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Browsing by Subject "nature conservation"

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  • Karlsson, Thomas Malte Molnár (2021)
    The way environmental issues are discursively constructed matters for how they are understood and what possibilities there are to solve them. This makes it relevant to investigate discourses around environmental issues and their proposed solutions. One such solution is ecological compensation, which has been widely implemented as a way to avoid environmental degradation and achieve no net loss of biodiversity. Compensation is also a contested mechanism, however, which has been shaped by the interplay of various discourses with diverging understandings of nature conservation. In this study, I investigate how ecological compensation is constructed by experts in Finland. Using the concept of storylines (Hajer 1995) I analyse 9 interviews conducted with experts involved in the discussion around ecological compensation, which is currently being implemented into Finnish legislation. Three storylines are identified which construct ecological compensation either as 1) a way to enable private actors to take environmental responsibility, 2) additional legislation to fill a “gap” in current conservation practices, or 3) a possibility to modify the relationship with nature by fostering local deliberations. This shows diverging understandings of ecological compensation among the experts and contestation over the way it should be implemented. What is at stake in the discussion are questions of how nature conservation should be understood, which makes ecological compensation pivotal for reconfiguring the field of nature conservation by shifting understandings of the roles and responsibilities involved. At the same time, consensus exists about the need to implement ecological compensation, which the experts all agree is the only possibility to stop biodiversity loss in Finland. This is traced to the interpretative flexibility of the ecological compensation concept which accommodates conflicting understandings and enables the experts to agree about the need for ecological compensation while contesting the “details” of how the implementation should take place. In that way, the implementation is supported despite contestation, and the discussion is focused on how – rather than whether – ecological compensation should be implemented.
  • 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.