Sweden has updated the information on 39 Ramsar Sites. Three of the Sites, Östen, Komosse and Stigfjorden, have been extended to align the boundaries with national protected areas, or to include ecologically important habitats.
Information on all Sweden’s Sites can be found at the Ramsar Sites Information Service here.
Östen (Ramsar Site no. 433) has been extended by nearly 50%, to reflect the boundaries of protected areas and to include dry, mostly arable land important for staging birds. Lake Östen is a shallow, eutrophic freshwater lake supporting a rich submerged flora and fringed by reedbeds giving way to grassland. The lake level is subject to considerable natural fluctuations with extensive spring flooding, which helps to free the lake from ice early in the year and creates a relatively large area of wet meadows.
The Site is an important staging area for birds, notably the globally endangered lesser white fronted goose Anser erythropus, the whooper swan Cygnus cygnus and the bean goose Anser fabalis which occur in internationally significant numbers. About half of the wet meadows are grazed by cattle, and provide important breeding grounds for ducks and waders. A project was carried out during 2014 and 2015 to support the management of the wet meadows around Lake Östen.
The boundaries of Komosse (Site no. 1121) have been adjusted to match those of the Nature Reserves leading to an increase of around 200 hectares. As part of the EU LIFE “Life to ad(d)mire” project, measures have been also taken to restore 40 hectares of land affected by ditches for forestry purposes and to regenerate wet meadows and bog woodland in the south-eastern part of the Site.
The project also entailed the clearance of about 40 hectares of raised bog which had been invaded by Pinus shrubs, in order to increase suitable nesting ground for wading birds.
Komosse is one of the most valuable peat bog complexes in north-western Europe. The Site has been largely unaffected by human activities, which contributes to the maintenance of water quality downstream. Komosse is important for plant species dependent on open areas of nutrient-poor bog landscapes, as well as for migrating and nesting birds including the nationally endangered ruff Philomachus pugnax.
Stigfjorden (Site no. 431) has been extended by nearly 400 hectares to include a large area of open waters to the east. Stigfjorden is a large, shallow marine bay fringed by meadows and deciduous forests with many islands. The shallow water in the northern part of the Site holds one of the richest bird colonies of this coast and provides shelter and food for waterbirds.
The area supports an important fishery, while other activities include livestock grazing, boating, and swimming. Continuation of traditional grazing is important for maintaining the ecological character of the meadows.