14 new sites of International Importance in Norway

14 new sites of International Importance in Norway

24 June 2011

Norway designates 14 new Ramsar Sites

The Government of Norway has designated 14 new Wetlands of International Importance. Norway now has 51 sites on the Ramsar List, totaling 838,127 hectares. A full description of these new Ramsar Sites is accessible here. 

Atnsjømyrene.12/11/2010; Folldal and Stor-Elvdal municipalities, Hedmark County and Sør-Fron municipality, Oppland County. 550 ha; 61°55´N 010°02´E; Nature Reserve. Atnsjømyrene is a large mire-complex dominated by flat fens, which also includes pools, ponds and parts of the lake Atnsjøen. Characteristic for the site is the nutrient-poor vegetation. Willow Salix and Birch Betula forests are common vegetation types along watercourses and edges of mires. The mixture of different wetland types makes the site a valuable breeding area for water birds, especially for ducks and waders, including Common Teal Anas crecca, Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula, Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago, and Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus. Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava, Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis and Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus also breed on the large open mires. The mires act as important water reservoirs and offer flood protection during periods of snow melt and heavy precipitation. The site is used for hunting, sports fishing, berry picking and sheep grazing. Ramsar Site no. 1955. Most recent RIS information: 2011.

Bear Island (Bjørnøya).12/11/2010; 298,300 ha (280,500 ha of sea). 74°25’N 019°2’E.  Nature Reserve. An isolated island situated between the Svalbard archipelago and the Norwegian mainland; approx. 250 km from Svalbard and 450 km from the mainland. While the Northern and Western parts are covered with lakes and small ponds, covering 10% of the area of the island, the South and East are dominated by tall mountain formations partly with steep cliffs. High primary production makes this site an important foraging area. 126 different species of birds have been observed on the island, of which 33 breed here, including species listed on the Norwegian (Svalbard) Red List such as Common Guillemot Uria aalge (VU) and Razorbill Alca torda (EN). The seabird colonies in the southern parts of Bjørnøya are among the largest in the Northern Hemisphere. It is estimated that over one million seabirds gather here during the breeding season. The site fulfills the 1% criterion for Black-legged kittiwake Rissa tridactyla with approx. 125,000 breeding pairs. It is also an important resting and foraging site for migrating birds such as Pink-footed geese Anser branchyrhynchus, Barnacle geese Branta leucopsis and Brent geese Branta berniclahrota. The marine area surrounding Bjørnøya is important as nursery ground for e.g. cod, haddock and Greenland halibut. In total there are 24 fish species and most of the Arctic whale and seal species have been observed. Bjørnøya is included in The National Monitoring Programme for Seabirds and there is a weather station of the Meteorological Institute on the island. A Management Plan has been provided to the Secretariat. Ramsar Site no. 1966. Most recent RIS information: 2011.

Evenes wetland system. 12/11/2010; Skånland municipality, Troms County and Evenes municipality, Nordland County. 434 ha; 68°30’N 016°42’E. Nature Reserves. The site includes the sub-sites of Nautå, Sommervatnet, Kjerkvatnet, Tennvatn, Myrvatn. The wetland system is considered to be one of the few naturally rich nutrient systems in the northernmost parts of the world. It mainly includes bogs, lakes, ponds, rivers, forests, agricultural land as well as some coastal habitats. The site supports nationally threatened plant species such as Opposite Stonewort Chara contraria (VU),Sheathed Pondweed Stuckenia (Potamogeton) vaginata (VU), Water Starwort Callitriche hermaphroditica (VU) and Rugged Stonewort Chara rudis (EN). It is also breeding site for Garganey Anas querquedula (EN), Greater Scaup Aythya marila (VU) and Smew Mergus albellus (VU). In addition, it is an important staging, feeding and moulting site for several species of migratory birds. A dense population of the internationally threatened Pearl Mussel Margaritifera margartifera (VU; IUCN Red List) is also found here. The water system delivers drinking water to approximately 3,000 people and the mires are an important carbon reservoir. The area is used for different outdoor activities like hiking, canoeing, bird watching, hunting and sports fishing. Potential threats to the ecosystem include drainage as well as eutrophication and pollution caused by runoff from the surrounding agricultural areas and Evenes Airport. Ramsar Site no. 1949. Most recent RIS information: 2011.

