Restoration of damaged ecosystems in the Nordic countries

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The ReNo network has consolidated knowledge on ecological restoration work in the Nordic region and facilitated exchange of this knowledge within and between the Nordic countries. Scientific papers, reports on the status of restoration, guidebooks on restoration, and analyses of ecological restoration in the area have been published as a result of the network. Ecosystem degradation is a problem in all the Nordic countries, but varies in nature, severity and scale between the countries. In order to counteract present and past ecological degradation, all the Nordic countries emphasise ecological restoration, but to various degrees. Ecological restoration has the potential to make a critical contribution for the benefit of the global environment and human living conditions. The ReNo network recommends that this important activity should be prioritized in Nordic environmental policy.



Perspectives in ecological restoration in the Nordic countries

Ecological restoration is a relatively young field of science, whereas the history of reclamation or rehabilitation of degraded areas in the Nordic countries can, in some instances, be traced back more than one hundred years (Aradóttir & Halldórsson 2011). Such activities, which predate the concept “ecological restoration”, were obviously not planned to serve the purpose of ecological restoration and mostly had a minor focus on ecological processes. Examples of such projects include seeding/fertilization of degraded heathland; planting/seeding of native forest tree species; seeding spoil heaps, mines and roadsides; and restocking fish populations in regulated rivers (Aradóttir & Halldórsson 2011). These older activities were often related to relatively narrow targets, such as improving pasture land for agriculture; production of firewood; rehabilitation of areas after construction work; and recreational fishing. However, many of these projects have later turned out to fulfill many of the criteria for ecological restoration, although this was not the original purpose (Aradóttir & Halldórsson 2011).


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