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Target Species - Species of European concern
2 Alterra-report 1119
Commissioned by Sander van Opstal (Senior Policy Advisor Ecosystems and
the Environment; Expertise Centre of the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture,
Nature and Food quality)
Cover photo’s: Danube Crested Newt: B.I. Timofeev (© Pensoft Publishers),
European Bison: G. Pohl, Isoplexis canariensis: J.H.J. Schaminйe
Target species – Species of European concern
A database driven selection of plant and animal species for the
implementation of the Pan European Ecological Network
Editors:
W.A. Ozinga
J.H.J. Schaminйe
Authors:
W.A. Ozinga
M. de Heer
S.M. Hennekens
A.J.F.M. van Opstal
J.H.J. Schaminйe
H. Sierdsema
N.A.C. Smits
A.H.P. Stumpel
Ch. van Swaay
Alterra-report 1119
Alterra, Wageningen, 2005
4 Alterra-report 1119
ABSTRACT
Ozinga, W.A. & Schaminйe, J.H.J. (eds.). 2005. Target species – Species of European concern.
A database driven selection of plant and animal species for the implementation of the Pan European
Ecological Network. Wageningen, Alterra, Alterra-report 1119. 193 pages; 30 figs.; 18
tables; 134 refs.
The concept of ecological networks is becoming increasingly important in both
policies and practices of nature conservation throughout Europe. The establishment
of the Pan Ecological European Network (PEEN) can be seen as one of the priority
issues for nature conservation. For the establishment of such networks, it is essential
to have adequate information on the threat status and distribution of plant and animal
species throughout Europe. As there are thousands of plant and animal species, it is
necessary to make a selection of species that are considered to be of specific
conservation concern, so-called ‘target species’. In this report the concept of target
species is developed, on the basis of a common set of criteria (legal protection, threat
status and degree of endemism). A database has been developed which includes
complete species lists for Europe for the following groups of organisms: vascular
plants, vertebrates (freshwater fishes, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals) and
butterflies. Based on the three criteria a provisional selection of target species has been
carried out.
Keywords: Target species, Birds Directive, Habitats Directive, Natura 2000, IUCN
Red List, Endemic species, Pan European Ecological Network
ISSN 1566-7197
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Please refer to Alterra-report 1119. This amount is including tax (where applicable) and
handling costs.
© 2005 Alterra
P.O. Box 47; 6700 AA Wageningen; The Netherlands
Phone: + 31 317 474700; fax: +31 317 419000; e-mail: info.alterra@wur.nl
No part of this publication may be reproduced or published in any form or by any means, or stored
in a database or retrieval system without the written permission of Alterra.
Alterra assumes no liability for any losses resulting from the use of the research results or
recommendations in this report.
[Alterra-report 1119/February/2005]
Alterra-report 1119 5
Contents
Preface 7
Summary 9
1 Introduction 11
1.1 The Pan European Ecological Network 11
1.2 Target species 12
1.3 Scope of the report 14
2 Methods 15
2.1 Geographical delimitation of Europe 15
2.2 Criteria for target species 16
2.3 Legal protection 17
2.3.1 Bonn Convention on Migratory Species 19
2.3.2 Bern Convention 21
2.3.3 Birds Directive 22
2.3.4 Habitats Directive 23
2.4Threat 24
2.5 Geographical distribution 27
2.6 Data-sources and data-processing 28
2.6.1 Vascular plants 28
2.6.2 Butterflies 31
2.6.3 Freshwater fishes 33
2.6.4 Amphibians 34
2.6.5Reptiles 36
2.6.6Birds 38
2.6.7Mammals 41
2.7 Taxonomic notes 42
2.8 Database structure 43
3 Results 47
3.1Plants 47
3.1.1 Vascular plants 47
3.2Animals 51
3.2.1 Butterflies 51
3.2.2 Freshwater fishes 53
3.2.3 Amphibians 56
3.2.4Reptiles 61
3.2.5Birds 64
3.2.6Mammals 69
4 Discussion and prospects 73
4.1 Comparisons across taxonomic groups 73
4.2 Extensions to the target species database 76
6 Alterra-report 1119
4.3 Implementation of the database in ecological information systems 81
4.4 Incorporating target species in European and national nature policies 84
References 87
Appendix 1 : Vascular plants 101
Appendix 2 : Butterflies 168
Appendix 3 : Freshwater fishes 170
Appendix 4 : Amphibians 176
Appendix 5 : Reptiles 178
Appendix 6 : Birds 180
Appendix 7 : Mammals 186
Alterra-report 1119 7
Preface
The ecological network model has been under development in Europe as
a practical conservation tool for more than a decade. The concept of
ecological networks is gradually becoming more and more important in
both international policies and practices of nature conservation. In this
respect, the establishment of the Pan Ecological European Network
(PEEN) can be seen as one of the priority issues for nature conservation.
For the establishment of the ecological network, it is essential to have
adequate information on the status and distribution of plant and animal
species throughout Europe. As there are thousands of plant and animal
species, it is necessary to make a selection of species that are considered
to be of specific importance, so-called ‘target species’. In this report the
concept of target species is further developed, on the basis of a common
set of criteria: legal protection, threat and distribution.
In 2000, a pilot study was carried out for a limited area and a limited set
of species to research the attainability of a more comprehensive survey
on the wider European scale. This pilot study concentrated on vascular
plant species of Northern Europe, and resulted in the publication
‘Endemic and characteristic plant species in Europe – Northern Europe’
(Van Opstal et al. 2000). In the present study, target species are
determined for vascular plants, vertebrates (freshwater fishes, reptiles,
amphibians, birds, and mammals) and butterflies.
