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Nationwide mapping of green infrastructure in Norway



New statistical models map for the first time suitable habitats and their connectivity, now and in the future, for solitary bees, moose and 14 species of trees. An invaluable tool to identify and prioritise areas for conservation and restoration. 

The cumulative impact of human activities is not only causing an unprecedented loss of biodiversity. Habitat degradation is also causing fragmentation and barriers, preventing species from reaching isolated patches of suitable habitat. These are two of the main drivers of biodiversity loss. 

In order to safeguard biodiversity, it is therefore important to take ecological connectivity into account in spatial planning and preserve the most important networks of suitable habitats, or Green Infrastructure (GI).

A network-based methodology was initially developed by NINA researchers for networks of suitable habitats for wild reindeer in Norway. With the same approach they have now presented, commissioned by the Government, among the first attempts to statistically model Green Infrastructure on a national scale, in high resolution, for solitary bees, moose and 14 species of trees.

Pollinators and possible corridors

The national maps for solitary bees identify all suitable habitat for every 30 m in the whole of Norway, as well as the most functional habitats and corridors through which the species can move. The bees’ movements are highly governed by the availability of meadows, topography and climate, information important to consider when prioritising areas for conservation and restoration.

If we safeguard solitary bees, we also safeguard numerous other pollinators, which are essential for several ecosystem services. Therefore, solitary bees were prioritised as one of the first groups of species for which we created maps of Green Infrastructure, explains Senior Researcher at NINA and head of the research group, Manuela Panzacchi.

She further highlights that the maps represent a first attempt to identify the most functional core areas and corridors for wild pollinators in Norway. Such knowledge has the potential to support Norway’s National pollinator strategy and Action Plan for wild pollinating insects, with the aim of safeguarding, restoring and improving their habitats.

Moving forests in a changing climate

Mapping of trees was prioritized, as forests contain 60 percent of all plant and animal species in Norway. Maps for 14 tree species show the connection between suitable areas today and suitable areas in 2030, 2060, 2100, in light of climate change. 

Models show a movement northwards and towards higher elevations for most tree species, especially for some conifers such as spruce. This is expected to have consequences for the future conservation of biodiversity, for forest management and the provision of ecosystem services.

The report also presents a “climate vulnerability index”, which shows vulnerable areas due to climate change in Scandinavia (every 100 m) and in Europe (every 10 km), as well as maps showing areas that could be naturally colonized by deciduous trees, and areas that would become suitable, but are too far from other deciduous forests to be naturally colonized.

The amount of habitat suitable in 2100 (dark blue) will be far greater than the area a species will be able to colonize naturally (light blue). Hence, Norwegian temperate deciduous forests won’t be able to fully track the speed of climatic changes naturally.

Moose maps can increase traffic safety

For moose, we have created maps for winter, the time of year with the greatest chance of traffic related collisions, explains Panzacchi.

The maps provide the first landscape perspective of functional areas and barriers for moose in Norway and can be used to quantify human-made habitat loss, identify areas for restoration or other management measures (e.g. wildlife passages and fences to allow for moose movements while increasing traffic safety), and predict effects of climate change.


Moose in winter. Good habitat quality is widespread in Norway (map 1: dark green = good quality), but the most functional areas (light areas in map 3) are both suitable and well connected. Map 4 shows corridors with light colour, and map 2 barriers with dark colour.

Read the report (summary in English): NINA Rapport 2371 – Nasjonal kartlegging av grønn infrastruktur 

Map portal and prototype application for Green Infrastructure:

Contact: Manuela Panzacchi

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