Glomådeltaet.12/11/2010; Rana municipality, Nordland county; 606 ha; 66°25’N 013°56’E. Landscape Protected Area. The site is among the most important and natural deltas in Norway with small lakes, mires, oxbow lakes, channels, newly developing sand islands and river courses. The vegetation in the area is diverse, from sandbanks with pioneer vegetation, sloughs with reed vegetation, wet and flooded alder forests, to deciduous and coniferous forests. There are also smaller areas with agricultural land inside the site. It is an important inland breeding site for waterbirds such as Spotted crake Porzana porzana (EN), Greater scaup Aythya marila (VU) and Water rail Rallus aquaticus (VU), which are listed as threatened on the Norwegian Red List. The site plays a key role for migrating birds, especially as staging area during spring migration. The numerous river branches are particularly important for ducks. The swamps and mires are most important for waders. All in all 150 bird species have been registered. About 20 species of mammals occur in the site, including Eurasian Otter Lutra lutra (VU) and Lynx Lynx lynx (VU). The area has a groundwater recharge function due to the abundance of caves and underground rivers. The site is used for recreation activities such as sports fishing, birdwatching, canoeing and hunting. Ramsar Site no. 1954. Most recent RIS information: 2011.

Hedmarksvidda Wetland System.12/11/2010; Løten, Hamar, Ringsaker and Vang municipalities in Hedmark County. 4,543 ha; 61°2'N 011°7'E. Nature Reserves. Includes the sub-sites of Endelausmyrene, Harasjømyrene, Brumundsjøen and Lavsjømyrene-Målikjølen. The site is a mosaic of different kinds of fens, mires, small pools, ponds and lakes interspersed with ridges of bedrock or moraine on which pine forests dominate. Birch Betula pubescens is also common, especially along watercourses and edges of mires. The Wetland System supports nationally threatened bird species such as Ruff Philomachus pugnax (VU), Common Tern Sterna hirundo (VU) and the Sky Lark Alauda arvensis (VU). The mires play an important role as water reservoirs and in flood protection during periods of snow melt and heavy precipitation. The site is used for hunting, sports fishing, berry picking and sheep grazing. Ramsar Site no. 1951. Most recent RIS information: 2011.

Hopen.12/11/2010; Island in the Svalbard Archipelago; 325,400 ha (4,600 ha land); 76°30’N 25°01’E. Nature Reserve, Important Bird Area. Hopen is an arctic island, mostly covered by rocks and continuous permafrost, with only a very narrow beach from which the landscape rises. In the North of the island there are steep cliffs with horizontal shelves, which are ideal for breeding seabird species. Some of these species are listed on the Norwegian (Svalbard) Red List and include the Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla (EN), which fulfills the 1% criterion with 40,000 breeding pairs. Moreover, Brünnich’s guillemot Uria lomvia (VU; ca. 170,000 birds in breeding season), Black Guillemot Cepphus grille (VU; ca. 1,000 breeding pairs), and Atlantic puffin Fratercula arctica (VU) can be observed here. Other bird species on the island include the Arctic Skua, Great Skua and Purple Sandpiper. Hopen is also an important migration and denning area for polar bears. The South of the island is a traditional resting place for walrus. In terms of flora, the island supports the nationally red-listed Svalbard poppy Papaver dahlianum (VU). Five trapper huts from the 19th century are protected as cultural heritage sites and there is a meteorological station on the island. A Management Plan, implemented in 2007, has been provided to the Secretariat. Ramsar Site no. 1957. Most recent RIS information: 2011.

Målselvutløpet.12/11/2010; Målselv and Lenvik municipalities, Troms County; 1,288 ha. 69˚16’N 018˚31’E. Nature Reserve. Målselvutløpet is an active delta with sandy substrate, shore vegetation and small forested islands, some of which contain inundated birch and willow forest habitats.  The delta is formed at the outlet of river Målselva into the fjord Malangen. Botanically, this site demonstrates the succession of pioneer associations to stable plant communities. The site also fulfills Ramsar criterion 6 as it is visited by more than 1% of the population of Common Merganser Mergus merganser (8,000 individuals). It is moreoverimportant for birds of passage and for several other water bird species. An important stock of Atlantic Salmon Salmo salar, Arctic Char Salvelinus alpinus and Brown Trout Salmo trutta migrate through the site. The area is used for sports fishing and several other types of outdoor recreation. Ramsar Site no. 1956. Most recent RIS information: 2011.