The report is intended to be a contribution to the realisation of the Pan
European Ecological Network. It is compiled with the help of many
persons and institutions, including Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
(UK), Euro+Med PlantBase (University of Reading, UK), Dutch
Butterfly Conservation (Wageningen, the Netherlands), Societas
Europaea Mammalogica (Paris, France), Musйum National d’Histoire
Naturelle (MNHN, Paris, France), SOVON (Beek-Ubbergen, the
Netherlands), RIVO (IJmuiden, the Netherlands) and English Nature
(Peterborough, UK). We would like to express our special thanks to Jan-
Willem Sneep and Sander van Opstal (Dutch Ministry of Agriculture,
Nature and Food quality), Tony Mitchell-Jones (English Nature), Patrick
Haffner (Musйum National d"Histoire Naturelle), Caroline Pollock
(IUCN, SSC Red List Programme, UK), Harriet Gillett (UNEP World
8 Alterra-report 1119
Conservation Monitoring Centre, UK), Joep de Leeuw (RIVO),
Lodewijk van Duuren (CBS), Sander Mьcher (Alterra), Irene Bouwma
(Alterra), and the following members of the Scientific Steering
Committee of SynBioSys Europe: Erwin Bergmeier, Udo Bohn, Milan
Chytrэ, Nikolai Ermakov, Rense Haveman, Mark Hill, Stephen Jury,
Sandro Pignatti and John Rodwell.
Wim Ozinga, Stephan Hennekens, Joop Schaminйe & Nina Smits,
Wageningen, February 2005
Alterra-report 1119 9
Summary
The concept of ecological networks is becoming increasingly important
in both policies and practices of nature conservation throughout Europe.
The establishment of the Pan Ecological European Network (PEEN)
can be seen as one of the priority issues for nature conservation. For the
establishment of such networks, it is essential to have adequate
information on the status and distribution of plant and animal species
throughout Europe. Conservation priorities must be developed in such a
way that limited resources can be directed towards those species most in
need of conservation efforts. As there are thousands of plant and animal
species, it is necessary to make a selection of species that are considered
to be of specific importance, so-called ‘target species’. In this report the
concept of target species is further developed, on the basis of a common
set of criteria, and a provisional selection has been carried out.
Target species are defined as species of European importance, which
fulfil at least one of the following criteria:
• Legal protection: Listing of species in international conventions (species
for which European legislation imposes to its contracting parties
specific measures);
• Threat: Listing on IUCN Red lists (species whose survival in the near
future is threatened on a global level, based on a combination of two
criteria: rarity and trend);
• Geographical distribution (endemism): European endemics (species for
which the global distribution is restricted to Europe or that are highly
characteristic for Europe).
Within the present project a database has been developed which includes
complete species lists for Europe for the following groups of organisms:
vascular plants, vertebrates (freshwater fishes, reptiles, amphibians, birds
and mammals) and butterflies. For each species information is given on
degree of endemism for Europe, legal status and threat status. Both
single and multiple criteria can be used for the selection of target species.
This makes it possible to derive user-defined, objective lists of target
species.
10 Alterra-report 1119
The highest proportions of target species occur in the Southern parts of
Europe. Especially the Mediterranean Islands and the Iberian, Italian and
Balkan Peninsulas are very rich in target species. It appears that the
species priority lists of the legal documents do not cover all species that
are globally threatened (and therefore are in need of protection). With
the exception of birds (5 %) and amphibians (11 %) these ‘legal gaps’
encompass at least 40 %. In other words: there are many species for
which Europe has a special responsibility, that are not on any European
legal priority list. Especially species occurring in Eastern Europe are
under-represented in the legal documents.
For the linkage of the resulting lists of target species to other PEEN
initiatives, the information system SynBioSys Europe is suggested as a
platform.
Alterra-report 1119 11
1 Introduction
1.1 The Pan European Ecological Network
It is increasingly acknowledged that endangered species cannot be
conserved by the establishment of isolated nature reserves alone. In
principle the successful conservation of areas with important populations
of endangered species, may result in an increase in mean population
density in the short term. However, these high densities will only be
temporary if the core populations are dependent on periodic
immigrations from populations in the surroundings that have gone
extinct. This emphases the need for an international approach in policies
and practices of nature conservation, rather than a site-by-site approach.
The Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive have given species policy
a clear European dimension. A major instrument for preventing
population decline by these directives is the establishment of a series of
protected nature areas. At the same time in Europe, the concept of
ecological networks is gradually becoming more and more important in
both policies and practices of nature conservation. Although the primary
aim of the resulting set of nature reserves is to safeguard threatened
species and habitats instead of forming a coherent network, the selected
sites ultimately may function as such. In this respect, the establishment
of the Pan European Ecological Network (PEEN), a tool of the Pan
European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy (PEBLDS), can
be seen as one of the priority issues for nature conservation in Europe
(Council of Europe, UNEP & ECNC 1996).
The Pan European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy
(PEBLDS) is an initiative of the Council of Europe at the Sofia
Conference of 55 European Ministers for Nature and the Environment
in 1995. In order to implement the diversity strategy, a list of policy
recommendations including financial mechanisms has been formulated.
PEBLDS focuses on the conservation of landscapes, habitats, and
species of European importance, including their genetic diversity. The
strategy addresses all biological and landscape initiatives under one
European approach. It reinforces the implementation of existing
measures and identifies additional actions that need to be taken over the
next two decades. PEBLDS also provides a framework to promote a
12 Alterra-report 1119
consistent approach and common objectives for national and regional
actions to implement the Convention on Biological Diversity. The
above-mentioned Pan European Ecological Network (PEEN) has the
following objectives (after Bennett 1994 and Council of Europe 2000):
• To maintain characteristic natural and semi-natural ecosystems;
• To maintain viable populations of species of European importance;
• To maintain the ecological processes on which these ecosystems and
species depend;
• To restore in a sufficient degree these ecosystems and processes.
Regions of Europe with high species richness and with high
concentrations of threatened species (‘biodiversity hotspots’ cf. Myers et
al. 2000, Conservation International) may form an important fundament
for the establishment of the Pan European Ecological Network. For the
identification of ‘Important Species Areas’ in Europe, information on
the distribution of endangered species of ‘European conservation
concern’ may play a key role, in contributing to the identification and
establishment of the aimed coherent systems of core-areas. Recently,
several initiatives have been set up to identify the most important
(prime) areas in Europe for various groups of target species (see chapter
4.4).
