The Overall objectives

Freshwater ecosystems are important in promoting biodiversity and by providing valuable ecosystem services for human well-being. In wetlands you can find organisms that spend their entire life in freshwater (e.g. fish) but also organisms that are dependent on both wetlands and the terrestrial environment (semiaquatic life). This project focuses on these organisms with a semiaquatic life-cycle (e.g. amphibians and dragonflies). Even though most semiaquatic species are dependent of wetlands for breeding, they often need suitable terrestrial habitats for hibernation and feeding.

Since the semiaquatic fauna is totally dependent on “both worlds” for survival, it is particularly sensitive to environmental changes. Increased exploitation of land for human purposes has therefore significantly contributed to the decline of many semiaquatic species, some of which today are threatened by extinction. Protected sites with high biological values such as Natura 2000 areas and nature reserves are important for the long-term survival of many species and habitat types, including semiaquatic fauna.

This project focuses on creating and restoring wetlands and terrestrial habitats for semiaquatic fauna in a number of Natura 2000 sites to improve the conservation status for semiaquatic fauna. The project involves several species of amphibians, dragonflies and water beetles protected under the habitats directive and listed in Annex II and IV.

Specific goals

The specific goal is to improve the conservation status and establish viable metapopulations for aquatic insects, amphibians and reptiles at 38 Natura 2000 sites in Sweden (11), Denmark (18) and northern Germany (9). This shall be achieved by restorations, habitat creations and when necessary by means of re-introductions. Another specific goal is to increase the public awareness and acceptance of the importance of improving the conditions enabling long-term survival of semiaquatic fauna at the selected sites.