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Browsing by Subject "birds"

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  • Lardot, Sofia (2023)
    The anthropause following the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 was followed by a heavy decline in people’s mobility and outdoor activities, which has had differing effects on biodiversity in urban areas. In Finland, outdoor activities were allowed, and as a result, the use of greenspaces increased notably in relation to pre-pandemic times. My objective was to study how people’s outdoor activities developed during the pandemic in the form of recreational bird-watching in the Helsinki metropolitan area (including Espoo, Vantaa, and Kauniainen). To accomplish this, I retrieved data on the number of bird observers from Tiira (a Finnish bird information service focused on bird observations), and related this data to the pandemic periods, also taking into account variables such as daily temperature and the use of parks. I found the highest number of bird-watchers during both lockdowns in 2020 and 2021. I also found that the number of bird-watchers was significantly higher after all restrictions were lifted, in 2022, when contrasted with pre-pandemic times. It is notable that the lockdowns happened at the same time as the bird Spring migration, a naturally popular time among bird-watchers. Thus, I consider that this may have had a synergistic role in people taking the opportunity to dedicate more time for bird-watching since they had more time to go outside due to strict restrictions. After all the restrictions were lifted in 2022, some bird-watchers continued to spend more time in bird-watching due to habit or increased appreciation for the activity or outdoors. The findings highlight the importance and potential of citizen science in observing birds and enabling more efficient conservation efforts for them. The results showing the development of bird-watching activities during the pandemic could also potentially be used as a proxy for other outdoor activities, and combined with other studies on the relations of COVID-19 on humans and other species could help to better understand the complex socio-ecological relationships in cities and greenspaces.
  • Hagman, Alli (2023)
    The aim of this study was to identify which bird impact types are considered significant in practice in Finnish environmental assessment reports regarding wind power. Increasing numbers of wind turbines can impact birds directly and indirectly, which could contribute to the loss of bird diversity. Amid climate change mitigation attempts, biodiversity loss should not be overlooked. Environmental impact assessment is an example of a policy tool for identifying and reducing the negative environmental effects of a project, including bird impacts. All wind power-related EIA reports with significant bird impacts were collected from the joint website of Finland’s environmental administration and analyzed with the help of qualitative content analysis. The 18 cases were divided according to the types of impacts found in the literature. Although all four impact types including collisions, displacement due to disturbance, barrier effect, and habitat change were considered significant in the EIAs, collisions were the most frequent. Very little comparable data about the significance of different impact types were found. However, collisions were the most researched impact type, which could have also contributed to the evaluation of its significance. The results corresponded to previous literature for the most part as Accipitriformes (diurnal birds of prey excluding falcons), according to several studies, are more vulnerable to the impacts of wind turbines. They were estimated to face significant impacts more often compared to other bird orders present in the materials. The reasonings between the cases were quite similar, despite the ambiguity of the significance assessment. In the cases where the reason for significance was stated, the level of protection of the species was the most common. The results also support the argument about how the impact type, the object of the impact, and the significance of an impact vary depending on the locations. The findings of this thesis suggest that scientific data is used at least partially in significance assessments. The results are useful in future research, developing EIA practices, and enhancing bird protection. Looking at significant impacts is relevant also in the future as the assessment of significance is not uncomplicated.