1.2 Target species
While the conservation of ecosystems is essential to preserve
environmental, ecological and evolutionary processes, species can be
regarded as the natural unit to form the basis for conservation policy and
management (Mace 2004). Although management at the ecosystem level
is necessary, it is probably not sufficient for the conservation of
biodiversity. Management at the ecosystem level might serve many of the
composing species, but since the species may differ fundamentally in
their optimal habitat requirements the fit is often far from perfect (e.g.
Kremen et al. 2000). The species level is therefore suitable as the
fundamental unit for the development of a Pan European Ecological
Network (PEEN).
For the establishment of the Pan European Ecological Network
(PEEN), it is essential to have adequate information on the status and
Alterra-report 1119 13
distribution of plant and animal species throughout Europe.
Conservation priorities must be developed in such a way that limited
resources can be directed towards those species most in need of
conservation efforts. As there are thousands of plant and animal species,
it is necessary to make a selection of species that are considered to be of
specific importance, so-called ‘target species’.
Within the framework of the Pan European Biological and Landscape
Diversity Strategy (PEBLDS), particular attention is paid to
characteristic, threatened and endangered species, bearing in mind the
intercontinental setting (Council of Europe, UNEP & ECNC 1996).
However, there is currently no Pan European overview of species of
European concern. In order to make the Pan European Ecological
Network operational there is an urgent need for the compilation of such
a list of ‘target-species’ for which the network should be designed. In this
report the concept of target species is further developed, on the basis of
a common set of criteria, and a provisional selection has been carried
out.
Thousands of plant species and animal species occur in Europe only.
These endemic species can be considered as Europe’s specific
contribution to global biodiversity. Following the IUCN Red Data
Books, hundreds of these European species are threatened. These
species merit special nature conservation efforts in Europe. However,
only several hundreds of species (not covering all species that are
threatened according to IUCN-criteria) are protected under European
regulations.
For political and practical reasons, it is impossible to give all endemic
and all threatened species legal protection. The target species concept
provides a practical tool to overcome part of these problems, although
actual all threatened species deserve appropriate nature conservation
measures.
Target species are defined as species of European importance, and are
delimited in this project as species of European importance, which fulfil
at least one of the following criteria:
• Legal protection: European legislation imposes to its contracting
parties specific measures;
14 Alterra-report 1119
• Threat: Survival in the near future is threatened on a global level;
• Geographical distribution (endemism): global distribution is restricted
to Europe or highly characteristic for Europe.
The target species approach provides an important ‘bridge’ to European
legislation and the National Red Lists of threatened species. Target
species can be a valuable tool:
• To present the specific conservational value of each species in a
standardised and reliable way, using explicit criteria;
• To identify and promote awareness of the most important species in
Europe for species conservation;
• To the identification of the Key Biodiversity Areas and ecological
networks (indicator function);
• To help direct conservation activity and available funding towards
these species and their sites;
• To provide a tool for planning and management, at practical and
political levels, through the presentation of key information on
species, sites, land uses, threats, legal protection and conservation
status.
1.3 Scope of the report
Within the current project a database has been developed which includes
complete species lists for Europe for the following groups of organisms:
vascular plants, vertebrates (freshwater fishes, reptiles, amphibians, birds
and mammals) and butterflies. For each species information is given on
degree of endemism for Europe, legal status and threat status. Both
single and multiple criteria can be used for the selection of target species.
This makes it possible to derive user-defined, objective lists of target
species.
Alterra-report 1119 15
2 Methods
2.1 Geographical delimitation of Europe
The covered area of Europe in principle reflects the present
administrative borders of Europe, including European Turkey and
Cyprus (see Figure 1). For some taxonomic groups of species also
Asiatic Turkey, Macaronesia (Azores, Canary Islands, Madeira Islands,
but excluding Cape Verdian Islands) is taken into account. The eastborder
of Europe in Russia is situated from the south of Novaya
Zemlya, along the Ural Mountains to the Caspian Sea. This east-border
follows the delimitation of Europe according to Flora Europaea (Tutin
et al. 1964-1980). However, for certain taxonomic groups, the data are
geographically incomplete. Flora Europaea, for instance, is not covering
Cyprus, whereas the distribution data on amphibians and reptiles are
truly pan European, including the whole of Turkey. For this reason, in
the explanatory text of the databases of the individual taxonomic groups,
the geographical coverage is always specified.
Figure 1 Geographical delimitation of Europe within the scope of the current project.
16 Alterra-report 1119
2.2 Criteria for target species
Target species are defined in this report as species of European importance,
which fulfil at least one of the following criteria:
• Legal protection: Listing of species in international conventions (species
for which European legislation imposes to its contracting parties
specific measures);
• Threat: Listing on IUCN Red lists (species whose survival in the near
future is threatened on a global level, based on a combination of two
criteria: rarity and trend);
• Geographical distribution (endemism): European endemics (species for
which the global distribution is restricted to Europe or that are highly
characteristic for Europe).
Various existing international instruments already provide the
identification and conservation of species of European or global
significance. These include the Bern Convention (Emerald Network), the
Bonn Convention, and the European Union Habitats and Birds
Directive (Natura 2000). These instruments provide the legal basis for
the conservation of target species and valuable sites across Europe. The
physical realisation of PEEN should be based on existing initiatives and
European directives.
The species lists from the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive are
intended to set conservation priorities, whereas the IUCN Red Lists are
intended to estimate the risk of extinction of species. In fact, the threat
status is derived from a combination of two criteria: rarity and trend (see
§ 2.4). For the selection of species of European importance, IUCN Red
Lists deliver a sound starting point, although the discussion on its scope
and application is still going on. The IUCN Red Lists should feed into
any priority setting system, but these lists should not be used as the sole
determinants (De Iongh et al. 2003). For the setting of conservation
priorities, other factors should also be considered, including the
conservation status of species, the degree to which species function as
keystone species within ecosystems, and the degree to which species may
serve as flagship species for other threatened species and ecosystems.
