Browsing by Subject "climate changes"

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  • Ropero, Rosa F.; Maldonado, Ana D.; Uusitalo, Laura; Salmerón, Antonio; Rumí, Rafael; Aguilera, Pedro A. (MDPI AG, 2021)
    Agronomy 11(4), 740
    Detecting socio-ecological boundaries in traditional rural landscapes is very important for the planning and sustainability of these landscapes. Most of the traditional methods to detect ecological boundaries have two major shortcomings: they are unable to include uncertainty, and they often exclude socio-economic information. This paper presents a new approach, based on unsupervised Bayesian network classifiers, to find spatial clusters and their boundaries in socio-ecological systems. As a case study, a Mediterranean cultural landscape was used. As a result, six socio-ecological sectors, following both longitudinal and altitudinal gradients, were identified. In addition, different socio-ecological boundaries were detected using a probability threshold. Thanks to its probabilistic nature, the proposed method allows experts and stakeholders to distinguish between different levels of uncertainty in landscape management. The inherent complexity and heterogeneity of the natural landscape is easily handled by Bayesian networks. Moreover, variables from different sources and characteristics can be simultaneously included. These features confer an advantage over other traditional techniques.
  • Bhattacharjee, Joy; Rabbil, Mehedi; Fazel, Nasim; Darabi, Hamid; Choubin, Bahram; Khan, Md. Motiur Rahman; Marttila, Hannu; Haghighi, Ali Torabi (Elsevier, 2021)
    Science of the Total Environment 797 (2021), 149034
    Lake water level fluctuation is a function of hydro-meteorological components, namely input, and output to the system. The combination of these components from in-situ and remote sensing sources has been used in this study to define multiple scenarios, which are the major explanatory pathways to assess lake water levels. The goal is to analyze each scenario through the application of the water balance equation to simulate lake water levels. The largest lake in Iran, Lake Urmia, has been selected in this study as it needs a great deal of attention in terms of water management issues. We ran a monthly water balance simulation of nineteen scenarios for Lake Urmia from 2003 to 2007 by applying different combinations of data, including observed and remotely sensed water level, flow, evaporation, and rainfall. We used readily available water level data from Hydrosat, Hydroweb, and DAHITI platforms; evapotranspiration from MODIS and rainfall from TRMM. The analysis suggests that the consideration of field data in the algorithm as the initial water level can reproduce the fluctuation of Lake Urmia water level in the best way. The scenario that combines in-situ meteorological components is the closest match to the observed water level of Lake Urmia. Almost all scenarios showed good dynamics with the field water level, but we found that nine out of nineteen scenarios did not vary significantly in terms of dynamics. The results also reveal that, even without any field data, the proposed scenario, which consists entirely of remote sensing components, is capable of estimating water level fluctuation in a lake. The analysis also explains the necessity of using proper data sources to act on water regulations and managerial decisions to understand the temporal phenomenon not only for Lake Urmia but also for other lakes in semi-arid regions.
  • Vihanninjoki, Vesa (Finnish Environment Institute, 2014)
    Reports of the Finnish Environment Institute 41/2014
    Due to the Arctic climate change and the related diminishing of Arctic sea ice cover, the general conditions for Arctic shipping are changing. The retreat of Arctic sea ice opens up new routes for maritime transportation, both trans-Arctic passages and new alternatives within the Arctic region. Hence the amount of Arctic shipping is presumed to increase. Despite the observed development, the sailing conditions in the Arctic waters will remain challenging. Thus particular attention will be required also in the future with regard to crew, fleet and other infrastructural issues. In addition to other apparent challenges and risks, the increase in Arctic shipping will lead to an increased amount of emissions. The increased emissions may have considerable and unpredictable influences to the particularly sensitive Arctic environment. With regard to emission species, especially black carbon is presumed to have climatic sig-nificance within the Arctic context. Black carbon absorbs solar radiation very effectively, and when deposited to snow or sea ice cover, it may notably alter the radiative equilibrium of the Arctic region. The increased Arctic marine activities produce black carbon emissions, whose climate impacts are assessed in this report.
