Protection of Norwegian orchids – a review of achievements and challenges
Norway has a rich and diverse orchid flora consisting of 36 species. Orchids are found throughout the country, but most of the species are confined to calcareous or base-rich substrates. Important orchid-rich types of vegetation include rich pine and spruce forests, rich deciduous forests, open calcareous meadows, rocky outcrops and screes, hay meadows and calcareous mires and fens. Many species are rare, and 17 species and 3 subspecies are red listed. 13 species are generally protected. Both the orchids and their habitats are susceptible to various disturbances such as e.g. building activities, road construction, quarrying, drainage, forestry and changes in agricultural practices (less intense grazing, termination of mowing), which has resulted in the continuation of the previously inhibited succession. Most of the types of habitat mentioned are important conservation sites and thus many orchid occurrences (e.g. of Cypripedium calceolus, Epipogium aphyllum, Epipactis palustris and Ophrys insectifera) are protected by a network of nature reserves designated for these habitats. However, there is an urgent need to secure species with small populations in some of the mire reserves, and succession is also a problem in many of the reserves. Protection of the few existing localities for some species is also needed. A more detailed discussion of the status of the red listed species is presented.
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