Different conservation values of biological diversity? A case study from the Jotunheimen mountain range, Norway
Jotunheimen mountain range is a key area for wildlife and nature conservation due to its scenic landscape and biological qualities, and its importance as a national symbol for Norwegian nature and culture rooted in mountain summer farming. We surveyed the biodiversity values, their current threats, the conservation objectives, and existing conservation assignments and measures taking place in this area. It was found that the alpine areas where the biodiversity threats are small or non-existent have the largest conservation areas. This is in contrast to the sub-alpine areas that are shaped by the mountain summer farming and today experience serious threats to biodiversity due to decline in agricultural use, above all changes in livestock grazing regimes. Semi-natural grasslands and heathlands are changed into woodlands by forest succession. With this habitat destruction many listed and one endemic plant species are seriously threatened. Conservation assignments and measures are lacking for these habitats and species. We discuss the rationale for this situation and question the underlying criteria for biodiversity conservation in Norway.