Theme: Maintaining ecosystem services and biodiversity

“Having a comprehensive knowledge base is the only way to assess changes in the environment,” says Petri Ahlroth who is responsible for the theme ecosystem services and biological diversity at SYKE.


                                       © Tuomas Lahti

The constant changes in the nature and in our living environment can be understood and predicted by monitoring the state of the environment. A comprehensive knowledge base is a necessary precondition for assessing the impact of environmental change on ecosystems and humans. A total of 150 experts and researchers in the areas of environmental policy, biodiversity and ecosystem change work on these topics in different centres of the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE).

Research conducted in the theme ‘maintaining ecosystem services and biodiversity’ is characterised by high quality, innovativeness and solution orientation. For instance, environmental policy research analyses the governance and the impacts of land and natural resource use. Species and habitat inventories yield data on the condition of the natural and managed environment as well as its endangered status.

Key tasks under this theme include assessing the endangered status of organisms and habitats, developing their protection as well as specialist work related to the implementation of the EU Habitats and Birds Directives and the obligations of international agreements such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and the CITES Convention. Additionally, this area covers developing research based methods for restoring and managing habitats in collaboration with the administration as well as research institutes and universities. The connections between the status of the natural environment and societal decision-making are in focus in comprehensive ecosystem analyses at the landscape level or in contexts of dynamic or abrupt change imposed by e.g. climate change.

International cutting-edge research in this theme focuses on carbon and nutrient cycles, climate change and land use impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services as well as biodiversity conservation and governance of ecosystem services. Research is conducted in collaboration with international research networks such as the ALTER-Net, PEER and ESP.

In the future, it will be important to respond to challenge of endangered biodiversity, ecosystems and ecosystem services with research-based understanding and by supporting the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services (IPBES). As an influential hub of natural sciences, Finland has the capacity to influence environmental decision-making at an international scale and to support other countries to develop comprehensive monitoring systems. Our international research networks provide channels for responding to the information needs of IPBES and European commission. SYKE plays an important intermediary role this information dissemination endeavour.

Persons responsible for the theme


Petri Ahlroth


Director of SYKE’s Natural Environment Centre Petri Ahlroth




Director of SYKE’s Environmental Policy Centre , professor Eeva Furman

Personnel: Natural Environment Centre, Environmental Policy Centre, Freshwater Centre


  • EU Interreg Central Baltic Programme funding to the SustainBaltic project 2016-10-17
    EU Interreg Central Baltic Programme 2014-2020 is funding the implementation of the SustainBaltic project (ICZM Plans for Sustaining Coastal and Marine Human-ecological Networks in the Baltic Region) with around 1.023.000 e from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Active project period is of 27 months during 2016-2018.
  • New online tool to standardise assessment of the status of European seas 2016-03-22
    A new tool for the assessment of the state of the sea (NEAT) has been developed in a large joint European research project DEVOTES, which aims to develop indicators and assessment methods for marine biodiversity. The Finnish Environment Institute is one of the participants which include 23 research institutes from EU countries, Ukraine, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, as well as two American research institutes as observers.
  • The endangered white-backed woodpecker can thrive in commercial forests 2015-06-15
    UPM, WWF Finland, Finnish Environment Institute and Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife Finland have carried through a joint project to promote the living conditions of the endangered white-backed woodpecker in commercial forests. During the last 20 years, the population of the white-backed woodpecker has multiplied thanks to the conservation and management activities of its natural habitat. Today there are more than 200 pairs of white-backed woodpeckers nesting in our forests.
More news

Press releases

  • Nitrogen deposition affects population changes of butterfly and moth species in Finland 2016-10-06
    Large, mobile and multivoltine butterflies and moths that either utilise a wide variety host plants or have adapted to feed on nitrophilous plants are becoming more common in Finnish nature. Soil eutrophication caused by nitrogen deposition from the atmosphere has had a strong impact on the species that have flourished or declined in Finland over the past few decades.
  • The treaty ensuring the fair use of genetic resources comes into force in Finland 2016-09-01
    On 1 September, the Nagoya Protocol will come into force in Finland. It is an international treaty on the access to genetic resources and on fair and equitable sharing of benefits. Obligations arising from the Protocol and related regulations apply to all genetic resources of flora, fauna and microbes, when they are accessed for research and development activities.
  • Barnacle goose population declined in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area 2016-08-05
    The total number of barnacle geese grazing on the park lawns of Helsinki and eastern Espoo declined by four per cent compared to 2015. The number of goslings almost halved, declining by 46 per cent, compared to last year. This year, researchers from the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) counted a total of 5,720 barnacle geese, of which 484 were goslings.
More press releases
Published 2013-04-11 at 9:30, updated 2016-09-08 at 9:38