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State of biodiversity in the Nordic countries

An assessment of progress towards achieving the target of halting biodiversity loss by 2010

image of State of biodiversity in the Nordic countries

The Nordic countries have agreed on a common target to halt the decline in biodiversity by 2010. This report aims at evaluating the 2010-target by presenting indicators that can describe trends in biodiversity in the Nordic countries. Our results comprise the most comprehensive documentation of land use in the Nordic countries to date. The area of important nature types such as mire, grassland and heathland have decreased significantly over the past one to two decades, whereas the area of constructed habitats, including city areas and transport networks, has grown considerably in all of the Nordic countries. Each of these trends in land use will cause biodiversity to decline. Looking into the quality aspect of biodiversity, our results reveal that two-thirds of the quality indicators presented show declines and the remaining one-third show improvements (or steady-state). Overall, our results indicate that biodiversity has declined in the Nordic countries since 1990. In particular, farmland, mire, grassland and heathland habitats show declines in biodiversity, but also the remaining habitats show negative trends. Therefore, based on the findings from this study, we conclude that it is highly unlikely that the target of halting biodiversity loss by 2010 can be achieved by the Nordic countries. Our results should be perceived as a first attempt to make an overall assessment of biodiversity in the Nordic countries. We believe that if further efforts were directed towards scrutinising existing and historic monitoring programmes and data sources, additional indicators could be calculated and hence a better knowledge base would be achieved.

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Developing indicators for biodiversity

The importance of protecting biodiversity has been widely acknowledged on the international political arena. Countries participating in The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) have committed themselves 'to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on earth' (UNEP 2002). The EU member countries have adopted an even more ambitious target, not only to significantly reduce but to halt the decline in biodiversity by 2010 (European Council 2001). The implementation of all policies affecting biodiversity should contribute towards meeting this goal. The state and trend of biodiversity should also be measured in order to assess the effects of implemented policies.

English

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