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European Red List of Dragonflies

European Red List of Dragonflies

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Published by Uğur Özkan

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Published by: Uğur Özkan on Dec 21, 2011
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12/21/2011

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Figure 8 shows the population trends of the European
dragonfies. Half of the European species have a stable
population trend; about a quarter of them are declining
and about one tenth are increasing. Te threats to
European dragonfies vary regionally and over time.
During most of the twentieth century, large-scale land
conversion, canalisation of rivers and water pollution
(including eutrophication) were the main causes of
decline, impacting especially species dependent on
mesotrophic or running waters. Declines were particularly
severe in Western Europe from the 1960s to the 1980s,
when several species became extinct over large areas.
Since then, improved water management and decreasing
eutrophication have had a positive impact, and many of
the species dependent on running waters have made a
surprisingly fast recovery. Recently, there have been some
indications that also species dependent on mesotrophic
waters are starting to recover.

Te conservation status of dragonfies in Central and
Northern Europe has improved in recent decades,
and is now generally considered to be good. In the

Mediterranean region, the threats to dragonfies are,
however, increasing rapidly. Te smaller distribution
areas of most Mediterranean dragonfies, combined
with these increasing threats, make that most threatened
dragonfies are currently found in the Mediterranean
Basin. A summary of the relative importance of the
diferent threats is shown in Figure 9.

Fifteen out of the 22 threatened species are dependent
on running water. All of these species are confned to
the Mediterranean. Tey are impacted by the increasing
demand for water for irrigation and for consumption
by the growing (tourist) population, as well as by the
increased frequency and duration of hot and dry periods.
River species are adversely afected by the construction of
dams and reservoirs as well as by desiccation and (to a lesser
extent) deteriorating water quality. Species associated with
smaller streams are declining due to desiccation caused by
dry weather, fres and increased water extraction for local
agriculture. Several of these species occur in small brooks
and seepage areas which, due to their small size, can be
destroyed by a local event, such as a fre, the construction
of a house or the extraction of water by an individual
farmer.

Figure 9. Major threats to dragonfies in Europe

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