Project for elaboration of HELCOM Red List of Species and Habitats/Biotopes 2008-2013
In 2008, the Helsinki Commission was tasked with creating a comprehensive Red List of Baltic Sea species and habitats/biotopes.The project is being carried out according to the commitments of the biodiversity segment of the Baltic Sea Action Plan and the aim of the RED LIST project is to prepare a complete HELCOM Red Lists of biotopes and species using the criteria defined by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature). Based on those criteria the Red List will include all the species currently under threat of extinction in the Baltic Sea.
The work has been divide into six teams, five species teams:
fish and lamprey species
and a team for the Red list of habitats and biotopes.
Each of the six teams consists of experts from all around the Baltic Sea totalling in over 80 dedicated experts lending their knowledge, time and experise to the project in order to make the Red list, checklists and classification systems as comprehensive as possible.
The deliverables of the project will include:
a Baltic sea wide habitat/biotope classification system based on the EUNIS classification system
check-lists of species for the Baltic Sea,
Species Information Sheets for all threatened and data deficient species and biotopes
the Red Lists of species and biotopes.
As a result of this project the existing HELCOM Red Lists (BSEP 109 and BSEP 75) will be updated. The products, including subsections of the Red List, will be made available as they are finalized and can be found here on the HELCOM wepages.
Progress of the project
Red List of species
Important mile-stones were reached in the project by the end of 2011. The teams have finalized the first deliverable: the check-list of the Baltic Sea species (incl. more than 2730 species) and this will be published on the HELCOM webpage at the end of February 2012. A short period of public stakeholder review commences immediately after the list’s publication (1 March 2012-1 April 2012). Should anyone whish to make sure that they are part of the review process please do not hesitate in sending your e-mail details to the Project Coordinator. After the review period the checklist will be updated every three years.
The checklist covers most major macro-species groups found in the Baltic Sea area and it supplies valuable information on taxonomies, scientific name and author, synonyms, information on distribution of the species in the different sub-basins of the Baltic, and references confirming the occurrence of the species in the Baltic Sea. The list contains both species that have occurred in the Baltic in the past as well as those that are currently present.
Checklist of Baltic Sea Macro-species (BSEP No. 130)
Below you can find the checklists in Microsoft Excel format:
Red List assessments
The teams were also able to identify the sets of candidate species for the Red List assessments for which more data has been gathered. The assessment of these species according to the IUCN Red List criteria is well underway in all teams. The waterbird team finalized the draft of the Red List of Baltic Breeding Birds and this interim report was published on the HELCOM webpages (see the link below).
The waterbird team is now working on a list of Baltic wintering birds.
Red List of habitats and biotopes
In early 2011 the biotope team realised that a more in depth classification system then the one produced by the EUSeaMap project has to be made in order adequately classify the biotopes found in the Baltic Sea. The work on creating a classification system received external funding from the Nordic Council of Ministers and the state of Sweden and the work in 2011 has been rapid. The project utilizes a two-fold strategy that effectively combines continuous data and biotope assessment work by consultants with the needed combined input of Baltic biotopes experts (phytobenthos, zoobenthos, management etc.).
Baltic Sea biotope classification system
The project aims at completing a biologically meaningful EUNIS classification of Baltic Sea biotopes/habitats. The outcome of the project will be a classification system which is of utmost importance for management and marine spatial planning purposes. The main outcomes - the classification system and the biotope descriptions - will be published in the Baltic Marine Environment Proceedings series of HELCOM and on the HELCOM web pages.
The biotope classification system being developed is based on the EEA EUNIS and the hierarchy of the proposed classification combines three major vertical zones (hydrolittoral, infralittoral and circalittoral) and two principal seabed types (hard bottoms being rock and other hard substrata and soft bottoms being sediment) at level 2, and level 3 considers substrate and sediment categories in more detail, while at level 4, e.g., energy is introduced. The level 5 specifies types of biological communities and level 6 defines communities characterised by dominant species. Level 5 of the EUNIS classification has been agreed by HELCOM to be the most appropriate level of biotope classification for Baltic Sea biotopes because it best serves management, maritime spatial planning and threat assessment purposes. More information on EUNIS can be found here: http://eunis.eea.europa.eu/about.jsp.
Red List assessments
The threath assessments will be adopting the newly established IUCN criteria for the threat assessments of biotopes. In order to finalize the assessments for threatened biotopes before the deadline the experts will work on them parallel to the work on the classification system.
For more information please contact:
Ms. Maria Laamanen
Tel. +358 46 850 9198
Ms. Tytti Kontula
Project Manager of HELCOM RED LIST
Tel. +358 400 329 156