles. Large numbers of waterbirds are supported, especially waders and ducks, and fish production is very high and commercially important. The beautiful landscape and cultural history make the area extremely attractive for tourism and recreation, especially boating. Ramsar site no. 1125.
Oldflån-Flån. 19/11/01; Jämtland; 10,100 ha; 63°48'N 013°48'E. A large, unexploited area in northwestern Sweden near the Norwegian border, holding very high ornithological values and a valuable mosaic of wetlands and forests. The site is located in the pre-alpine area, with hilly moraine landscapes and a wide variety of wetland types. The Oldflån area is a highly differentiated mire landscape with several different kinds of mire complexes, such as soligenous fens and marsh forests, with many solid ground 'islets' frequently with virgin spruce forest Picea abies. The Flån area is a mosaic complex with fens, small lakes, and solid ground 'islets', including topogenous soft ground fens, mixed mosaic mires, string flark fens with flark pools and marsh forests. Like many parts of northern Sweden, the area is subject to reindeer husbandry by the local Sami population. Ramsar site no. 1126.
Skälderviken. 19/11/01; Skåne; 1,350 ha; 56°14'N 012°43'E. Nature Reserves. A shallow coastal bay in southwestern Sweden, including adjacent shoreline consisting of grazed meadows, a few islands, sand dunes and shoals, and two small river mouths. The site is an important spawning ground, nursery, and feeding area, especially for flatfish, and is classified as nationally important for commercial fishing. The flat seashore meadows also support a rich birdlife, and the scenic beauty of the area is highly valued for recreation and tourism. Ramsar site no. 1127.
Södra Bråviken. 19/11/01; Östergötland; 3,610 ha; 58°38'N 016°26'E. Nature Reserves. Two shallow bays within the larger Bråviken bay on the Baltic coast, each with a handful of islands, bordered by coastal meadows, steppe meadows, and coniferous and oak forests of high biological value. The area is an important breeding and stopover site for many birds, mainly waterbirds, with more than 230 species recorded, and the site is classified as nationally important for commercial fishing. A few ancient monuments are found within the site. Management plans are in place for two Nature Reserves within and partly within the Ramsar site. Ramsar site no. 1128.
Storkölen. 19/11/01; Dalarna; 7,040 ha; 61°47'N 012°13'E. Natura 2000 site, Nature Reserves. An undisturbed area of high wetland diversity, rich in lakes and waterlogged areas, greatly valued for its scenic beauty, old forests and high ornithological values. There are large systems of flark pools within the sites, and pools and fen soaks are common. Re-introduction of bean goose Anser fabalis has been carried out successfully. Connection to the nearby Kvisleflået proposed Ramsar site in Norway suggests the possibility of a transboundary Ramsar site. Ramsar site no. 1129.
Sulsjön-Sulån. 19/11/01; Västernorrland; 350 ha; 62°36'N 016°50'E. LIFE and Natura 2000 site, Nature Reserve. Consists of a lake (Sulsjön) and part of the narrow, winding Sulån river, with surrounding mires and small water bodies. The river is one of the most valuable sites in Sweden for the endangered freshwater pearl mussel Margaritifera margaritifera, with some 220,000 individuals. A preliminary snowmobile track has been marked across the reserve to canalize mechanized visitors. Ramsar site no. 1130.
Tönnersjöheden-Årshultsmyren. 19/11/01; Halland, Kronoberg; 12,300 ha; 56°46'N 013°19'E. Nature Reserves. A large wetland complex with a high diversity of wetland types of several different developmental stages, located in the most humid region of southern Sweden. The site contains peat bogs, small lakes, fens, fen soaks, meandering streams, wetland meadows, wet forests and solid ground islets covered by forest. Forestry, agriculture, and grazing are practiced; two military training areas are present but are subject to conservation-oriented management planning. Ramsar site no. 1131.
Tysjöarna. 19/11/01; Jämtland; 410 ha; 63°14'N 014°36'E. Bird sanctuary. Two lakes surrounded by a diverse area of mires, wetland forests, coniferous forests, mixed forests and meadows. Flora along the shorelines is extremely lime dependent, and lowered water levels have exposed large areas of marl, supporting vegetation with "a certain alpine feel". The first observation in Sweden of the rare moss Bryum wrightii was made here in 1992. The site is considered one of the most species-rich localities for resting and nesting waders and ducks, and it is a well-destination for ornithologists. Ramsar site no. 1132.
Västra Roxen. 19/11/01; Östergötland; 4,170 ha; 58°29'N 015°35'E. Nature Reserves. The western part of Lake Roxen and lower parts of three main rivers, the site consists of freshwater areas and adjacent shore meadows, pastures, and marsh-meadows, large parts of which are well managed by grazing and haymaking. The meadows and reedbeds are very rich in nesting and migratory birds, with more than 260 species observed, and a large number of breeding birds included in the national red list can be found in the site. The presence of groves of large and old oak trees favors a rich insect fauna, and the site fulfils Criteria 8 for its spawning grounds and nursery upon which fish stocks depend. The site contains several Bronze Age graves and remains, and the present open landscape created by haymaking and grazing has probably existed from the Stone Age. It is foreseen that the modernization of agriculture, with a cessation of traditional management of pastureland, might pose a problem in the future. Three birdwatching towers are present and the site is frequently visited. Ramsar site no. 1133.