Integrated Biodiversity Conservation and Carbon Sequestration in the Changing Environment sykefi header valkoinen

The government must take urgent action for biodiversity and ecosystem services

News 2018-07-02 at 13:55
Conclusions of the workshop of Nature Panel and IBC-Carbon, 11 June 2018
Loggin. Photo Riku Lumiaro.


In order to safeguard forest biodiversity, it is crucial to increase funding for the METSO programme. This and the other recent recommendations provide decision-makers with concise information on the most important means to preserve forest biodiversity and ecosystem services in Finland. The recommendations are based on a workshop organised in April 2018 by Nature Panel (the Finnish national IPBES panel) and the IBC-Carbon project funded by the Strategic Research Council.


“The recommendations reflect the most recent research results on the alarming state of habitats and biodiversity at global level,” says Chair of Nature Panel, Jari Niemelä, Professor and rector elect, University of Helsinki.

In Finland, the most important threat to biodiversity is increasing forest harvesting. Research indicates that it results in both a loss of forest biodiversity and a reduction in carbon sinks.

“In support of decision-making, research-based information is needed on how sustainable forest use, carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation can be optimally reconciled,” says Consortium PI of the IBC-Carbon project, Martin Forsius, Research Professor of the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE).

The Integrated Biodiversity Conservation and Carbon Sequestration in the Changing Environment (IBC-Carbon) project produces information based on modelling and multiple data sources on the various values related to forests and improves the sustainability of Finnish forestry in a changing climate. The project coordinated by the Finnish Environment Institute also involves research groups from the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Helsinki, including the Finnish Museum of Natural History.
 

Biodiversity loss is a serious threat to economy

Various environmental taxes envisaged to compensate for adverse environmental impact as well as incentives to promote carbon sequestration were also discussed during the workshop. The participants agreed that a considerably higher amount of funding than provided at present is required to safeguard biodiversity and mitigate climate change – an amount in the order of EUR 1 billion was proposed.

This requirement is justified as biodiversity loss and climate change strengthen each other and present a growing threat to economy.

“The level of ambition must be immediately increased in biodiversity conservation and climate action. We cannot afford to endanger biodiversity, which is an important guarantee of us being able to adapt to a warming climate successfully. Postponing climate action only aggravates this development and increases the future costs of mitigation by several orders of magnitude,” says Markku Ollikainen, Professor of Environmental and Resource Economics at the University of Helsinki and one of the participants in the IBC-Carbon project.

Above all, the recommendations reflect the workshop participants’ concern and the need for urgent and effective action. The workshop also identified several opportunities to safeguard biodiversity and mitigate climate change simultaneously.

“With the upcoming parliamentary elections, I hope that the parties will take our message seriously. By following these recommendations, Finland would have the opportunity to act as an international trend-setter in environmental issues and implement the sustainable development goals more efficiently,” says Forsius.

 

For further information, please contact

Jari Niemelä, Chair of Nature Panel, firstname.lastname@helsinki.fi, tel. + 358 294 157 849.
Martin Forsius, Consortium PI of the IBC-Carbon project, firstname.lastname@ymparisto.fi, tel. +358 295 251 118.