Norway names 12 new sites

Norway names 12 new sites

13 July 2013

Norway, the Ramsar Convention's third Contracting Party, has designated 12 new Wetlands of International Importance, effective 27 May, mostly island and coastal wetlands in the northern half of the country and most of them particularly important for their values for migrating seabirds. Since July 1974, the government of Norway has listed 63 Ramsar Sites, covering nearly 888,000 hectares. The following site summary descriptions have been prepared, based on the Ramsar Information Sheets, by Ramsar's Laura Máiz-Tomé.

Anda. 27/05/2013; Nordland; 53 ha; 69°04’N 015°10’E. Nature Reserve, Important Bird Area. A small rocky island situated on the underwater plateau in the northward extension of Øksnes peninsula. At higher altitudes the island is covered by a thin layer of peat and guano spread by seabirds, thus creating favourable conditions for vegetation growth. The site constitutes one of the few bird mountains for pelagic seabirds in Norway, and it is an important breeding ground for Atlantic puffin Fratercula arctica, Black-legged kittiwake Rissa tridactyla and Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle. These bird colonies feed on local populations of Lesser Sand Eel Ammodytes marinus in the Andfjorden fjord. Within the nature reserve, collecting eggs from some gull species such as Larus argentatus, Larus marinus and Larus canus is permitted. During the nesting season the island is closed to tourism. Potential threats to the site’s ecological character are overfishing and invasive species such as mink. Ramsar site no. 2155. Most recent RIS information: 2013.

Fiskumvannet Nature Reserve. 27/05/2013. Buskerud; 119 ha; 59°42’30”N 009°49’11”E. Nature Reserve. Fiskumvannet is a representative agricultural landscape lake below sea level, the western part of which, with the adjacent land areas, is protected as a nature reserve. The vegetation belt and swamp areas constitute excellent breeding sites for a number of vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered species listed on the Norwegian Red List (2010), such as Garganey Anas querquedula, Greater Scaup Aythya marila, and Smew Mergellus albellus. More than 1 % of the Svalbard population of Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus rests regularly at the site during migration. The main hydrological values of the site are sediment trapping and shoreline stabilization. Throughout the years, cessation of mowing and grazing in combination with ditching and fertilization from the surrounding areas has resulted in high water eutrophication and vegetational succession. The site is used for bird watching tourism, environmental education, and transport. The management plan for the nature reserve has been updated in 2009. Ramsar Site no. 2156. Most recent RIS information: 2013.

Grunnfjorden. 27/05/2013; Nordland; 1,472 ha; 68°57’N 015°12’E. Nature Reserve. A complex of large mires dominated by Sphagnum spp with small rivers, pools and lakes, shallow beach areas with islets, skerries, large intertidal flats and a lagoon system with brackish water. Along the shoreline are different vegetation communities from grass-rich slopes to mudflats. Some of the small ponds have belts of Water Horsetail Equisetum fluviatile and Bottle Sedge Carex rostrata. On the extensive shallow water areas there are large meadows of eelgrass Zostera spp. Because of the high food production combined with its location in key migration routes of waterbirds, the site is an internationally important area for many species during spring and autumn migration, and nationally threatened species as Atlantic Puffin Fratecula arctica, Greater Scaup Aythya marila and Ruff Philomachus pugnax breed in the site. The site is also important for shoreline stabilization. Archeological/historical features are registered in the area. Main human activities within the site are agriculture, cattle grazing, fishing, hunting, tourism, and cloudberries gathering. Most of these habitat types have been cultivated or damaged by draining. Ramsar Site no. 2147. Most recent RIS information: 2013.

Horsvær. 27/05/2013; Nordland; 17,036 ha; 65°19’N 011°37’E. Nature Reserve, Bird Protection Areas. A representative North-European coast marine archipelago formed by 360 islands and islets with shallow marine waters, providing an important breeding location for large numbers of seabirds and waterfowls. The site supports such nationally endangered and vulnerable species as Common Tern Sterna hirundo, Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle, and Common Guillemot Uria aalge, and there are also five colonies of Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo and a large breeding population of European Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis. Other species that regularly use the site are the Eurasian Otter Lutra lutra and the Harbor seal Phoca Vitulina. On the main islands the vegetation has been shaped by traditional grazing activities and harvesting grounds, and the ceasing of these activities is very likely to trigger vegetational succession. Recreation, tourism and egg collection are some of the main human activities within the site. Ramsar site no. 2157. Most recent RIS information: 2013.

