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Framework for assessing and reversing ecosystem Ecosystem and biosphere degradation ultimately caused

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  • REPORTS OF THE MINISTRY OF THE ENVIRONMENT 15en | 2016

    ISBN 978-952-11-4603-9 (PDF) ISSN 1796-170X (online)

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    Ecosystem and biosphere degradation ultimately caused by increasing human population size

    and per capita consumption, are among the greatest threats for biodiversity and ecosystem

    services and indeed for the future of humankind. This report comprises the summary of

    results of the original proposition of the Finnish restoration prioritization working group on

    the options of restoring 15 percent of degraded ecosystems in Finland. The basis of this work

    lies on the Aichi targets, EU biodiversity strategy 2011–2020, and the resolution made by the

    Finnish Government that Finland participates in the global efforts to restore at least 15 percent

    of degraded ecosystems by the year 2020.

    Here we develop a procedure i) to systematically estimate the magnitude of degradation from

    which the 15 percent can be calculated, ii) to evaluate the magnitude of improvement different

    restoration measures can offer, and iii) to prioritize restoration measures within and between

    ecosystem types. The procedure is developed from the perspective of real-world operational

    feasibility while still retaining the ecologically most relevant components. Our results show

    that the overall loss of ecosystem condition of Finnish terrestrial ecosystems is close to 60

    percent. We show that if we focus on restoring 15 percent of one ecosystem type at the time,

    which is the modus operandi in many parts of the world, the overall cost of meeting the 15

    percent restoration target is more than twice compared to the prioritization approach we

    have developed here. If we were to choose one major conclusions from the report it is this:

    simultaneous prioritization of cost-effective restoration measures within and among ecosystem

    types is effective in delivering significant economic benefits. Thus, we must start preparing a shift

    from ecosystem-specific action plans and conservation schemes to plans focusing on multiple

    ecosystems simultaneously.

    Framework for assessing and reversing ecosystem degradation Report of the Finnish restoration prioritization working group on the options and costs of meeting the Aichi biodiversity target of restoring at least 15 percent of degraded ecosystems in Finland

    Janne S. Kotiaho, Saija Kuusela, Eini Nieminen, Jussi Päivinen and Atte Moilanen

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    MINISTRY OF THE ENVIRONMENT

  • REPORTS OF THE MINISTRY OF THE ENVIRONMENT 15en | 2016

    Framework for assessing and reversing ecosystem degradation Report of the Finnish restoration prioritization working group on the options and costs of meeting the Aichi biodiversity target of restoring at least 15 percent of degraded ecosystems in Finland

    Janne S. Kotiaho, Saija Kuusela, Eini Nieminen, Jussi Päivinen and Atte Moilanen

    Helsinki 2016

    MINISTRY OF THE ENVIRONMENT

  • REPORTS OF THE MINISTRY OF THE ENVIRONMENT 15en | 2016 Ministry Of the Environment Department of the Natural Environment

    Layout: Government Administration Unit, Publications Cover Photo: Markku Meriluoto

    The publication is available on the internet: www.ym.fi/julkaisut

    Helsinki 2016

    ISBN 978-952-11-4603-9 (PDF) ISSN 1796-170X (online)

  • PREFACE

    On 10 February 2014, the Finnish Ministry of the Environment appointed a restoration prioritization working group. The aim of the working group was to create a frame- work for assessing and reversing ecosystem degradation and to establish criteria for prioritization of restoration measures, taking into account benefits, costs and the cost-efficiency of the measures in order to support the national implementation of Target 2 of the EU strategy for biodiversity: “By 2020, ecosystems and their services are maintained and enhanced by establishing green infrastructure and restoring at least 15 % of degraded ecosystems.”. While conducting the work, the working group was to con- sider national policies set out in the strategy and action plan for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in Finland for 2012–2020. The working group was expected to specify the restoration need according to the national policies, draft a proposal for the restoration prioritization, and assess the overall costs of the proposal.

    The term of the working group was from 10 February 2014 to 31 May 2015. The working group held 16 meetings, several smaller meetings for experts and one seminar. The work involved approximately 100 people.

    Overall the working group was organised into a decision making group and three expert groups. The decision making group decided on the preparatory principles and provided consultancy for the expert groups. Expert groups were focused on for- ests, peatlands and cultural ecosystems. Outside the expert groups a few additional experts were consulted about inland waters, coastal areas, rocky outcrops and fell ecosystems. The expert groups assisted the decision making group and compiled data and analysed material on the current condition of ecosystems, restoration needs, responses of the ecosystem condition to restoration and the costs related to the res- toration measures. The decision making group examined and analysed the material and drafted the proposal. There were 2 dissenting opinions and 3 additional remarks on the original proposition.

  • 4 Reports Of The Ministry Of the Environment 15en | 2016

  • 5Reports Of The Ministry Of the Environment 15en | 2016

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    Preface .................................................................................................................................3

    Summary of key findings and propositions ..........................................................9

    1 Global conventions as the premise for ecosystem restoration .........13 The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the targets set in the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 .............................................................14

    Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 ...........................................................................................................14

    Government Resolution on the Strategy for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity in Finland for the years 2012–2020, ‘Saving Nature for People’ .......................................................................................15

    2 What do we mean with ecosystem restoration and other relevant concepts? ....................................................................................................................16

    Restoration and rehabilitation ................................................................................16

    Degraded ecosystem and the pre-degradation condition ..................................17

    Ecosystem and habitat ...............................................................................................19

    Ecosystem services .....................................................................................................20

    Restoration measures portfolio ...............................................................................20

    Prioritization and cost-efficiency ............................................................................21

    No Net Loss and applicability to biodiversity offsetting ..................................21

    3 Minimum requirements for conceptually sound ecosystem restoration ................................................................................................................22

    4 Procedure for assessing and reversing ecosystem degradation ........25

    5 Current condition of all terrestrial ecosystems in Finland and a detailed example for assessing and reversing ecosystem degradation in forests ..........................................................................................33

    Background information of Finnish forests ........................................................34

    A detailed example of the procedure .....................................................................36

    6 Restoration options and their costs ...............................................................50 Option 1: Equal reduction of the degree of degradation ...................................50

    Option 2: At any cost .................................................................................................52

    Option 3: Complete computational prioritization ..............................................53

    Option 4: Adjusted prioritization ...........................................................................54

    Alternative targets – letting go of the 15 percent target.....................................56

    Literature cited ..............................................................................................................58

    Documentation page ........................................................