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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 ecosystem services

Identified ecosystem services in the Nordic countries are presented in Table 8.1. In terms of provisioning services, timber production has an important socio-economic role in forested regions, while agricultural provisioning services such as cereal production are important in particular in southern parts of the Nordic countries. Reindeer herding remains an important livelihood in the north (Lapland) whereas fisheries provide significant income in coastal areas and around large inland lakes. In addition, berries, mushroom and game are of special importance to the Nordic countries, both in terms of income and associated cultural values (see Chapter 13).

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