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

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Published 2013-04-11 at 9:30, updated 2016-05-19 at 15:19