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Browsing by Author "Klemelä, Anna"

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  • Klemelä, Anna (2022)
    The Baltic Sea consists of islands, islets, and underwater nature. The sea’s species and habitats form a complex, interdependent network. The Baltic Sea is a challenging environment due to its low salinity, slow water turnover, and the densely populated catchment area. Species in the Baltic Sea have adapted to these circumstances, but climate change, eutrophication and different human induced pressures threaten the sea’s biodiversity. Biodiversity loss can be mitigated through protection areas. However, protection is not always successful. For example, insects and fungi often lack sufficient protection, whereas animals such as birds are more eagerly protected. Humans tend to protect charismatic or beautiful species and ignore others, even when other species’ need for protection is more dire. Establishing effective marine protected areas (MPAs) is difficult as information on underwater life is lacking. Finland’s underwater nature is better known, as it has been explored in the VELMU programme since 2004. In this thesis I study the governing documents of privately owned MPAs established during the last ten years in the Baltic Sea. Privately owned MPAs are the most common MPA type in Finnish marine areas. My research questions are: 1) Which nature values are represented in the privately owned MPAs? 2) How well is the underwater nature represented? The number of governing documents is 63. My method is qualitative content analysis and quantification of data. The material was coded using Atlas.ti. The nature values in the governing documents formed three categories: vegetation, birds, and underwater nature. Protecting vegetation was mentioned in 52 documents, birds in 39 documents, and underwater nature in 28 documents. The protection of underwater nature was most often based on protecting underwater habitats outlined in the EU’s habitat directive, instead of protecting underwater species. Birds and vegetation in the archipelago are somewhat comprehensively protected in privately owned MPAs. Although all 63 MPAs included a water area, underwater nature is mentioned in less than half of the governing documents. Underwater nature values are not always mentioned even when the MPA consists mostly of water, or when the governing document mentions the beauty or value of the water area. Descriptions of underwater nature are also often lacking in detail compared to the descriptions of vegetation and birds. To ensure biodiversity both underwater and above, underwater nature values should be protected more efficiently. Especially from the perspective of bird protection, it is noteworthy that protection usually does not cover their underwater food sources.