Wetlands in Norway

Wetlands are important areas for biodiversity with a rich flora and fauna. Wetlands are areas that are flooded during large parts of the year, or shallow lakes of maximum six meters of depth.

Norway has several both big and small wetlands rich in nutrients that are important habitats for waders, nesting birds, as well as other animals, plants and insects. Wetlands are particularly crucial as rest areas for different species of migratory birds, important for regaining strength before migrating further south or north. These areas might also be important breeding areas during the summer and wintering areas.

On the Norwegian list of protected wetland areas, we find shallow fjords, salt marshes, high mountain marshes and river deltas in fresh and salt water. Larger wetland areas that include separate but connected wetlands are often called a wetland system.

Challenges for this land type

Despite their importance for animal and plant life, many wetland types are amongst the most threatened nature types, and the occurrence of the most species rich wetland areas are decreasing. In Norway, Palsas (in areas of discontinuous permafrost) are melting and deltas are used for industry.

Bogs are drained and used for agricultural purposes, while pristine estuaries hardly exist anymore. Wetland areas that are close to cultivated land are often receiving nutrient-rich runoff that can lead to eutrophication that leads to increased plant production and unwanted overgrowth.

What citizens can do

Increased awareness of the importance of wetlands for biodiversity has led to a desire to preserve this threatened landscape type. The most important factor for a well-functioning wetland area is to maintain the site's hydrology and prevent eutrophication.

In most cases, ensuring natural process and preventing degradation is the best measure to conserve wetlands, while disturbing it as little as possible.