Alterra-report 1119 17
The three criteria will be discussed in more detail further on in this
chapter. For some species groups there exist already selections for ‘target
species’. For birds and butterflies various categories for species of
European conservation concern (SPECs) have been defined already (see
Tucker & Heath 1994 and BirdLife International 2004 for birds and Van
Swaay & Warren 1999 for butterflies). For more information on these
SPEC categories we refer to the sections about these respective groups.
Figure 2: Target species can be assigned according to three criteria: 1) Legal
protection: listing of species in international conventions; 2) Threat status: listing on
IUCN Red lists, 3) Geographical distribution (degree of endemism): species for which
the geographical distribution is restricted to Europe. Depending on the user-defined
combination of criteria, various lists of target species can be selected from the database.
2.3 Legal protection
During the last decades, a set of international conventions and treaties
has come into effect for the protection of threatened species in Europe.
The most notable are the Convention on the conservation of European
wildlife and natural habitats (usually referred to as the Convention of
Bern), the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild
Animals (usually referred to as the Convention of Bonn), both set up in
18 Alterra-report 1119
1979, the EU Birds Directive (1979, implemented in 1981) and the EU
Habitats Directive (1992, implemented in 1994). The implementation of
these instruments, and particularly the establishment of Natura 2000
under the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive (European Union),
and the Emerald Network under the Bern Convention (wider
European), is of vital importance in the development of the Pan
European Ecological Network (PEEN), since these instruments provide
the conservation of many valuable sites across Europe. The physical
realisation of PEEN should be based on existing initiatives and
European directives.
For the selection of target species, the listings of species on the
appendices of the treaties and conventions are of particular importance,
since the conservation of these species has the strongest legal basis. The
status of species on the various appendices with species listings is
included in the database. These species listings are intended to set
conservation priorities.
Although there is a certain overlap between the various existing
international instruments, there are important differences in scope, legal
basis, and geographical delimitation (see Table 1). Only within PEEN,
Natura 2000 (Birds Directive and Habitats Directive) and the Emerald
Network (Bern Convention), a wide scope of ecosystems is covered.
Both Natura 2000 and PEEN aim at a vast network of nature areas, but
Natura 2000 is geographically more limited, as it covers only the EU
member states. The Emerald network should be the complementary part
of the Natura 2000 network in the Bern-signing countries outside the
EU. Most of the instruments aim only at core areas. Only the Pan
European Ecological Network concentrates on both core areas,
corridors and bufferzones, and gives the possibility for naturedevelopment
areas.
With regards to the possibilities for the creation of an adequate
functioning ecological network, PEEN seems to deliver the best
possibilities. From a legal point of view the Natura 2000 network and the
Emerald Network have the strongest basis (Van Opstal 2001). The
Natura 2000 and the Emerald Network are therefore the two principal
European instruments to realize the basic structure of PEEN in practice.
Alterra-report 1119 19
Table 1: Overview of characteristics of the most relevant international nature
conservation instruments (after Van Opstal 2001).
Name of
international
instrument
Name of
ecological
network
Character Scope Geographical
delimitation
Legal basis
Convention on
Wetlands (1971)
- International wetlands including
natural, semi-natural
and artificial waters
Global Legally binding
for contracting
parties
Bonn Convention - International migratory species
and important
habitats of these
species
Global Legally binding
for contracting
parties
Bern Convention
(1979)
Emerald
Network
Council of
Europe
natural habitats and
wild fauna and flora.
Europe Recommendation
of the standing
committee of the
Bern convention
Biogenetic reserves
(1976)
- Council of
Europe
natural or nearnatural
ecosystems
Europe Ministerial
resolutions
Pan European
Biological and
Landscape
Diversity Strategy
(PEBLDS, 1995)
Pan
European
Ecological
Network
(PEEN)
Council of
Europe & UNEP
natural and seminatural
ecosystems,
habitats , species and
landscapes that are
of European
importance
Europe Strategy
E.U. Birds Directive
(1979)
Natura 2000 European
Commission
all species of
naturally occurring
birds in Europe
European
Union
territory
Legally binding
for EU member
States
E.U. Habitats
Directive (1992)
Natura 2000 European
Commission
(semi-) natural
habitats and wild
fauna and flora
European
Union
territory
Legally binding
for EU member
States
Helsinki Convention
(1974, 1992)
- Helsinki
Commission:
International
convention
natural coastal and
marine habitats and
biological diversity;
ecological processes
Baltic Sea
region
Legally binding
for contracting
parties
Barcelona
Convention
(1976/1995) and
Geneva/Barcelona
Protocol
(1982/1995)
- UN: nternational
convention
representative and/or
endangered
ecosystems of
adequate size to
maintain their
biodiversity
Mediterranea
n region
Legally binding
for contracting
parties
2.3.1 Bonn Convention on Migratory Species
The Bonn Convention on Migratory Species aims to conserve terrestrial,
marine and avian migratory fauna throughout their range. The need for
countries to co-operate in the conservation of animals that migrate
across national boundaries was recognized in a recommendation of the
1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, held in
Stockholm. This statement gave way to the elaboration of the
convention which came into force in November 1983. Since then its
membership has grown steadily, and now includes 86 contracting parties
from five geographic regions (see Fig. 3). The Bonn Convention is an
example of an intergovernmental treaty concerned with the conservation
of wildlife and wildlife habitats on a global scale.
20 Alterra-report 1119
Figure 3: Map of contracting parties for the Convention on Migratory Species (©
UNEP / CMS Secretariat 2004).
