Year of compilation: 2000

Site description
The largest boreal montane plateau in Europe, dominated by undulating terrain with several large lakes. This is a major sheep-grazing area, and there is also tourism and hunting (of reindeer Rangifer tarandus and grouse Lagopus).

Key biodiversity
Other breeding species include Gavia arctica, Aquila chrysaetos, Calidris temminckii, Stercorarius longicaudus (the southernmost regular breeding area in Europe), Lagopus lagopus, Lagopus mutus, Plectrophenax nivalis and Calcarius lapponicus. Hardangervidda was also, until recently, a traditional breeding area for Nyctea scandiaca, with up to at least 12-13 pairs in years of high rodent abundance. The last confirmed breeding record was in 1974, and the species appears to have stopped breeding in this area, for unknown reasons (although any records since 1974 may have been kept secret). One hypothesis is that increased tourism and disturbance may have driven the species away, another is that changes in rodent abundance (especially lemmings Lemmus) may have altered the food conditions for the owls in an unfavorable way.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Grazing sheep may have affected the vegetation, and thus altered the habitat requirements of many animals in this very fragile ecosystem. Increasing tourism is a potential problem. Studies in boreal montane ecology (including birds) have been carried out by several research institutions, especially the Universities of Bergen and Oslo and the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research.

Protected areas
National Partial International None342,200 ha of IBA covered by National Park (Hardangervidda, 342,200 ha).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Hardangervidda. Downloaded from on 31/03/2023.