  • Camarena‐Gómez, María Teresa; Ruiz‐González, Clara; Piiparinen, Jonna; Lipsewers, Tobias; Sobrino, Cristina; Logares, Ramiro; Spilling, Kristian (American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, 2021)
    Limnology and Oceanography 66: 1, 255-271
    In parts of the Baltic Sea, the phytoplankton spring bloom communities, commonly dominated by diatoms, are shifting toward the co-occurrence of diatoms and dinoflagellates. Although phytoplankton are known to shape the composition and function of associated bacterioplankton communities, the potential bacterial responses to such a decrease of diatoms are unknown. Here we explored the changes in bacterial communities and heterotrophic production during the spring bloom in four consecutive spring blooms across several sub-basins of the Baltic Sea and related them to changes in environmental variables and in phytoplankton community structure. The taxonomic structure of bacterioplankton assemblages was partially explained by salinity and temperature but also linked to the phytoplankton community. Higher carbon biomass of the diatoms Achnanthes taeniata, Skeletonema marinoi, Thalassiosira levanderi, and Chaetoceros spp. was associated with more diverse bacterial communities dominated by copiotrophic bacteria (Flavobacteriia, Gammaproteobacteria, and Betaproteobacteria) and higher bacterial production. During dinoflagellate dominance, bacterial production was low and bacterial communities were dominated by Alphaproteobacteria, mainly SAR11. Our results suggest that increases in dinoflagellate abundance during the spring bloom will largely affect the structuring and functioning of the associated bacterial communities. This could decrease pelagic remineralization of organic matter and possibly affect the bacterial grazers communities.
  • Olofsson, Malin; Suikkanen, Sanna; Kobos, Justyna; Wasmund, Norbert; Karlson, Bengt (Elsevier, 2020)
    Harmful Algae
    Almost every summer, dense blooms of filamentous cyanobacteria are formed in the Baltic Sea. These blooms may cause problems for tourism and ecosystem services, where surface accumulations and beach fouling are commonly occurring. Future changes in environmental drivers, including climate change and other anthropogenic disturbances, may further enhance these problems. By compiling monitoring data from countries adjacent to the Baltic Sea, we present spatial and temporal genus-specific distribution of diazotrophic filamentous cyanobacteria (Nostocales) during four decades (1979–2017). While the summer surface salinity decreased with a half up to one unit, the surface temperature in July-August increased with 2–3 °C in most sub-basins of the Baltic Sea, during the time period. The biovolumes of the toxic Nodularia spumigena did not change in any of the sub-basins during the period. On the other hand, the biovolume of the non-toxic Aphanizomenon sp. and the potentially toxic Dolichospermum spp. increased in the northern parts of the Baltic Sea, along with the decreased salinity and elevated temperatures, but Aphanizomenon sp. decreased in the southern parts despite decreased salinity and increased temperatures. These contradictory changes in biovolume of Aphanizomenon sp. between the northern and southern parts of the Baltic Sea may be due to basin-specific effects of the changed environmental conditions, or can be related to local adaptation by sub-populations of the genera. Overall, this comprehensive dataset presents insights to genus-specific bloom dynamics by potentially harmful diazotrophic filamentous cyanobacteria in the Baltic Sea. Highlights • Biovolumes of bloom-forming cyanobacteria during four decades in the Baltic Sea. • Aphanizomenon sp. has increased with decreased salinity in the Bothnian Sea. • Dolichospermum spp. has increased with temperature in Bothnian Sea. • The total biovolume of Nostocales has decreased in the Southern Baltic Proper. • The biovolume of the toxic Nodularia spumigena has not changed since the 1980s.