Migratory species that have been categorized as being in danger of
extinction throughout all or a significant proportion of their range are
listed on Appendix I of the Convention. CMS Parties strive towards
strictly protecting these animals, conserving or restoring the habitats in
which they live, mitigating obstacles to migration and controlling other
factors that might endanger them. Besides establishing obligations for
each State joining the Convention, CMS promotes concerted action
among the Range States of many of these species.
Migratory species that have an unfavourable conservation status or
would benefit significantly from international co-operation organised by
tailored agreements are listed in Appendix II to the Convention. For this
reason, the Bonn Convention encourages the ‘range states’ to conclude
global or regional Agreements for the conservation and management of
individual species or, more often, of a group of species listed on
Appendix II. In this respect, CMS acts as a framework convention from
which independent instruments evolve. The Agreements may range from
legally binding treaties to less formal instruments, such as Memoranda of
Understanding, and can be adapted to the requirements of particular
Alterra-report 1119 21
regions. The listing on both Appendix I and II is included in the ‘target
species’ –database. Since Appendix II gives no strict legal protection,
only Appendix I is used in the present study as a selection criterion for
‘target species’.
Additional migratory species can be listed on Appendix I or II if a Party
considers that they are endangered, and submits a proposal, which meets
the requirements of Resolution 1.5. Upon the recommendation of the
Scientific Council, the Conference of the Parties would then decide
whether to adopt the proposed. Migratory species can be removed from
Appendix I when the Conference of the Parties determines that there is
reliable evidence that the species is no longer endangered and that it is
not likely to become endangered again.
2.3.2 Bern Convention
The Bern Convention (Emerald Network), aiming to ensure the
conservation of wild plants and animals and their habitats, is an initiative
of the Council of Europe. It is based on recommendations made in 1973
by the Consultative Assembly of the Council, asking for “a coherent
policy for the protection of wildlife, with a view to establishing
European regulations - if possible by means of a convention - and
involving severe restrictions on hunting, shooting, capture of animals
needing protection, fishing and egg-collecting, and the prohibition of
bird netting”. The final convention not only comprises fauna, but also
flora, and came into force in 1982. The Convention falls into four parts,
including a set of appendices. Appendix I comprises a list of strictly
protected flora species, Appendix II a list of strictly protected fauna
species, and Appendix III a list of protected fauna species for which a
certain exploitation is possible if the population level permits. All species
of birds (with the exception of eleven species), amphibians and reptiles
occurring on the territories of the States that had elaborated the
Convention and not covered by Appendix II have been included in
Appendix III. The selection of species for Appendix I and II of the Bern
Convention is mainly based on threat and endemism, whereas rareness is
not included as a criterion. Only Appendix I and II are used in the
present study as a selection criterion for ‘target species’.
22 Alterra-report 1119
2.3.3 Birds Directive
The Directive for the conservation of wild birds (79/409/EEC) was
adopted in 1979 by nine Member States, and was the first EU Directive
on nature conservation. Since its adoption it has been a vital legal
instrument for the conservation of all birds that occur naturally across
the EU, acting in the broadest public interest to conserve Europe’s
natural heritage for present and future generations. Together with the
definitions and objectives of the Habitats Directive (see below), adopted
in 1992, it offers useful legal conceptual models and a set of standards
and norms in common use. The Birds Directive applies to all 25 EU
countries since May 2004.
The Birds Directive is a primary tool for delivering against EU
obligations under global Conventions, including the Convention on
Biological Diversity (CBD), the Ramsar and Bonn Conventions and the
plan of implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable
Development (WWSD). Apart from its global obligations the EU has
further committed itself to halting biodiversity decline by the year 2010.
The full and proper implementation of both the Birds and the Habitats
Directive including the proper designation and adequate management of
Natura 2000 sites will be crucial to achieving this target.
The Birds and Habitats Directives both require the EU Member States
to take a number of measures in order to protect all listed species and
habitats, as well as their sites. Measures required by the Birds Directives
include:
• Take measures to conserve all naturally occurring bird species across
the EU;
• Classify as Special Protection Areas (SPAs) the most suitable territories
for species in need of special habitat protection as listed on Annex I;
• Maintain SPAs in Favourable Conservation Status;
• Prepare and implement management plans, setting clear conservation
objectives for all SPAs in the EU 25;
• Provide co-financing for the management of these protected sites
(SPAs);
• Regulate the hunting of species listed in Annex II;
• Regulate the trade of species listed in Annex III;
Alterra-report 1119 23
• Follow the procedure outlined in Article 6 of the Habitats Directive
for carrying out appropriate assessments of environmental impacts
on SPAs.
Special Protection Areas (SPAs) are classified under article 4 of the Birds
Directive. Together with the Special Areas of Conservation (SACs),
designated under article 4 of the Habitats Directive, they make up the
Natura 2000 Network.
2.3.4 Habitats Directive
The Habitats Directive (Directive 92/43/EEC), adopted in 1992, is a
Community legislative instrument in the field of nature conservation that
establishes a common framework for the conservation of wild animal
and plant species and natural habitats of Community importance; it
provides for the creation of a network of special areas of conservation
within Natura 2000, to “maintain and restore, at favourable conservation
status, natural habitats and species of wild fauna and flora of Community
interest” (European Commission 2003). The Habitats Directive sets the
goal of establishing a European network for nature conservation, socalled
‘Special Areas of Conservation’ (SACs). The Habitats Directive is
legally binding for the 25 EU Member States. It is expected that the
network will eventually cover some 450,000 km2, which means on
average 10–15 % of EU territory.
The enlargement of the European Union with 10 new member states
(Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia,
Slovenia, Malta and Cyprus) means that EU nature conservation
legislation will have to be applied to a much larger territory. The high
richness in nature and wildlife is one of the environmental assets
acceding countries bring to the EU. These countries still host species and
habitat types that have nearly vanished from Western Europe. Moreover
they hold nature values that currently do not occur at all in the European
Union. This is why the Birds and the Habitats Directives had to be
adapted to cover these unique assets of the new member states.
