Nature protection and biodiversity - Drivers and pressures (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia)
- Nature and biodiversity
Key threats to ecosystems, habitats and wild species
Based on the assessments conducted in different projects and studies, several reasons for threats to biodiversity have been identified. These include loss of natural ecosystems and especially habitats due to their modification and fragmentation. In this context, the most significant changes are occurring in aquatic habitats – natural lakes, swamps and marshes, and in specific sections of major rivers. Grassland ecosystems have also changed significantly, with large areas in ravine parts having been transformed into arable land.
Status of threat to ecosystems, habitats and wild species
Uncontrolled anthropogenic activities have negative impacts on and continue to negatively influence the survival of ecosystems, habitat types and especially populations and spread of wild species. As well as by degradation of land and vegetation, threats are also induced by over-use of biological resources, mostly for commercial purposes. Thus, high number of indigenous medicinal plants and native fungi are under threat: Orchis spp., Gentiana lutea, Gentiana punctata, bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) Adonis vernalis, Polipodium vulgare, Boletus pinikola, Boletus edulus, Boletus aereus, and Morchella spp. Among diatom algae (Bacillariophyta), more than 110 species are under threat. Among lichens, 12 species are under threat, as are 12 species of ferns and 20 species of mosses. Of native fungi, 67 species are under threat.
For fauna diversity, groups of day butterflies, stream crab and crayfish, river and lake shells, and 115 vertebrate species are also under threat. The most endangered group among the last of these is fish of which as many as 30 native species are threatened – Macedonian stream trout (Salmo macedonicus ), Pelister trout (Salmo peristericus), Pelagonian trout (Salmo pelagonicus), Ohrid trout (salmo letnica), Struga trout (Salmo balcanicus), Prespa bleak (Alburnus belvica), Prespa barbell (Barbus prespensis), Macedonian barbell (Barbus macedonicus), Prespa minnow (Pelasgus prespensis). The Prespa carp (Ciprinus carpio prespensis) is critically threatened as are Stream and lake crayfish and Macedonian sand-hopper. Due to illegal collection, populations of terrestrial snails – the edible snails Helix pomatia and Helix figulina; terrestrial turtles – the spur-thighed tortoise (Testudo graeca) and Hermann’s tortoise (Testudo hermanni); aquatic turtles and nose-horned viper (Vipera ammodytes) have been affected, and the sharp-headed viper is under threat. As a consequence of poaching, more than 60 bird species are threatened, including six species of birds of eagles and vultures. Among mammals, bats, lynx, otter and badger are under threat.