The area consists of a stretch of coastline and five separate wetlands inland. The latter are remnants following extensive drainage during the twentieth century. The coastline at Lista typically consists of stony and sandy beaches and the site includes a large offshore area of shallow sea. The inland wetlands consist of nutrient-rich lakes, marshes and mudflats.
A notable staging area for waterbirds both in spring and autumn, e.g. for Calidris alpina (7,000 on passage). Numerous seabirds, birds of prey and passerines also make use of the wetland system during migration. More than 5,000 pairs of waterbird breed in the area, and 5,000-8,000 waterbirds winter there.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The major part of Lista (c.4,000 ha) was wetland until the Second World War, but the largest amount was drained as late as the 1980s. Although 90% of the site is now protected, birds and habitats in the area are still threatened by agriculture, industrialization (e.g. at Lundevågen) and tourism (e.g. disturbance of birds by sailing at Nordhasselbukta). Nature conservation in general, and conservation of Lista in particular, are treated as a low priority by local politicians and community leaders. These factors are putting great pressure on the existing protected areas. The area that remains unprotected (10% of the total) should be protected, to avoid further habitat destruction. Lista Bird Observatory has conducted standardized studies on migrating birds in the western parts of the area, and is taking part in the European-African Songbird Migration Network project (supported by the European Science Foundation). The local department of the Norwegian Ornithological Society monitors breeding waterbirds and migrating waders and ducks. The colony of Larus fuscus at Rauna Nature Reserve is counted and monitored annually, as part of the national seabird research programme, led by the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA). NINA also conducts annual counts of wintering waterbirds in the area.
National High International None147 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (Nesheimvann, 147 ha). 26 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (Rauna, 26 ha). 9 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (Røyrtjern, 9 ha). 11 ha of IBA covered by Flora and Fauna Protection Area (Lundevågen, 11 ha). 37 ha of IBA covered by Flora and Fauna Protection Area (Prestevannet, 37 ha). 257 ha of IBA covered by Landscape Protected Area (Hanangervann og Kråkenesvann, 257 ha).
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lista wetland system. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 23/01/2020.