An overview of the purposes of the annexes is given it Table 2. There
are several geographical exceptions concerning the listings of species.
Some species are considered to be of conservation concern at European
24 Alterra-report 1119
level, but have a favourable conservation status in one or several
member states. It should be emphasized however that in these cases the
countries for which exceptions apply, have a special responsibility in
maintaining the favourable status of these species. Geographical
restrictions are given in accompanying notes in the database.
Table 2: Relevant annexes of the Habitats Directive with their purpose.
Annex I Natural and semi-natural habitat types of community interest
whose conservation requires the designation of special areas
of conservation.
Annex II Animal and plant species of community interest whose
conservation requires the designation of special areas of
conservation.
Annex IV Animal and plant species of community interest in need of
strict protection.
Annex V Animal and plant species of community interest who’s taking
in the wild and exploitation may be subject to management
measures.
2.4 Threat
Global Red Lists
The IUCN Red Lists are widely recognized as the most comprehensive,
apolitical global approach for evaluating the conservation status of plant
and animal species. From their small beginnings, the IUCN Red Lists
have grown in size and complexity. The introduction in 1994 of a
scientifically rigorous approach to determine risks of extinction that is
applicable to all species and infra-specific taxa, has become a virtual
world standard (WCMC 2000). In order to produce Red Lists of all
threatened species worldwide, the Species Survival Commission (SSC)
has to draw on and mobilize a network of scientists and partner
organizations working in almost every country in the world, who
collectively hold what is likely the most complete scientific knowledge
base on the biology and conservation status of species. The process for
achieving this was largely uncoordinated and opportunistic. As a result,
Alterra-report 1119 25
in 1998 the SSC Executive Committee agreed to the development of a
coherent well-conceived Red List Programme with a management and
governance plan that would ensure the highest standards of
documentation, information management, training, and scientific
oversight. The IUCN Red List Programme and its companion
information management system (the Species Information Service) will
provide fundamental baseline information on the status of biodiversity as
it changes over time.
The IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria have the following aims
(IUCN 2001):
• To provide a system that can be applied consistently by different
people;
• To improve objectivity by providing users with clear guidance on
how to evaluate different factors which affect the risk of extinction;
• To provide a system which will facilitate comparisons across widely
different taxa;
• To give people using threatened species lists a better understanding
of how individual species were classified.
The IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria are intended to provide an
explicit, objective framework for the classification of the broadest range
of species according to their extinction risk (IUCN 2001). The Red List
distinguishes nine hierarchically related Red List Categories (Fig. 4). The
present IUCN criteria are based on estimates of rates of decline and
extinction risk as well as rarity, and produce a different, but more useful,
assessment compared to the former criteria which had a more subjective
basis. One result of the new criteria is the inclusion of widespread but
rapidly declining species, highlighting large-scale changes that might
otherwise have been ignored until species reached critical levels. The new
criteria are felt to be the best available method for assessing conservation
priorities and identifying species requiring conservation action.
For assignment to one of the Red List Categories there is a range of
quantitative criteria. Meeting any one of these criteria qualifies a taxon
for listing at that level of threat. Each taxon should be evaluated against
all the criteria. The relevant factor is whether any one criterion is met,
not whether all are appropriate or all are met. Because it will never be
clear in advance which criteria are appropriate for a particular taxon,
26 Alterra-report 1119
each taxon should be evaluated against all the criteria, and all criteria met
at the highest threat category must be listed. It should be kept in mind
that extinction is a chance process. Thus, a listing in a higher extinction
risk category implies a higher probability of extinction, and over the
time-frames specified more taxa listed in a higher category are expected
to go extinct than those in a lower one (without effective conservation
action). However, the persistence of some taxa in high-risk categories
does not necessarily mean their initial assessment was inaccurate.
Figure 4: Structure of the Red List categories (from IUCN 2001). All taxa listed
as Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable qualify as
Threatened. The threatened categories form a part of the overall scheme. It will be
possible to place all taxa into one of the categories. The category Data Deficient is
not a threatened category, although it indicates a need to obtain more information on a
taxon to obtain the appropriate listing. The old IUCN category Lower Risk (LR
in IUCN 1994) is replaced by Near Threatened (close to qualifying for
Vulnerable) and Least Concern (evaluated but not threatened).
Alterra-report 1119 27
Regional Red Lists
The IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria were originally designed for
global taxon assessments. Later on, guidelines have been developed by
the IUCN for the application at regional, national or local levels (e.g.
Gдrdenfors et al. 2001). When applied at national or regional levels, it
must be recognized that a global category may not be the same as a
national or regional category for a particular taxon. For example, taxa
classified as ‘Least Concern’ globally might be ‘Critically Endangered’
within a particular region where numbers are very small or declining,
perhaps only because they are at the margins of their global range.
Conversely, taxa classified as ‘Vulnerable’ on the basis of their global
declines in numbers or range might be ‘Least Concern’ within a
particular region where their populations are stable.
2.5 Geographical distribution
For the evaluation of the geographic distribution of species, the degree
to which species are characteristic for Europe is considered to be the
most important selection criterion. Species for which the geographical
distribution is restricted to a certain area are called ‘endemic species’.
Therefore, the definition of endemism is scale dependent. Within the
scope of the present publication, endemism is defined at the European
scale, and thus the European proportion of the global distribution area
of a given species is indicative. In Van Opstal et al. (2000), a distinction
in five categories was proposed with a declining degree of endemism:
strictly endemic (e); highly characteristic, with > 90 % of distribution
area in Europe (hc); characteristic, with 50-90 % of distribution area in
Europe (c); not characteristic, with < 50 % of distribution area in
Europe (nc); and outside Europe (o). For some taxonomic groups the
available distribution data are only partly compatible with the proposed
geographic delimitation of the Europe. In discussing the results, these
aspects are taken into account.
