Our natural environment must be managed in order to safeguard viable populations of indigenous plants and wildlife. We must also endeavour to safeguard the diversity of our natural environment, landscapes and geology.
Everyone has responsibility for safeguarding natural diversity
Any intervention in our natural environment may threaten its diversity. Accordingly we must always evaluate the consequences of interventions such as, for example, the building of major roads or new residential areas.
The two most significant pieces of legislation for the protection of natural diversity are the Nature Diversity Act and the Planning and Building Act. The Nature Diversity Act requires public authorities to consider taking measures where the natural environment is under threat.
The County Governor contributes to the safeguarding of habitats, species and natural resources by, among other activities, ensuring that municipalities comply with the Nature Diversity Act and ensuring that environmental considerations form the basis of municipal decision-making.
Threatened species and natural environments
Approximately 2000 species are under threat in Norway. Government agencies prepare action plans and implement measures to ensure the survival of these species. They also monitor existing populations. The County Governor has responsibility for establishing the scientific basis for new action plans to safeguard threatened species and for implementing measures once an action plan has been adopted. Such measures are often implemented in collaboration with landowners, municipalities and conservation organisations.
In every municipality, surveys are carried out to establish the areas that are of most importance for preserving natural diversity. So-called red lists of species and natural environments that are threatened by extinction are prepared at national level. Some of these species and natural environments are designated as "priority species" or "special natural environments". These enjoy special protection in the regulations adopted under the Nature Diversity Act and are the subject of specific action plans designed to ensure their survival.
Non-native species are plants, fungi and insects that are not indigenous to Norway's natural environment. Growth in tourism and overseas trade and a milder climate are some of the reasons why we are finding new species in Norway.
It is important that non-native species do not damage our ecosystem. The County Governor participates in efforts to combat non-native species by, for example, removing non-native plants from protected areas, preventing imported aquarium fish from breeding in our rivers and lakes, and informing garden owners about optimal plant choices. The County Governor also has responsibilities in connection with surveying and monitoring the status of non-native species.