Horta. 27/05/2013; Nord-Trøndelag; 3,158 ha; 65°12’N 011°28’E. Nature Reserve, Bird Protection Area. A small marine archipelago ca. 11 km northwest of Leka Island, consisting consists of small islands, long fjords, skerries and islets with shallow marine waters in the coastal zone. The landscape is dominated by remnant infield areas, narrow mires, bogs, coastal heathlands, and islets with vegetation influenced by natural seabird fertilization. The site is an important breeding area for vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered species such as Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle and Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea. Moreover, it also contains stable populations of Eurasian Otter Lutra lutra, Common Seal Phoca vitulina, Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica, and Common Guillemot Uria aalge. More rarely the False Killer Whale Pseudorca crassidens visits the archipelago. The vegetation has been shaped through many years of grazing and harvesting. The site is currently used by scientists for seabird monitoring and geological research and as a vacation site for private landowners. Fishing activities take place in the surrounding areas. Ramsar Site no. 2158. Most recent RIS information: 2013.

Innherred Freshwater System. 27/05/2013; Nord-Trøndelag; 182 ha; 63°49'N 011°37'E. Nature Reserves, Bird Protection Area. The site comprises three rich and productive subsites, Hammervatnet, Lundselvoset and Lyngås-Lysgård, characterized by shallow freshwater areas, inland deltas and lakes. These sites are important for several nationally red-listed species like Ruff Philomachus pugnax, Common Tern Sterna hirundo, Otter Lutra lutra and Eel Anguilla Anguilla. During spring and autumn migrations more than 1,000 individuals of Pink-footed Geese Anser brachyrhynchus use the subsite Lyngås-Lysgård, and up to 3,000 individuals use the subsite Lundselvoset. Moreover, the complex plays an important role for flood mitigation and water supply. Within the nature reserves human activities are controlled by detailed regulations specific for each protected area. The main activities within the site are cattle grazing, fishing and bird watching tourism. The main threat to the ecological character derives from eutrophication caused by agricultural activities. Ramsar Site no. 2159. Most recent RIS information: 2013.

Laukvikøyene. 27/05/2013; Nordland; 1,084 ha; 68°21'N 014°23'E. Nature Reserve. The site represents a diverse wetland area on the west coast of Lofoten, the southwestern part of which contains large areas of permanent shallow marine waters with Zostera marina, intertidal flats, islands and islets. The northeast part of the site belongs to the main island Austvågøya and contains extended areas of mires and freshwater ponds. The site is internationally important for conservation of both flora and fauna. Many seabirds and waterfowls as Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle, Ruff Philomachus pugnax, Velvet Scoter Melanitta fusca and Northern Pintail Anas acuta breed in Laukvikøyene and use the site for resting during migration. There are large areas of sublittoral vegetation with different types of representative flora. The area is occasionally visited by birdwatchers and traditionally used by local residents for collecting seabird eggs. Potential factors adversely affecting the site are overgrazing and bird disturbance caused by a quarry situated close to the border of the Nature Reserve. Ramsar site no. 2160. Most recent RIS information: 2013.

Lovunda/Lundeura. 27/05/2013; Nordland; 153 ha; 66°21’N 012°19’E. Nature Reserve, Important Bird Area (IBA). The site consists of shallow marine waters, rocky shores and marine subtidal aquatic beds covering approximately ¼ of the Lovund Island and also the Alkøya Island. Lundeura is a scree mountain with large boulders unique due its location close to the birds’ feeding grounds and its steep topography providing the necessary protection for nesting. The site is internationally important for the seabird populations in the North Atlantic Ocean. Large colonies of nationally endangered and vulnerable bird species such as Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica, Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla, Common Tern Sterna hirundo and Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle breed in the site. The birds foraging in the ocean bring nutrients to the bird cliffs and surrounding area by the spreading of guano, which provides nutrient-rich growing conditions generating the diverse vegetation on the island. Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus and Otter Lutra lutra are occasionally observed. The main land use within the site consists of grazing, and there is a fishing village Lovund with 3-400 inhabitants. Locals use the ocean outside the nature reserve for fishing and aquaculture. Ramsar Site no. 2061. Most recent RIS Information: 2013.