Nordenskiöldkysten. 12/11/2010; Western Svalbard, Central coast of Spitsbergen; 31,750 ha; 77°51’N 013°50’E; National Park, Important Bird Area. The site consists in a coastal plain with many freshwater pools. Ingeborgfjellet, a mountain with steep cliffs harbouring seabird breeding colonies, is situated in the south-eastern part of the site. During the breeding season approximately 55,000 Little Auk Alle alle, 21,600 Brunnich`s Guillemot Uria lomvia and 4,600 pairs of Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla nest here. The site is also an important staging, moulting, feeding and resting area during the migration seasons. Species listed on the Norwegian Red List include the Red Knot Calidris canutus (EN) and the Sanderling Calidris alba (VU). The site supports more than 1% (400 individuals) of the Svalbard population of Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis. The site is also important for mammals like Svalbard reindeer Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus and Arctic Fox Vulpes lagopus and is visited by Polar Bear Ursus maritimus, Harbour Seals Phoca vitulina and Walrus Odobenus rosmarus. Noteworthy flora includes lime-demanding species such as the Purplish Braya Braya glabellassp purpurascens (VU). The site plays an important role in carbon and methane storage due to its level of permafrost of 10-40 m. There is traditional trapping activity in the area, and a trapping station is situated on Akseløya, southeast of the site. Ramsar Site no. 1968. Most recent RIS information: 2011.

Reisautløpet.12/11/2010; Nordreisa municipality, Troms County; 600 ha (500 ha water); 69˚47’ N, 21˚00’ E. Nature Reserve. The site comprises a delta ecosystem which is formed through the discharge of a large sub arctic river into a fjord. This Ramsar Site is composed of large marine tidal areas of mud and sand flats as well as wet coastal meadows along the shore exhibiting subarctic features. Northern and Southern plant communities coexist in this site, some of which are nationally rare such as Slender-leaved Pondweed Potamogeton filiformis puddle and Seaside Arrow Grass Triglochin shore. It is a staging area for migratory birds like Ruff Philomachus pugnax (VU), Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle (VU) as well as Common Merganser Mergus merganser and Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator. It is also a feeding area for ducks and wading birds and important river stocks of Atlantic Salmon Salmo salar, anadromous Arctic Char Salvelinus alpinus and Brown Trout Salmo trutta migrate through the site. Sørkjosen Airport is situated close to this Ramsar site and may affect the site both with noise and runoff. Ramsar Site no. 1958. Most recent RIS information: 2011.

Røstøyan.12/11/2010; Røst municipality, Nordland County; 6,986 ha (6,693 ha of sea); 67°27’N 011°56’E; Landscape Protected Area, Nature Reserve. Røstøyan is a large archipelago with hundreds of islands and islets surrounded by shallow marine waters. Vedøya and Storfjellet are the two largest islands. The site is the most important breeding area for seabirds in Nordland County. Bird cliffs are located on several islands which harbour nationally red-listed breeding populations of Puffin Fratercula arctica (VU) (430,000 breeding pairs; 1% criterion), Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla (EN) (13,000 breeding pairs; 1% criterion), Razorbill Alca torda (VU), and Common Guillemot Uria aalge (CR). On the skerries there are breeding colonies of Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo, Common Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis and Black Guillemot Cepphus grille (VU). The White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla also breeds in the area. The site has a stable population of European Otter Lutra lutra (VU), Common Seal Phoca vitulina (VU), and Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus (LC). It is popular for sports fishing and boat tours. The area has three protected archaeological and cultural heritage sites such as Skomvær lighthouse. A long-term research project led by the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research on seabirds has been ongoing for 40 years. Ramsar Site no. 1950. Most recent RIS information: 2011.

Rott-Håstein-Kjør.12/11/2010; Sola municipality, Rogaland County; 10,722 ha; 58º 55´N 005º28´E. Landscape Protected Area, Nature Reserve. This site is characterised by a large number of small islands, skerries and islets surrounded by shallow marine water. Several islands have shallow ponds and lakes with saltwater influence and the vegetation cover is mostly sparse. The highly diverse marine ecosystems harbour extensive areas of shell sand and kelp Laminaria hyperborean. The site is important as staging, moulting and breeding area for a large number of seabirds, including the highest national population of breeding European Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis with about 4,500 pairs, in addition to moulting Common Eider Somateria mollissima and several nationally red-listed bird species such as Puffin Fratercula arctica (VU), Black guillemot Cepphus grylle (VU) and Common guillemot Uria aalge (CR). Common seal Phoca vitulina and Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus also occur within the site. In terms of flora, the site supports nationally rare herb and lichen species such as Adder’s Tongue Ophioglossum vulgatum, Powdered Ruffle Parmotrema chinense, andFelt LichenDegelia atlantica. Nutrient rich meadows species of flowering plants like Sea Thrift Armeria maritimeand Red CampionSilene dioica have been detected on this site. The site (and adjacent Jæren mainland) is the earliest prehistoric settlement area in Norway (about 10 – 12,000 B.C.) and represents a still actively managed, cultural landscape. The high numbers of islands have a storm protection function for the adjacent sand dune coast of the Ramsar Site “Jæren wetlandsystem”. Ramsar Site no. 1952. Most recent RIS information: 2011.

