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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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Nordic ecoesystem services: status and trends

Making conclusions on the biophysical status of and trends in ecosystem services (i.e. ecosystems’ ability to provide services) relies on identifying indicators that either directly or indirectly reflect the biophysical status of services. In general, indicators of ecosystem services’ status and trends can be divided into indicators for the availability of a given service (quantity) or for the general status of natural system(s) (quality), both reflecting ecosystems’ general capacity to maintain and provide ecosystem services.

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