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Policy support to create understanding of the EU’s biodiversity strategy and the impacts of the Nature Restoration Law

Over the past two years the European Commission has published a variety of proposals for policy actions that will have effects on the use of natural resources. The actions highlight the need for promoting climate and biodiversity goals, which also has implications on the economy and sources of livelihood in Finland.

In spring 2020, the European Commission published the EU Biodiversity Strategy, which aims to put Europe’s biodiversity on a path to recovery by 2030. The means for achieving the goal include, for example, increasing protection and restoration of ecosystems.

The goals related to restoration will be implemented through the legally binding restoration regulation. Both the Biodiversity Strategy and the Proposal for a Regulation on Nature Restoration are broad entities whose impacts on the natural resources sector are challenging to assess.

Photo: Unsplash / Steven Kamenar

We produced information on the effects of future regulation in Finland

Our task is to support decision making and public authorities by providing information about the measures that can be used to support diversity and curb climate change.

We have produced several reports on both the Nature Restoration Law and the Biodiversity Strategy. According to the report on restoration, the goal of restoring natural habitats would involve the restoration of approximately 2–6 million hectares, and operational costs of €13–19 billion by 2050 in Finland.

We also evaluated the economic effects of strict forest protection, which may increase as a result of the Biodiversity Strategy. The results of the evaluation indicate that the significance of the impacts depends on the implementation of the protection.

To disseminate the information, we organised a webinar that reached a wide audience, shared information at events organised by stakeholders, and offered consultation for Finnish Members of the European Parliament.

Our work has increased understanding of the possible effects

Our goal was to offer decision makers and stakeholders information to improve overall understanding and support decision making. We have increased understanding of the scale of the possible impacts, and thus contributed to forming a national stance on these issues. We have also increased the common understanding of the content and possible implications of the Biodiversity Strategy and the Proposal for a Regulation on Nature Restoration.

The information we have provided has, for example, helped stakeholders to comprehend what kind of effects restoration may have on peatland-dominated areas.

“The impacts on sources of livelihood depend on how the actions are directed in different areas, and what kinds of incentives will be created for the actions”, says research professor Heikki Lehtonen.