Sklinna.12/11/2010; Leka municipality, Nord-Trøndelag County; 589 ha (106 ha of land); 65°12’N 10°59’E; Nature Reserve. Sklinna is a small archipelago which consists of several islets and some small islands with rock and stone dominated shores, divided by shallow water. The main island in the archipelago is Heimøya. The archipelago as a whole is an important site for seabirds, especially in early summer when the bird numbers amount to 20-25,000 individuals. The most numerous bird species are Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica (3,500 pairs) (VU), European Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis (3,200 pairs; 1% criterion) and Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo (1,100 pairs; 1% criterion). Furthermore, it is a breeding area for nationally red-listed bird species such as Common Guillemot Uria aalge (CR) and Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla (EN) as well as for wintering seabirds.The site is regularly visited by the Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus and the Common Seal Phoca vitulina. Less frequently the False Killer Whale Pseudorca crassidens and the Otter Lutra lutra (VU) come to this Ramsar Site. In terms of flora, Red Campion Silene dioica is one of the most common species. However, in gull and cormorant colonies the droppings offer nitrous substrate which benefits plants such as Common Scurvy Weed Cochlearia officinalis and Common Sorrel Rumex acetosa. Sklinna has a long history of traditional fishing. Moreover, the site is part of a long-term monitoring and mapping programme for Norwegian seabirds since its establishment as a SEAbird POPulations (SEAPOP) key site in 2007. Ramsar Site no. 1953. Most recent RIS information: 2011.

Sørkapp.12/11/2010; Sørkappøya island, Svalbard; 39,710 ha; 76º34’N 016º40’E; Nature Reserve, National Park. The site includes shallow and nutrient rich sea areas, islands, numerous ponds and lakes, streams, small rivers and further inland ice covered mountain ridges. It is characterised by permafrost and erosion from wind, ice and the sea and mainly covered by spotted grass vegetation. Svalbard Rock Ptarmigan Lagopus muta hyperborea is the only bird species wintering on land. A few bird species like Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis and gulls and auks might occasionally overwinter in areas free of sea ice, but most bird species are migratory. Waders, goose species and seabirds are the dominant groups. Some of these breeding species are listed on the Norwegian (and Svalbard) Red List including Red Knot Calidris canutus (EN) and Sanderling Calidris alba (VU). 19 species of marine mammals can be observed in the area, including Svalbard Reindeer Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus and Arctic Fox Vulpes lagopus, and Polar Bear Ursus maritimus. Permafrost areas and mires represent important carbon reservoirs. There are several cultural heritage sites relating to Russian (17th century) and Norwegian (19th century) wintering including graves, huts and hunting traps. Ramsar Site no. 1965. Most recent RIS information: 2011.

Ulendeltaet.12/11/2010; Lierne municipality, Nord-Trøndelag County; 280 ha; 64°09’N 013° 49’E; Nature Reserve. Ulendeltaet is an undisturbed freshwater delta and includes stretches of a meandering river, marshes, islands, oxbow lakes and pools. Moist spruce and birch forests line the riverbank and vast and well developed Salix scrubs are important breeding areas for different passerines such as the Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava thunbergi, the Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus and Brambling Fringilla montifringilla. The delta as well as Lake Ulen harbour large numbers of Brown Trout Salmo trutta, Arctic Char Salvelinus alpines, Burbot Lota lota and Common MinnowPhoxinus phoxinus. Furthermore, the area has a stable population of beaver Castor fiber and moose Alces alces. The area functions as a sediment trap and is important for nutrient fixing as well as flood reduction. The site is mainly used for fishing and moose hunting, but also for canoe trips and bird watching activities. A National Park Centre is located in the vicinity of the site. Ramsar Site no. 1967. Most recent RIS information: 2011.

Norwegian/Svalbard Red List category classification for threatened species:
VU = vulnerable
EN = endangered
CR = critically endangered


Summaries prepared by Kati Wenzel, Assistant Advisor for Europe.