  • Niemistö, Johanna; Myllyviita, Tanja; Judl, Jáchym; Holma, Anne; Sironen, Susanna; Mattila, Tuomas; Antikainen, Riina; Leskinen, Pekka (2019)
    International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology 26 (7): 625-634
    Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have a substantial role in the economy and job creation, but they are a remarkable source of environmental impacts. SMEs often lack skills and resources to compile environmental impact assessments; Streamlined Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) can provide efficient tools for this. An application of streamlined LCA relying heavily on database data, LCA clinic, was developed and tested on 23 SMEs in Finland. The climate change impacts were mainly caused by the production of raw materials, electricity and heating, whereas packaging and transportation were not influential. A significant amount of emissions were indirect, i.e. caused by production of raw materials. Thus, decreasing emissions from raw material production or selecting raw materials with a smaller environmental load could be a more efficient way to decrease emissions than reducing direct emissions such as those from electricity use. Lack of data in the LCA-databases was considered a challenge. An access to regionally customised datasets is important for the implementation of LCA clinics. Company feedback indicated that LCA clinics were useful in climate-friendly product design and increased environmental awareness, but did not lead to immediate actions to reduce emissions because of inadequate investment capabilities. Company managers had limited possibilities to use the results in marketing as comparative assessments would require a full LCA. Many company managers were willing to pay a fee sufficient to cover the costs of an LCA clinic, but some considered that the costs should be covered by external funding sources.
  • Vihervaara, Petteri; Kullberg, Peter; Hurskainen, Pekka (2019)
    Futura 3/2019
    Our planet is undergoing massive global change. We are increasingly aware of the biodiversity crisis, which raises concerns about the future of nature and humankind. Targets and goals set at several multilateral environmental agreements to stop the crisis have been agreed upon, but their effective follow-up and implementation require relevant and timely biodiversity data. For this purpose, a set of policy-relevant Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs), describing the biological state and capturing the major dimensions of biodiversity change, have been proposed. Generating EBVs requires integration of in situ and Earth observation data. The former is collected in the field by experts, citizens, or automatic sensor networks, assisted by new technologies such as eDNA and machine learning, while the latter is measured from space or air, enabled by analysis-ready multi-sensor data and cloud computing services. As a case example for better biodiversity monitoring, the Finnish Ecosystem Observatory (FEO) is proposed. FEO will combine and standardize environmental information from different data sources, making the data, metadata and models openly available and easily accessible to users and policy makers.
  • Kahlert, Maria; Rühland, Kathleen M.; Lavoie, Isabelle; Keck, François; Saulnier‐Talbot, Emilie; Bogan, Daniel; Brua, Robert B.; Campeau, Stéphane; Christoffersen, Kirsten S.; Culp, Joseph M.; Karjalainen, Satu Maaria; Lento, Jennifer; Schneider, Susanne C.; Shaftel, Rebecca; Smol, John P. (Wiley & Sons, 2020)
    Freshwater Biology
    1. Comprehensive assessments of contemporary diatom distributions across the Arctic remain scarce. Furthermore, studies tracking species compositional differences across space and time, as well as diatom responses to climate warming, are mainly limited to paleolimnological studies due to a lack of routine monitoring in lakes and streams across vast areas of the Arctic. 2. The study aims to provide a spatial assessment of contemporary species distributions across the circum-Arctic, establish contemporary biodiversity patterns of diatom assemblages to use as reference conditions for future biomonitoring assessments, and determine pre-industrial baseline conditions to provide historical context for modern diatom distributions. 3. Diatom assemblages were assessed using information from ongoing regulatory monitoring programmes, individual research projects, and from surface sediment layers obtained from lake cores. Pre-industrial baseline conditions as well as the nature, direction and magnitude of changes in diatom assemblages over the past c.200 years were determined by comparing surface sediment samples (i.e. containing modern assemblages) with a sediment interval deposited prior to the onset of significant anthropogenic activities (i.e. containing pre-1850 assemblages), together with an examination of diatoms preserved in contiguous samples from dated sediment cores. 