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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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Setting the scene

Biodiversity loss can degrade ecosystems and impact the ability of ecosystems to contribute to people. The last 20 years of ecosystem service research has increased society’s interest in fighting the consequences of ecosystem degradation. During the last decades, attitudes towards conservation have been shaped in many ways. According to Mace (2014), “nature for itself” was a key principle during 1960s–1970s supporting concepts such as protected and wilderness areas. Human pressures on nature during the 1980s and early 1990s resulted in extinctions, habitat loss, and pollution, which made it urgent to act for “nature despite of people”. That period was followed by a “nature for people” period, in which biodiversity challenges were mainstreamed via concepts such as ecosystem approach, ecosystem services and economic values. The latest paradigm, which was developed by Mace (2014) is called “people and nature”. Key concepts in conservation circles include environmental change, resilience, adaptability and socio-ecological systems.

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