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The Nordic Aichi restoration project

How can the Nordic countries implement the CBD-target on restoration of 15% of degraded ecosystems within 2020?

image of The Nordic Aichi restoration project

The Convention of Biological Diversity commits the parties to halt the loss of biodiversity within 2020. For accomplishing this task, the Aichi targets have been established. Aichi target 15 aims at restoring 15% of damaged ecosystems by 2020. The Nordic countries are parties to CBD, and committed to the Aichi targets. This project will establish a basis that may be used by the management and political authorities in the Nordic countries for achieving Aichi target 15 on restoration of degraded ecosystems. The report explores the possibilities, limitations and challenges on how ecological restoration can contribute to the Aichi target, based on available knowledge and existing statistics on degraded land and restoration experiences in the Nordic countries and Estonia. This is intended as a contribution for future work at the national level and in local communities.

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Degraded land

Eco-physical and social consequences of land degradation have been well documented and the cost of land degradation is a global issue, due to loss of biodiversity, damage to health and welfare of people, reduction of ecosystem services, and reduction of resilience to climate change (MEA 2005, TEEB 2010). In MEA and other initiatives the focus has often been on desertification in dry regions and areas in the tropics, far from the Nordic countries. Degraded land is however indeed also present in the Nordic region and concern have risen during the last decades as increased pressures on nature values and biodiversity have been documented in most ecosystems, although at different levels and intensities (Halldórsson et al. 2012, Normander et al. 2012). The dramatic example of erosion and land degradation, caused by overgrazing and deforestation on Icelandic volcanic soils is the most striking example in the Nordic (Figure 4.1). On the other hand, the abandonment of traditional mowing and grazing practices in the other Nordic countries during the last century has resulted in severe losses of semi-natural grasslands and their associated species. Today, agriculture, forestry, infrastructure development, invasive species, overgrazing, tourism and urbanization put pressure on all habitat types in the Nordic countries (Hagen et al. 2013) and Estonia (Estonian Ministry of Environment). A changing climate with increasing risks for natural hazards like flooding and landslides may increase the extent of degraded land (Schiermeier 2011).

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