4. We identified several biotypes with distinct diatom assemblages using contemporary diatom data from both lakes and streams, including a biotype typical for High Arctic regions. Differences in diatom assemblage composition across circum-Arctic regions were gradual rather than abrupt. Species richness was lowest in High Arctic regions compared to Low Arctic and sub-Arctic regions, and higher in lakes than in streams. Dominant diatom taxa were not endemic to the Arctic. Species richness in both lakes and streams reached maximum values between 60°N and 75°N but was highly variable, probably reflecting differences in local and regional environmental factors and possibly sampling effort. 5. We found clear taxon-specific differences between contemporary and pre-industrial samples that were often specific to both ecozone and lake depth. Regional patterns of species turnover (β-diversity) in the past c.200 years revealed that regions of the Canadian High Arctic and the Hudson Bay Lowlands to the south showed most compositional change, whereas the easternmost regions of the Canadian Arctic changed least. As shown in previous Arctic diatom studies, global warming has already affected these remote high latitude ecosystems. 6. Our results provide reference conditions for future environmental monitoring programmes in the Arctic. Furthermore, diatom taxa identification and harmonisation require improvement, starting with circum-Arctic intercalibrations. Despite the challenges posed by the remoteness of the Arctic, our study shows the need for routine monitoring programmes that have a wide geographical coverage for both streams and lakes.
  • Iversen, L.L.; Winkel, A.; Baastrup-Spohr, L.; Hinke, A.B.; Alahuhta, J.; Baattrup-Pedersen, A.; Birk, S.; Brodersen, P.; Chambers, P. A.; Ecke, F; Feldmann, T.; Gebler, D.; Heino, J.; Jespersen, T. S.; Moe, S. J.; Riis, T.; Sass, L.; Vestergaard, O.; Maberly, S. C.; Sand-Jensen, K.; Pedersen, O. (American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2019)
    Science Vol. 366, Issue 6467, pp. 878-881
    Unlike in land plants, photosynthesis in many aquatic plants relies on bicarbonate in addition to carbon dioxide (CO2) to compensate for the low diffusivity and potential depletion of CO2 in water. Concentrations of bicarbonate and CO2 vary greatly with catchment geology. In this study, we investigate whether there is a link between these concentrations and the frequency of freshwater plants possessing the bicarbonate use trait. We show, globally, that the frequency of plant species with this trait increases with bicarbonate concentration. Regionally, however, the frequency of bicarbonate use is reduced at sites where the CO2 concentration is substantially above the air equilibrium, consistent with this trait being an adaptation to carbon limitation. Future anthropogenic changes of bicarbonate and CO2 concentrations may alter the species compositions of freshwater plant communities.
  • Lindholm, Marja; Alahuhta, Janne; Heino, Jani; Hjort, Jan; Toivonen, Heikki (Springer Link, 2020)
    Hydrobiologia 847 (2020)
    Functional homogenisation occurs across many areas and organism groups, thereby seriously affecting biodiversity loss and ecosystem functioning. In this study, we examined how functional features of aquatic macrophytes have changed during a 70-year period at community and species levels in a boreal lake district. At the community level, we examined if aquatic macrophyte communities showed different spatial patterns in functional composition and functional richness in relation to main environmental drivers between the time periods. We also observed each species in functional space to assess if species with certain sets of traits have become more common or rare in the 70-year study period. We found changes in the relationship between functional community composition and the environment. The aquatic macrophyte communities showed different patterns in functional composition between the two time periods, and the main environmental drivers for these changes were partly different. Temporal changes in functional richness were only partially linked to concomitant changes in the environment, while stable factors were more important. Species’ functional traits were not associated with commonness or rarity patterns. Our findings revealed that functional homogenisation has not occurred across these boreal lakes, ranging from small oligotrophic forest lakes to larger lakes affected by human impacts.