28 Alterra-report 1119
2.6 Data-sources and data-processing
2.6.1 Vascular plants
The database for vascular plants is based on the species checklist as used
in SynBioSys Europe (see Table 3). Flora Europaea (Tutin et al. 1964-
1980) formed the basis for this SynBioSys species list, but Flora
Europaea is geographically incomplete and taxonomically outdated.
Therefore SynBioSys Europe is developing a more updated (although
provisional) species list for the European vascular and cryptogam flora,
including bryophytes, lichens and stoneworts (Schaminйe & Hennekens
2005). This list will be compiled by bringing together and analysing
national floras, using the software package Turboveg (Hennekens &
Schaminйe 2001). Currently about 275,000 species records are imported
from 25 Turboveg species lists and stored in a database. It should be
noted that the species list of Flora Europaea, which forms the basis of
our study, is not complete with regard to geographical coverage (several
species list are not yet fully integrated) and not fully compatible with the
taxonomy as used in the 2004 IUCN Red List and legal lists.
Furthermore, the taxonomy of Flora Europaea is rather old-fashioned,
which means that quite a number of recently described species are not
taken into account.
The delimitation of plant families and genera is according to Brummitt
(1992), but for the content of genera reference is made to a wide range
of taxonomic treatments including papers on individual species,
monographic treatments, standard floras, and global checklists (e.g.
Farjon 2001). The taxonomy of plant families and orders is undergoing
major revision at present (see for example, the Angiosperm Phylogeny
Site). Until such time that some level of stability is achieved, the orders
of Cronquist (1981, 1988) are followed. Specific names are frequently
checked against the International Plant Names Index that incorporates
Index Kewensis. The Species Checklist will be linked to the Euro+Med
PlantBase. The Euro+Med Project will provide an on-line database and
information system for the vascular plants of Europe and the
Mediterranean region, against an up-to-date and critically evaluated
consensus taxonomic core of the species concerned (Caddick 2002, see
also www.euromed.org.uk/).
Alterra-report 1119 29
Within SynBioSys Europe it is possible to show country-based
distribution patterns for each individual plant species, based on Flora
Europeae and national species lists. For 3,556 species more detailed
spatial information is included based on distribution maps from the Atlas
Florae Europaeae project (Jalas et al. 1972-1999, Kurtto et al. 2004; ©
Finnish Museum of Natural History). The Atlas Florae Europaeae uses a
50 x 50 km grid modified from Military Grid Reference System (MGRS).
Table 3: Characteristics of the database for vascular plant species.
Database source The database is compiled in the present
project in close cooperation with the
SynBioSys Europe initiative (Alterra,
European Vegetation Survey) and
includes many external data sources
(see text).
Geographic coverage All 45 countries from the Council of
Europe, as covered in Flora Europaea
(including Azores, Faeroe Islands,
Iceland and Svalbard, but excluding
Madeira, the Canary Islands, Cyprus,
the East Aegean Islands (Greece),
Novaya Zemlya, Franz Joseph, and the
whole of the Caucasus); the eastern
border is defined by the Ural
Mountains and the Ural River to the
Caspian Sea.
Source distribution data Country-based data are compiled in
close cooperation with the SynBioSys
Europe project. Grid based data from
the Atlas Florae Europaeae project (©
Finnish Museum of Natural History)
were used.
Number of species included 15,974 species, including 1,909
apomictic species and some relevant
subspecies (listed in legal documents or
on the IUCN Red List).
Between 1972 and 2004, the Committee and Societas Biologica Fennica
Vanamo have published thirteen volumes of the Atlas. Until now, the
30 Alterra-report 1119
maps are covering more than 20 % of the vascular plants of the
European flora (> 4,300 taxa). The distribution maps will be
incorporated in SynBioSys Europe. For the degree of endemism we used
two data sources. First, we screened Flora Europaea for species that are
indicated as European endemics. Additionally, we used the distribution
maps of Hultйn & Fries (1986) and from the Atlas Florae Europaeae
project. Species that are endemic to a single country (or two for species
occurring in small countries) were marked as ‘single country endemics’.
Table 4: Red List categories from the 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants
(Walter & Gillett 1998).
RL Category Criteria
Extinct
(EX)
Taxa that are no longer known to exist in the wild after
repeated searches of the type localities and other known
or likely places.
Endangered
(E)
Taxa in danger of extinction and whose survival is
unlikely if the causal factors continue operating.
Included are taxa whose numbers have been reduced to
a critical level or whose habitats have been so drastically
reduced that they are deemed to be in immediate danger
of extinction.
Vulnerable
(V)
Taxa believed likely to move into the Endangered
category in the near future if the causal factors continue
operating. Included are taxa of which most or all the
populations are decreasing because of over-exploitation,
extensive destruction of habitat or other environmental
disturbance; taxa with populations that have been
seriously depleted and whose ultimate security is not yet
assured; and taxa with populations that are still abundant
but are under threat from serious adverse factors
throughout their range.
Rare
(R)
Taxa with small world populations that are not at
present Endangered or Vulnerable but are at risk. These
taxa are usually localised within restricted geographic
areas or habitats or are thinly scattered over a more
extensive range.
Indeterminate
(I)
Taxa known to be Extinct, Endangered, Vulnerable, or
Rare but where there is not enough information to say
which of the four categories is appropriate.
Alterra-report 1119 31
The list of single country endemics is based on old distribution data as
given in Flora Europaeae and should therefore be regarded as
preliminary. Information on endemism is lacking in the database for
species not included in Flora Europaea.
For the global Red List status we included both the 2004 listing (IUCN
2004) and the 1997 listing (Walter & Gillett 1998). The 2004 Red List
does not include all the plants that were assessed for the 1997 Red List
of Threatened Plants. This is because the 1997 list uses the pre-1994
Categories (see Table 4) which are incompatible with the more recent
Categories and Criteria (IUCN 2001). The database with vascular plant
species (see Table 3) not only includes information relevant to the three
main criteria (legal protection, threat and geographical distribution) but
also additional information on aspects like taxonomic status (e.g.
indication for apomictic reproduction, subspecies), administrative data
(e.g. species number, county codes, number of countries covered by the
distribution area), and remarks.
