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Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Nordic Coastal Ecosystems: An IPBES-Like Assessment

Volume 1: The General Overview

image of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Nordic Coastal Ecosystems: An IPBES-Like Assessment

This report describes the status and trends of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the Nordic region, the drivers and pressures affecting them, interactions and effects on people and society, and options for governance. The main report consists of two volumes. Volume 1 The general overview (this report) and Volume 2 The geographical case studies. This study has been inspired by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services (IPBES). It departs from case studies (Volume 2, the geographical case studies) from ten geographical areas in the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden) and the autonomous areas of Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Åland. The aim was to describe status and trends of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the Nordic region, including the drivers and pressures affecting these ecosystems, the effects on people and society and options for governance. The Nordic study is structured as closely as possible to the framework for the regional assessments currently being finalized within IPBES. The report highlights environmental differences and similarities in the Nordic coastal areas, like the inhabitants’ relation to nature and the environment as well as similarities in social and policy instruments between the Nordic countries. This study provides background material for decision-making and it is shown that Nordic cooperation is of great importance for sustainable coastal management and should be strengthened in future work.

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Status and Trends of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function

This chapter provides an overview of the status and trends in biodiversity and ecosystem function through assessment of key species and habitats, and summarizes the ecological status of selected Nordic regions. Important habitats across the Nordic coastal region include sea grass beds, kelp forests, blue mussel beds and soft sediments. Declines in sea grass have occurred since the 1970’s, most likely due to eutrophication and overfishing. Norwegian kelp forests are recovering following severe losses in the 1960–1970’s, most likely due to increased water temperature and changes in grazing pressure. Seabird populations have declined significantly during the last decades, reaching historical lows. Knowledge gaps are identified and a common biodiversity indicator system across the Nordic region is suggested. An indigenous local knowledge perspective is also presented.

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