  • Kopra, Sanna-Kaisa (Routledge, 2018)
    As American leadership over climate change declines, China has begun to identify itself as a great power by formulating ambitious climate policies. Based on the premise that great powers have unique responsibilities, this book explores how China’s rise to great power status transforms notions of great power responsibility in general and international climate politics in particular. The author looks empirically at the Chinese party-state’s conceptions of state responsibility, discusses the influence of those notions on China’s role in international climate politics, and considers both how China will act out its climate responsibility in the future and the broader implications of these actions. Alongside the argument that the international norm of climate responsibility is an emerging attribute of great power responsibility, Kopra develops a normative framework of great power responsibility to shed new light on the transformations China’s rise will yield and the kind of great power China will prove to be. The book will be of interest to students and scholars of international relations, China studies, foreign policy studies, international organizations, international ethics and environmental politics.
  • Amiri, Ali; Ottelin, Juudit; Sorvari, Jaana; Junnila, Seppo (IOP Publishing, 2020)
    Environmental Research Letters 15 (2020) 094076
    Although buildings produce a third of greenhouse gas emissions, it has been suggested that they might be one of the most cost-effective climate change mitigation solutions. Among building materials, wood not only produces fewer emissions according to life-cycle assessment but can also store carbon. This study aims to estimate the carbon storage potential of new European buildings between 2020 and 2040. While studies on this issue exist, they mainly present rough estimations or are based on a small number of case studies. To ensure a reliable estimation, 50 different case buildings were selected and reviewed. The carbon storage per m2 of each case building was calculated and three types of wooden buildings were identified based on their carbon storage capacity. Finally, four European construction scenarios were generated based on the percentage of buildings constructed from wood and the type of wooden buildings. The annual captured CO2 varied between 1 and 55 Mt, which is equivalent to between 1% and 47% of CO2 emissions from the cement industry in Europe. This study finds that the carbon storage capacity of buildings is not significantly influenced by the type of building, the type of wood or the size of the building but rather by the number and the volume of wooden elements used in the structural and non-structural components of the building. It is recommended that policymakers aiming for carbon-neutral construction focus on the number of wooden elements in buildings rather than more general indicators, such as the amount of wood construction, or even detailed indirect indicators, such as building type, wood type or building size. A practical scenario is proposed for use by European decision-makers, and the role of wood in green building certification is discussed.
  • Major, David C.; Juhola, Sirkku K. (Helsinki University Press, 2021)
    This guidebook presents a framework for climate adaptation planning for coastal cities, large and small, focused on the central roles of citizens, public officials, and planners. The book is designed to help all stakeholders in coastal cities understand and develop effective adaptation measures in a sustainable way. Within a framework of eight key planning steps, guidance is provided for stakeholders in the adaptation process from initial assessments of climate impacts to final planning. The work sets out general principles and methods of adaptation to climate change for many types of coastal communities. Adaptation is seen throughout the work as a process that should take into account all coastal assets, including economic, environmental, social, cultural and historical assets, with due attention to disadvantaged communities. Among the adaptation elements covered in the book are: a review of the current climate situation; climate impacts and vulnerabilities; climate models and future scenarios; physical, economic, social and other characteristics of coastal cities and towns; the range of available adaptations, including management, infrastructure, and policy adaptations; evaluation of projects and programs; and working together to develop and finance adaptations. Numerous tables are presented to help organize information and guide planning, and examples of adaptation challenges and opportunities are provided from both developed and developing coastal cities and towns. The volume is copiously illustrated, with extensive up-to-date references to provide the reader with additional sources of information. David C. Major holds a PhD in Economics from Harvard University. He has been a faculty member at MIT and Clark University, and a long-time Senior Research Scientist at Columbia University (now retired). His scientific research focus is the adaptation of coastal cities and towns, large and small, to climate change. Sirkku Juhola holds a PhD from the University of East Anglia, UK, and has worked in Japan, Sweden, and Finland. She is a Professor at the University of Helsinki, leading the Urban Environmental Policy Group. Her research interests focus on governance and decision-making, climate change policy, and climate risk. She is a member of the Climate Panel of Finland.
