HABITAT - Foto: Brynjar Stautland

Fotograf: Brynjar Stautland


Sunnhordland owns a variety of landscapes, from weather beaten islands and skerries facing the ocean, till deep forests, long fjords, impressing waterfalls and glaciers in alpine mountains. The Gulf Stream gives us a mild and wet climate with average temperature of 5 degrees Celsius in January - February and 18 in July. Climate and landscape make Sunnhordland an oasis of rare nature types and species, specially linked to the boreonemoral rainforests. Several of these species are red listed (in danger of extinction).

Lynghei - Foto: Brynjar Stautland

Photo: Brynjar Stautland


have embossed the coast from Portugal to Lofoten quite since human beings with agricultural skills immigrated to these coasts. To our landscapes this happened appr. 4000 years ago. The forests were burned down to get winter pastures for sheep. The most common heather species here are True heather, Bell-heather, and Cross-leaved heather. So far heathlands are a common feature in Sunnhordland, yet fewer grazing livestock will successively lead to reduction of the heathlands which also are depending on regular burning of the fields.

The forests

on Vestlandet is dominated by coastal pine forests. The mild climate gives good conditions for specialized mosses and lichens with very narrowly world distribution. Such species are most often found in north facing slopes and are called boreonemoral rainforest. «Boreonemoral» after the vegetation zone in which Sunnhordland are situated. The most seldom lichen species are mostly found on deciduous trees like Roe and Hazel blended with the rainforests (Arthonia, Thelotrema, Coniocarpon and Pyrenula)

Furuskog - Foto: Jan Rabben

Photo: Jan Rabben

Photo: Hovaneset, Per Fadnes


Sørvestlandet er rikt på gamalt beiteland som har vore nytta gjennom tusenåra, beita av tamdyr og lite gjødsla utanom det dyra legg igjen.  Hovaneset i Stord kommune er ein slik lokalitet som i tillegg har gravrøyser frå bronsealderen.  Gravrøysene (kystrøys) vart plasserte på øyar og nes ut mot farleia slik at forbipasserande skulle sjå at landet var «oppteke».  Lokalitetar som Hovaneset med lang brukstid (kontinuitet) har særeigne beitemark-soppar som ein berre finn i slike miljø. Hovaneset er den rikaste lokaliteten i Noreg når det gjeld slike arter. Omlag 90 ulike arter av beitemark-soppar er funne her, av desse er 40 raudlista (Artsdatabanken 2015). Men dette er berre ein av fleire slike  lokalitetar i Sunnhordland. I 2019 vart det funne ein ny art for Noreg på denne lokaliteten, og sjansen for å finne fleire slike her er til stades.

Nærnaturen i Sunnhordland

Me vonar at dette vesle heftet vil inspirera
deg til å gå ut på oppdagarferd, bli kjend med plantar, dyr og fuglar og nyta den unike naturen Sunnhordland har å by på. Kanskje får du lyst til å læra meir? Kanskje kan heftet få vere med familien på artsskattejakt og eller turar i dei ulike naturtypane våre? 

Klikk her for å sjå det digitale heftet!

Furuskog - Foto: Jan Rabben



Fluøyane Nesting Reserve, Tysnes

This reserve is a group of islands in the Bjørnafjord north of Tysnes, and has been prioritized for ring-marking of birds since 1987.

It is one of the most important and versatile seabird reserves in Vestland county.

Source: www.naturbase.no


The Salamander-park,

In the middle of Sveio centre there is a reserve for the protected Northern crested newt. 3-4000 years ago, this newt was spread over large parts of Vestland county. Today it is rare both in Norway and in the rest of Europe. One reason is that newt and fish cannot co-exist. The ponds in the park doesn’t hold fish.

If you spot a newt ashore, you should leave it alone. Despite their poison, they are vulnerable on dry land.

Source: Visit Norway's website.

Salamander-parken - Foto: Ida Vollum

Photo: Ida Vollum, VN


Folgefonna nasional park,

Folgefonna glacier consists of three glaciers: Nordfonna, Midtfonna and Sørfonna, as well as numerous tiny glaciers, the glaciers altogether covering 207 km2 of a total of 545 km2. Measurements show that the glacier is almost 400 meters at its thickest, and at its highest point annual precipitation is 5500 mm. Like bread dough resting on an uneven surface, the glacier is slowly seeking lower ground. Glacier arms pour into the surrounding valleys, even forming icefalls where the terrain is particularly steep. The dramatic Bondhusbrea offers one such dramatic icefall – and the sight is unforgettable!

Folgefonna National Park was established in 2005. It is one of 46 Norwegian national parks. As the name implies, at its heart is Folgefonna, Norway’s southernmost and third largest glacier. The gateways to Folgefonna National Park, as well as the many attractions and facilities in its vicinity, are continually being developed to enhance the experience of visitors. Four wilderness preserves border the national park: Bondhusdalen, Buardalen, Ænesdalen and Hattebergsdalen.

Between the glacier and the fjords there are several ecosystems and habitats. The ice surface of the glacier, valleys with deep shadows and calm bays by the fjord makes different demands to the creatures living there. The Red deer is numerous in these valleys, and of predators there is marten, lynx, fox and ermine. In the 15. and 16.th century here was bears and wolves which was eradicated early 1900-. Kvinnherad is today the municipality in Norway with the highest number of annual felling permits (appr. 1500 a year).

Source: Folgefonna nasjonal park's website.



The protected area is one of three adjacent reserves (Skogafjellet, Sagvatnet, Tjongspollen), all influenced by the ocean, lying in a boreonemoral vegetation zone characterized by coniferous forests with elements of rich mesophotic deciduous forests.

Photo: Tjongsmarka, Brynjar Stautland

The highest point is 179 m. above sea level, and the area is a mosaic of forests, heathlands, marshes, lakes, and ponds.

The bedrock is diverse but contains rock which favors a rich flora of demanding species. Green slate and greenstone are dominating, but here is also more poor rock as quartz porphyry. It is primarily the rich flora that qualifies this area as a reserve.

Of mammals the red deer is the most common in this area. The population has increased since the 1950’s as in the rest of the West coast of Norway.  Ophrydium versatile. Det er nokre få cm store klumpar av eincella organismar som per definisjon verken er dyr eller plante. Kvar celle klumpar seg saman og festar seg til kvarandre med eit slags sekret. Dei lever i symbiose med den mikroskopiske alga Chlorella som lever inne i Ophrydium‐cellene og dermed gjev den grøne fargen. Desse krev også på lik line med augestikkarane reint klart vatn, og er såleis ein god indikator på at tilstanden i vassdraget i skogreservatet er god.

Source: Conservation plan for Sagvatnet nature reserve


Trollsøya, Austevoll

Protected area for Lobsters

The lobster (Homarus gammarus) was red listed in Norway in 2022, and Trollsøya in Austevoll municipality is the first marine area in Sunnhordland which is protected to improve management of the lobster population. In 2019 it was 1,8 times as many lobsters in the protected area compared to the reference area, and in 2021 this relation was increased till a number 3,1 times higher.

Three weeks into the lobster season there is a major change in this relation, with Trollsøya having between 6,4- and 8,2-times higher population than in the reference area.

This indicates the effect of the comprehensive leisure lobster fishery, where the population in the reference area is reduced by between 47 and 80 % after three weeks of fishery.

Source; Marsteinen