  • Lahti, Tuomas (2014)
    The purpose of this master's thesis was to study environmental impacts of nature-based tourism on vegetation, insect communities, birds and soil nitrogen levels in Käsivarsi wilderness area in the Finnish Lapland. Tourism is the largest industry in the world and nature-based tourism is the fastest growing segment of it. Nature-based tourism takes place in areas that holds great nature values. These areas are often protected to preserve significant nature values from negative impacts of human activities. This controversy creates disharmony between nature tourism and nature conservation. Most popular nature tourism destinations in Finland are state owned national parks and wilderness areas. Wilderness areas are not within strict nature conservation. They are areas defined by law for preserving the typical character of the remaining wilderness areas, preserving native Saami culture and for preserving and developing recreational use of these areas. Studies have shown that nature-based tourism has caused changes by erosion and human disturbance to vegetation, mammals and birds. The key study question was to examine if there are changes in the soil nitrogen levels around huts used by hikers. I was also a point of interest to discover what kind of bird, insect and plant communities occur around these huts. Main interest was to see if there are changes in these communities on a gradient from high human impact areas around the huts to more pristine mountainous areas. The study was performed around five huts with three study lines, which had study points 15, 30, 60, 120, 240, 480 and 960 meters away from the hut. Birds were observed from the same lines but with 200 meter point counting intervals. It was also studied whether the abundance of graminoids was affected by the soil nitrogen levels and if soil nitrogen levels or the abundance of graminoids influenced changes in insect or bird communities. Results show that nature-based tourism has an impact on soil ammonium and nitrate levels. This impact was visible in increased nitrate and ammonium levels on a 30 meter radius area around the huts. The observed fauna and flora around the huts were typical for the mountainous region in the northern Finland. There were no observed invasive species. No species was discovered to have a negative impact from nature-based tourism. Abundance of graminoids increased near the huts whereas plant species richness and vegetation biomass did not. The insect community was more diverse and abundant near the huts. Especially Amara brunnea ground beetle and rove beetles showed a clear increase in numbers near the huts. Birds were also more abundant and species rich near the huts. Especially insect eating bird species as a group were more abundant close to the hut compared to the surrounding study areas. The increased level of ammonium in the soil correlated with the increased graminoid and insect abundances. The increased graminoid abundance correlated also with the observed insect abundance. The influence between nature-based tourism and the changes in soils nitrogen levels and in the insect communities were scientifically demonstrated for the first time in this study. This thesis provides a comprehensive view of the effects that nature-based tourism has in the northern Finnish nature. The generalization of the result was weakened by the fact that the study was conducted only around five different huts and that the studied plant and animal communities were relatively diverse between these huts. The results are still substantial for the nature tourism in Käsivarsi wilderness area. The results can be useful for developing nature tourism infrastructure for the plausible new national park in the area.
  • Rokkanen, Susanna (2019)
    Biodiversity is declining across the globe. The IUCN Red List, which is often used to measure species’ risk to go extinct, is showing alarming biodiversity declines both globally and within Finland. The most commonly used tool for biodiversity conservation is the establishment of protected areas. The Conference of Parties (COP) of the international treaty for biodiversity conservation (The Convention on Biological Diversity), has set a target to expand the international protected area network to cover 17% of the terrestrial area of the world. However, the designation of protected areas carries costs in terms of both land-use and money. Relatively little is known about what protected areas can achieve at the species level, and only limited evidence exists that links the establishment of protected areas to an improved conservation status of species. The lack of knowledge is because protected area establishment and its effects are often hard to study due to inadequate data. In this thesis, I created a framework to study the link between the increase in protected areas and protected area investment in relation to the conservation status change of one taxonomic group, the breeding birds in Finland. I first investigated the general trend in conservation status of Finnish birds using the Red List Index 2015. I then studied the effect of increasing the protected area on Finnish bird species’ range and the monetary investment on protected areas on bird species’ range in comparison to change in their IUCN Red List assessments. The timeframe of the study was 1996-2010 for protected area establishment and 2010-2015 for bird species’ conservation status change. My results show that the conservation status of birds in Finland is considerably worse than before, with Red List Index being 0.779. This is approximately 9.2% decline from the Red List Index in 2010. The species that gained more protected area on their range during 1996-2010 did not fare better in terms of conservation status than the birds that gained less protected area on their range on the same period. This is possibly because the threshold where the protected areas would cover the species’ range sufficiently to enable the conservation of the whole population is still not reached even for species with the higher protection levels. Also, the species that had higher estimated monetary investment on the protected areas on their range did not acquire better conservation status development than the species on whose range there was less estimated monetary investment. The expansion of the Finnish protected area network in 1996-2010 did not help to change the negative trend of Finnish birds in 2010-2015. The species that gained more protection in terms of land or monetary investment during this period, were not showing better results than the species that gained less protection. These results hint that the protected areas in Finland are not effective in terms of bird conservation. This does not mean, however, that we can claim that they are ineffective in all aspects, as we don’t know what would have been the situation if there were no protected areas established at all. There are also several other factors that affect the conservation status development of birds in Finland. These include degradation of matrix habitats, hunting and climate change, which might all overrun the possible positive effects of the protected areas and protected area investment.