  • Fronzek, Stefan; Johansson, Margareta; Christensen, Torben R.; Carter, Timothy R.; Friborg, Thomas; Luoto, Miska (Finnish Environment Institute, 2009)
    Reports of the Finnish Environment Institute 3/2009
  • Kupiainen, Kaarle Juhana; Aamaas, Borgar; Savolahti, Mikko; Karvosenoja, Niko; Paunu, Ville-Veikko (European Geosciences Union, 2019)
    Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 19, 7743–7757
    We present a case study where emission metric values from different studies are applied to estimate global and Arctic temperature impacts of emissions from a northern European country. This study assesses the climate impact of Finnish air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions from 2000 to 2010, as well as future emissions until 2030. We consider both emission pulses and emission scenarios. The pollutants included are SO2, NOx, NH3, non-methane volatile organic compound (NMVOC), black carbon (BC), organic carbon (OC), CO, CO2, CH4 and N2O, and our study is the first one for Finland to include all of them in one coherent dataset. These pollutants have different atmospheric lifetimes and influence the climate differently; hence, we look at different climate metrics and time horizons. The study uses the global warming potential (GWP and GWP*), the global temperature change potential (GTP) and the regional temperature change potential (RTP) with different timescales for estimating the climate impacts by species and sectors globally and in the Arctic. We compare the climate impacts of emissions occurring in winter and summer. This assessment is an example of how the climate impact of emissions from small countries and sources can be estimated, as it is challenging to use climate models to study the climate effect of national policies in a multi-pollutant situation. Our methods are applicable to other countries and regions and present a practical tool to analyze the climate impacts in multiple dimensions, such as assessing different sectors and mitigation measures. While our study focuses on short-lived climate forcers, we found that the CO2 emissions have the most significant climate impact, and the significance increases over longer time horizons. In the short term, emissions of especially CH4 and BC played an important role as well. The warming impact of BC emissions is enhanced during winter. Many metric choices are available, but our findings hold for most choices.
  • Korpinen, Samuli; Laamanen, Leena; Bergström, Lena; Nurmi, Marco; Andersen, Jesper H.; Haapaniemi, Juuso; Harvey, E. Therese; Murray, Ciaran J.; Peterlin, Monika; Kallenbach, Emilie; Klančnik, Katja; Stein, Ulf; Tunesi, Leonardo; Vaughan, David; Reker, Johnny (Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, 2021)
    Ambio 50 (2021), 1325–1336
    Marine ecosystems are under high demand for human use, giving concerns about how pressures from human activities may affect their structure, function, and status. In Europe, recent developments in mapping of marine habitats and human activities now enable a coherent spatial evaluation of potential combined effects of human activities. Results indicate that combined effects from multiple human pressures are spread to 96% of the European marine area, and more specifically that combined effects from physical disturbance are spread to 86% of the coastal area and 46% of the shelf area. We compare our approach with corresponding assessments at other spatial scales and validate our results with European-scale status assessments for coastal waters. Uncertainties and development points are identified. Still, the results suggest that Europe’s seas are widely disturbed, indicating potential discrepancy between ambitions for Blue Growth and the objective of achieving good environmental status within the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
  • Kroencke, Ingrid; Neumann, Hermann; Dippner, Joachim W.; Holbrook, Sally; Lamy, Thomas; Miller, Robert; Padedda, Bachisio Mario; Pulina, Silvia; Reed, Daniel C.; Reinikainen, Marko; Satta, Cecilia T.; Sechi, Nicola; Soltwedel, Thomas; Suikkanen, Sanna; Luglie, Antonella (2019)
    Data from five sites of the International Long Term Ecological Research (ILTER) network in the NorthEastern Pacific, Western Arctic Ocean, Northern Baltic Sea, South-Eastern North Sea and in the Western Mediterranean Sea were analyzed by dynamic factor analysis (DFA) to trace common multi-year trends in abundance and composition of phytoplankton, benthic fauna and temperate reef fish. Multiannual trends were related to climate and environmental variables to study interactions. Two common trends in biological responses were detected, with temperature and climate indices as explanatory variables in four of the five LTER sites considered. Only one trend was observed at the fifth site, the Northern Baltic Sea, where no explanatory variables were identified. Our findings revealed quasi-synchronous biological shifts in the different marine ecosystems coincident with the 2000 climatic regime shift and provided evidence on a possible further biological shift around 2010. The observed biological modifications were coupled with abrupt or continuous increase in sea water and air temperature confirming the key-role of temperature in structuring marine communities.
