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Socio-economic importance of ecosystem services in the Nordic Countries

Synthesis in the context of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB)

image of Socio-economic importance of ecosystem services in the Nordic Countries

Nature provides a range of benefits (ecosystem services) that underpin human and socio-economic well-being. Many of these benefits – and the associated economic values – are not acknowledged in decision-making. As a result, nature remains almost invisible in the political and individual choices made. This report presents a synthesis of the socio-economic importance of ecosystem services in the Nordic countries. The study was initiated by the Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM) and the NCM Finnish Presidency in 2011, following in the footsteps of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) initiative. The study reveals that Nordic ecosystems play an integral role in supporting socio-economic wellbeing. However, a number of gaps in the existing information base still need to be addressed to ensure that these benefits are fully integrated into the Nordic decision-making processes.

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Aims and structure of the report

Following in the footsteps of the global TEEB initiative, the aim of TEEB Nordic was to carry out a synthesis of the existing information on the socio-economic role and significance of biodiversity and ecosystem services for the Nordic countries. Based on the existing data, the project identified the range of ecosystem services maintained by healthy, wellfunctioning Nordic ecosystems and synthesised available information on the present status, trends and socio-economic importance of these services (e.g. gaps in the current knowledge base). Finally, the project explored key needs and opportunities for future policy action to integrate the true value of nature into decision-making processes, including possible areas for Nordic cooperation.

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