Conservation Status and Threats

In most European countries the quality of many dry grassland localities has decreased as a result of more intensive land use, including use of fertilisers (Arnolds, 1988; Nitare, 1988; Nauta and Vellinga, 1993; Boertmann, 1995; Evans, 2003; Chapter 15). In many areas of Europe grasslands are now more or less restricted to remote areas, steep slopes, etc. where a more intensive land use is impossible or non-profitable. Therefore, many grassland species, including fungi, occur in the red-lists of various countries. In some countries, the changes in grassland management may be considerable despite conservation efforts to protect the habitat type. In 2005 a survey of 188 valuable grassland localities with recent records of red-listed or rare organisms was carried out in Vejle County, Denmark (Vesterholt and Levesen, 2006). Only 81 localities (43%) were grazed, and 83 localities (44%) were in more or less urgent need of resuming traditional management. Grazing of dry and wet grasslands has been subsidised by Danish government/European community means, but after a change of policy by the Danish government it has only been possible to apply for subsidies in Natura 2000 areas. In the survey in Vejle County only 48 areas (26%) qualified as such. Such national changes in policy may result in a decline of dry grasslands, and a serious threat to the associated species.

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