  • Cano Bernal, José Enrique; Rankinen, Katri; Thielking, Sophia (Academic Press., 2022)
    Journal of Environmental Management
    The majority of the carbon worldwide is in soil. In a river catchment, the tight relationship between soil, water and climate makes carbon likely to be eroded and transported from the soil to the rivers. There are multiple variables which can trigger and accelerate the process. In order to assess the importance of the factors involved, and their interactions resulting in the changes in the carbon cycle within catchments, we have studied the catchments of 26 Finnish rivers from 2000 to 2019. These catchments are distributed all over Finland, but we have grouped them into three categories: southern, peatland and northern. We have run a boosted regression tree (BRT) analysis on chemical, physical, climatic and anthropogenic factors to determine their influence on the variations of total organic carbon (TOC) concentration. TOC concentration has decreased in Finland between 2000 and 2019 by 0.91 mg/l, driven principally by forest ditching and % old forest in the catchment. Old forest is especially dominant in the northern catchments with an influence on TOC of 40.5%. In southern and peatland catchments, average precipitation is an important factor to explain the changes in TOC whilst in northern catchments, organic fields have more influence.
  • Hildén, Mikael; Kupiainen, Kaarle; Forsius, Martin; Salonen, Raimo O. (Finnish Environment Institute, 2017)
    SYKE Policy Brief
  • Nygård, Henrik; van Beest, Floris M.; Bergqvist, Lisa; Carstensen, Jacob; Gustafsson, Bo G.; Hasler, Berit; Schumacher, Johanna; Schernewski, Gerald; Sokolov, Alexander; Zandersen, Marianne; Fleming, Vivi (Springer Link, 2020)
    Environmental Management 66(6) (2020)
    Decision-support tools (DSTs) synthesize complex information to assist environmental managers in the decision-making process. Here, we review DSTs applied in the Baltic Sea area, to investigate how well the ecosystem approach is reflected in them, how different environmental problems are covered, and how well the tools meet the needs of the end users. The DSTs were evaluated based on (i) a set of performance criteria, (ii) information on end user preferences, (iii) how end users had been involved in tool development, and (iv) what experiences developers/hosts had on the use of the tools. We found that DSTs frequently addressed management needs related to eutrophication, biodiversity loss, or contaminant pollution. The majority of the DSTs addressed human activities, their pressures, or environmental status changes, but they seldom provided solutions for a complete ecosystem approach. In general, the DSTs were scientifically documented and transparent, but confidence in the outputs was poorly communicated. End user preferences were, apart from the shortcomings in communicating uncertainty, well accounted for in the DSTs. Although end users were commonly consulted during the DST development phase, they were not usually part of the development team. Answers from developers/hosts indicate that DSTs are not applied to their full potential. Deeper involvement of end users in the development phase could potentially increase the value and impact of DSTs. As a way forward, we propose streamlining the outputs of specific DSTs, so that they can be combined to a holistic insight of the consequences of management actions and serve the ecosystem approach in a better manner.