Habitat Conservation

The habitats of the relict species are mostly covered by Annex I habitat types. This means that even if a species itself is not directly protected, there is an indirect habitat protection in the Natura 2000 network of protected areas. Relict species are sensitive to climate change because they are generally strongly adapted to special conditions. Because of an increase in the anthropogenic causes of climate change, there is a high risk of extinction particularly for glacial relict species, as these represent the largest group of relict species in Germany. The best way to protect these local relict species is to include them in special management conservation plans. For many Natura 2000 sites, management plans should be set up and the relict species in Natura 2000 sites should be integrated as typical species where they occur.

Altogether, relict species from the analysed groups can be found in 46 habitat types of the Directive. At least 60-80% of the total area of most of these habitat types has been included in Natura 2000 sites. The most important habitat types hosting these relict species are bogs and species-rich grasslands, mainly of mountain ranges. In addition, screes represent an important glacial refuge for other relict species groups such as spiders. The importance of bogs has been pointed out in this study for several taxa, but screes were only detected to be important for higher plants among the studied groups. In the latter, the most important habitat types referring to the studied groups were the following:

• 6210 semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates (Festuco-Brometalia)

• *7110 active raised bogs

• 7120 degraded raised bogs still capable of natural regeneration

• 7140 transition mires and quaking bogs

• 7230 alkaline fens

• 8210 calcareous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation.

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