Within SynBioSys Europe it will be possible to link the information at
the species level, as compiled in the present project, to information at the
level of habitats and landscapes. This enables the development of query
routines to highlight environmental conditions necessary for sustaining
plant communities and habitats (see Chapter 4.3).
2.6.2 Butterflies
For the analysis of butterfly species, we could make use of a database
from Butterfly Conservation Europe (managed by Van Swaay) with
information on global and European threat status, legal protection,
degree of endemism and country-based distribution data (see Table 5). In
1999 the Council of Europe published the Red Data Book of European
Butterflies, written by Van Swaay from Dutch Butterfly Conservation
and Warren from British Butterfly Conservation (Van Swaay & Warren
1999). Distribution and trend data were collected for each country
through a network of over 50 expert national compilers who each
completed a questionnaire in 1997. Data were obtained for all countries
except Iceland and the Caucasian Republics. The resulting database
allowed an objective quantitative assessment of each species’ threat and
conservation status. Threat status was assessed by following the 1994
IUCN criteria as closely as possible, adapting them for use with the
32 Alterra-report 1119
distributional data available for butterflies. For species restricted to
Europe (189 endemic species, 33 % of the total), the 1994 IUCN-criteria
were applied directly while for species that also occur outside Europe the
criteria were adapted for use at the continental level. For butterflies, the
species lists from the Bern Convention and the Habitats Directive are
the same, and therefore these lists are combined in the ‘target species’
database.
Table 5: Characteristics of the database for butterflies.
Database source Swaay & Warren (1999) from
Dutch Butterfly Conservation
(Vlinderstichting) and British
Butterfly Conservation, with some
additions in the present project
(e.g. new species on Habitats
Directive).
Geographic coverage All 45 countries within the Council
of Europe, including the
Macaronesian Islands (Azores,
Madeira, and the Canary Islands),
Russia to the Ural mountains and
the whole of Turkey.
Source distribution data Country-based data from Van
Swaay & Warren (1999) will be
incorporated in SynBioSys Europe.
Number of species included 576 (including 118 species that are
restricted to the Asian part of
Turkey).
The database on European butterflies from the Butterfly Conservation
Europe also includes an assessment of the threat status in Europe and a
classification of the conservation status in Europe (SPEC category, see
Table 6). The assessment includes five categories based on the degree of
endemism and threat status. The assessment used the method developed
for birds by Tucker & Heath (1994).
Alterra-report 1119 33
Table 6: Categories of the conservation status of species of European conservation
concern (SPECs) as used in ‘The red data book of European butterflies’ (Van
Swaay & Warren 1999).
SPEC
category
Description
SPEC 1 Globally threatened species that are restricted to Europe:
22 species.
SPEC 2 Concentrated in Europe (endemics) and threatened in
Europe (unfavourable conservation status): 5 species.
SPEC 3 Not concentrated in Europe but threatened in Europe
(unfavourable conservation status): 47 species.
SPEC 4a Concentrated in Europe (endemics) but not threatened in
Europe (favourable conservation status): 167 species.
SPEC 4b Not concentrated in Europe and not threatened in Europe
(favourable conservation status): 33 species.
2.6.3 Freshwater fishes
For freshwater fishes there was no appropriate Pan European species list
available and the ‘target species’ database for fishes was therefore
compiled from various sources (see Table 7). The names of families and
their classification into species follows Eschmeyer (1990), but a number
of species have been adapted to the new classification concept as
presented in Eschmeyer (1998). Some of the fish names used are derived
from national sources or from IUCN Specialist Groups. Extensive
recent taxonomic changes will mean that the status of many fish species
on the Red List needs to be re-assessed. This was not possible for the
current Red List, and the names and assessments are left as they
appeared in the 1996 Red List. An updated version of Eschmeyer"s work
is maintained as part of a comprehensive database (FishBase, Froese et
al. 2003) developed at the WorldFish Center. FishBase along with a
number of other taxonomic datasets is available through Species 2000.
Species that are migratory according to Maitland 1991 and Froese et al.
2003 are marked. The present database should be regarded as a
preliminary list, since several rare species are lacking, synonyms are not
fully checked and distribution data are course and incomplete. Moreover,
the IUCN assessment of the threat status in the 2004 Red List dates
from 1994 and needs revision.
34 Alterra-report 1119
Table 7: Characteristics of the database for freshwater fishes.
Database source European species list based on
Lelek 1980, Maitland 1991, 1994,
Foppen 2000, and the listings of
legal conventions and the IUCN
2004 Red List. The species list was
checked against the EUNIS
species database for fishes.
Relevant data for the species list
were derived from Froese et al.
2003 (FishBase): water type,
distribution, legal protection, and
IUCN threat status.
Geographic coverage All 45 countries within the Council
of Europe.
Source distribution data Muus & Dahlstrшm 1967, Maitland
1991, Froese et al. 2003
(FishBase).
Number of species included 341 species and 9 relevant
subspecies (listed in legal
documents or on the IUCN Red
List).
2.6.4 Amphibians
The database for amphibians is based on Stumpel (2002a) and includes
88 species (see Table 8). Three new species were added to this database
(marked in the field ‘new’). The resulting database with 91 species covers
Europe in a broad sense, including the whole area of Turkey and the
Caucasus. The species occurring in Europe as delimited in this study are
marked. This list sums up to a total of 85 species. Nomenclature
generally follows Frost (1985) as updated by Duellman (1993). The
Amphibian Species of the World Database 3.0 is now available on the
World Wide Web and is updated regularly, so this has become the major
data-source for recent taxonomic changes. Another important web site
for documentation on amphibian species, especially those in decline is
the Amphibian Web Database. Within the framework of the project



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