Måstadfjellet. 27/05/2013;. Nordland; 802 ha; 67°38’N 012°34’E. Protected Landscape, Nature Reserve. An important breeding site for pelagic seabirds situated on the southern part of Værøy Island between Lofotodden peninsula and Røst Island. The site supports large colonies of nationally red-listed species such as Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica and Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla. The western part of the Måstadfjellet is a steep area from the sea up to a relatively flat mountain plateau at 400m covered by rich vegetation as a result of the large colonies of sea birds which bring nutrients to the cliffs and surrounding area. The site also contains a characteristic system of sand dunes with unique botanical values. Harbour seal Phoca vitulina and Otter Lutra lutra occasionally use the site. Collection of eggs and down from some species is permitted by the regulations within the protected landscape area but forbidden within the nature reserve. Ramsar Site no. 2162. Most recent RIS information: 2013.

Risøysundet. 27/05/2013; Nordland; 504 ha; 68°59’N 015°40’E. Nature Reserve. The site consists of shallow marine areas within a complex of flat grassy islets, lagoons and brackish swamps, supporting communities of Zostera, Potamogeton and Salicornia. In the west there is a 15ha lake surrounded by a large beach meadow complex. There are also exposed bays, isolated freshwater ponds, sheltered salt marshes and exposed seaweed meadows important for shoreline stabilization. The site supports one of the few, intact larger mud flats/sand flats in northern Norway. The area contains a broad range of regionally rare species of sublittoral vegetation. The reserve is an internationally important breeding site for such waterbirds as Merganser Mergus serrator, Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis, and Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula which depend upon the high biological production of this wetland for feeding and resting during migration. The site also regularly supports a stable population of European Otter Lutra lutra. Archaeological/historical features are registered in the area. The main land use is dedicated to grazing, tourism, fishing and birdwatching. Ramsar Site no. 2163. Most recent RIS information: 2013.

Runde. 27/05/2013; Møre og Romsdal; 1,351 ha; 62°24'N 005°40'E. Nature Reserve, Bird Protection Areas, Important Bird Area (IBA). Runde is an island on the northwest coast of Norway that includes four bird protection areas and one nature reserve supporting nationally endangered bird species such as Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla and Common Guillemot Uria aalge. Cliff-nesting birds dominate the wildlife on the island, and Runde regularly supports more than 120,000 breeding pairs. The vegetation on the hillsides and the plateau of the island is dominated by open heathland, small freshwater ponds, and grassland, as well as mires that are very important for carbon storage. There are no humans living inside the protected areas, but the area is used for tourism, sheep grazing, scientific research, and seabird monitoring projects as SEAPOP ( Ramsar Site no. 2164. Most recent RIS information: 2013.

West-Vikna archipelago. 27/05/2013; Nord-Trøndelag; 13,592 ha; 64°58’34”N 010°49’40”E. Nature Reserves, Animal Protected Areas. An archipelago of several larger islands and numerous islets in shallow marine waters. The landscape has a mosaic pattern including rocky shores, narrow mires/bogs, and sparse vegetation influenced by seabird guano. Some of the islands are covered by a nationally endangered heathland mosaic with bogs and ponds. The large mires constitute important water reservoirs during dry periods and play an important role for flood control during periods of heavy precipitation. The wetland supports breeding, staging and wintering populations of many nationally threatened species such as Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle, Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica, and Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla. The islets hold populations of Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus and Harbour Seal Phoca vitulina. More rarely, False Killer Whale Pseudorca crassidens, and Eurasian Otter Lutra lutra visit the archipelago. European Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus is common on some of the islands. Land use within the site includes fishing, agriculture, grazing and collection of eggs. Ramsar site no. 2165. Most recent RIS information: 2013.