72 Developing a biodiversity indicator collection for Finland
Project in short
The aim of the project is to develop a collection of indicators for Finland's biological diversity. Once completed the collection will enable making holistic assessments of the development species and ecosystems in Finland and act as a central resource for various policy evaluations. The collection will primarily be published on the Internet, yet it also provides a solid basis for printed reports. Indicator development is carried out as a joint project between research organisations involved in biodiversity in Finland and it is coordinated by the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE).
The project is largely based on existing data and previously published indicators. Especially the indicators used in the evaluation of the Finnish National Biodiversity Action Plan 1997-2005 as well as the Finnish sustainable development indicators and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry's natural resource indicators are central to this project.
In addition to some commonly used variables (number of red-listed species, extent of protected areas) the project focuses on developing indicators that are based on the annual monitoring schemes of some well-known species groups such as birds, butterflies and wildlife. Changes in these groups can be interpreted with more confidence. Also, the data gathering required for the monitoring of birds, butterflies and wildlife benefits from the work of a large and well-organised group of volunteers.
The biodiversity indicator collection aims to provide a good information basis for national decision making. The project will support the fulfilling of Finland's international obligations and will encourage volunteers to partake in biodiversity monitoring schemes. It also increases cooperation between different research organisations, NGO's and government sectors working with biodiversity issues.
A number of indicators illustrating the development of biodiversity have been developed in Finland, but this has taken place in individual and largely uncoordinated projects. Few overall evaluations or thematic summaries have been so far presented.
The targets set by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and EU to significantly reduce or even halt the loss of biodiversity by year 2010 have resulted in increasing effort being invested in developing biodiversity indicators. The reaching of the 2010 target will be evaluated by means of indicators. Many of these indicators are being developed in the SEBI2010 project coordinated by the European Environment Agency (EEA).
According to recommendations given e.g. by EU the development of indicators should be undertaken according to the DPSIR framework (DPSIR: drivers - pressures - state - impacts - responses), which underlines the tracking of the cause and effect relationships influecing biodiversity change. In this context there is a need to develop indicators on the pressures befalling on biodiversity as well as on the effectiveness of the exercised biodiversity policies. Also biodiversity generated ecosystem services should be monitored by means on indicators.
The project will be carried out as a joint project between the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), Finnish Museum of Natural History, Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute and Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla). The partnership also includes the Natural Heritage Services of Metsähallitus, South Karelia Allergy and Environment Institute and BirdLife Finland.
The project cooperates with the Ducth and Danish environmental research agencies (ECNC, RIVM, NERI), which also participate in the ALTER-Net network. The project also communicates with the SEBI2010 project.
Main responsibility over the coordination of the project is held by SYKE. The Partners have nominated a steering group for the project, which, in addition to the cooperating parties, includes representatives from the Ministry of the Environment and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
Publications and events
A background study for the project:
Auvinen, A-P., Hilden, M., Toivonen, H., Primmer, E., Niemelä, J. ym. 2007. Evaluation of the Finnish National Biodiversity Action Plan 1997-2005. Monographs of the Boreal Environment Research 29. 54 s.
Normander, B., Glimskär, A., Stabbetorp, O., Auvinen, A-P., Levin, G. & Gudmundsson, G.A. 2006. Aggregation of indicators for biological diversity in Nordic countries. TemaNord 2006:554, 47 s.
Normander, B., Levin, G, Auvinen, A.-P., Bratli, H., Glimskär, A., Stabbetorp, O. ja Gudmundsson, G.A. (toim.) 2008. Biodiversity in the Nordic countries – Reaching the 2010 target? TemaNord. Script.
Results of the project have been scheduled to be published as follows:
- Biodiversity indicator collection and the associated Internet site (2008)
- An indicator based evaluation of the state of Finland's biodiversity (2008)
- 1-2 scientific publications on the methodology of the project in international peer-reviewed series (e.g. environmental politics, applied ecology), (2007-2008)
- Articles in professional journals and press releases for the media (2006-2008)
The project will hold meetings with other projects in the Environmental Cluster Research Programme and organise an open to all seminar focusing on the scientific foundation and usefulness of the indicators collection in late 2007.
Heikki Toivonen, project leader, tel. +358 20 490 2208 or
+358 40 740 1689, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ari-Pekka Auvinen, researcher, tel. +358 400 148 712, email@example.com
Mikko Kuusinen, project supervisor, firstname.lastname@example.org