Moose, known as elk in Norway, can be found in abundance in northern Norway. Photo by Ilhan Gendron.

Northern Norway is rich in its diversity of flora (plants) and fauna (animals). The primary flora found in Norway are heather, mountain birch, dwarf birch, and shrub willow. Fir, spruce, and pine trees are also abundant. Notably, only 27 percent of Norway is covered by forest. Taiga, or boreal forest, is found inland and in northern Norway. Arctic tundra can be found in Finnmark, in the far north of Norway. Tundra consists of treeless plains that are frozen for much of the year.

One of most common animals in northern Norway is the elk. In fact, elk (or, as we call them in the United States, “moose”) are so populous that there are signs along most roads warning drivers to be on the lookout for them. Other common fauna include roe deer, red deer, foxes, hares, reindeer, badgers, wolverines, lynx, wolves, owls, hawks, mice, squirrels, gulls, and ducks. Reindeer are a domesticated animal in northern Norway, and reindeer husbandry is legally protected as an exclusive Sami livelihood.

Until the middle of the 19th century, there were large populations of the four large carnivores, brown bear (Ursus arctus), wolverine (Gulo gulo), wolf (Canis lupis) and lynx (Lynx lynx), throughout much of Norway. All four species were relentlessly hunted, and as a result wolves and bears were almost exterminated by the middle of the 20th century. Since then, their populations have shown signs of recovery. From State of the Environment Norway
Norway’s puffin population makes up about 30% of the world’s overall puffin population. Photo by Bragi Thor.

There are a multitude of seabirds and fish varieties found in the north. The Lofoten Islands have the largest population of sea eagles in the world and are home to some of the largest seabird colonies in Europe. Norway’s puffin population makes up about 30% of the world’s overall puffin population, though it has declined by two-thirds over the past 30 years.

The Fishing in Norway website discusses the many varieties of fish found in Norway. Another website, Birding Norway, provides a information about birds, including where different species can be found and more. Norway is home to a recorded 473 bird species, and more than 200 different species of fish and shellfish inhabit the sea surrounding Norway. Cod are the most popular fish found in the waters in northern Norway, but halibut, monkfish, mackerel, saithe, haddock, pollack, and ling are found there as well.

A variety of whales can be found in the coastal sea and fjords, including minke, fin, pilot, beluga, and orca (killer) whales. Populations of seals and walruses are also found in the Norwegian Sea.

Reindeer are a domesticated animal in northern Norway, and reindeer husbandry is legally protected as an exclusive Sami livelihood. This reindeer is crossing a remote stretch of road in the Lyngen Alps.
In European Arctic lands reindeer herders have been working for hundreds of years. In the summer months the animals move south from the treeless tundra plains where they live on the sedges and flowering tundra to the taiga forest where they might winter, although they prefer the tundra. From Discovering the Arctic