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Causes of threats

Despite the fact that the conservation of root vole has begun decades ago in all countries with its known occurrence, it is one of the most endangered small terrestrial mammals in this region. A loss of suitable habitats still represents the greatest threat. The main reasons are intensive meliorations and dewatering systems, tillage of lowland meadows, drying of wetlands, abandonment of traditional use of lowland meadows for grazing, reed cutting and collection, and intensification of agricultural and forestry production in general. As a result of these human activities, there was a significant decline in average water level in various parts of the project area. In some parts of the area, the water regime is artificially regulated. Previous natural seasonal variations in water regime in the area are nowadays strongly suppressed. As a result of this, areas with temporary water, shallow waters, reed beds and bent-grass have been reduced, which led to total drying of some areas. The most serious impact was on original wetlands that were left without surface water. The combination of these influences increases expansion of ruderal vegetation, which causes fragmentation and an extensive loss of suitable habitats for root vole. Increased population fragmentation along with habitat loss might result in genetic degradation and extinction, in particular in small isolated populations.