Browsing by Subject "environmental changes"

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  • Myllyviita, Tanja; Sironen, Susanna; Saikku, Laura; Holma, Anne; Leskinen, Pekka; Palme, Ulrika (2019)
    Journal of Cleaner Production 236: 117641
    Impacts of bioeconomy on climate have been much discussed, but less attention has been given to biodiversity deterioration. One approach to assess biodiversity impacts is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Finland is a forested country with intensive forest industries, but only coarse biodiversity LCA methods are available. The aim of this study was to further develop and apply approaches to assess the biodiversity impacts of wood use in Finland. With the species richness approach (all taxons included), biodiversity impacts were higher in Southern than in Northern Finland but impacts in Southern and Northern Finland were lower when mammals, birds and molluscs were included. With the ecosystem indicators approach, if the reference situation were forest in its natural state, biodiversity impacts were higher than in the case where the initial state of forest before final felling was used to derive biodiversity loss. In both cases, the biodiversity impacts were higher in Northern Finland. These results were not coherent as the model applying species richness data assesses biodiversity loss based on all species, whereas the ecosystem indicators approach considers vulnerable species. One limitation of the species richness approach was that there were no reliable datasets available. In the ecosystem indicators approach, it was noticed that the biodiversity of managed Finnish forests is substantially lower than in natural forests. Biodiversity LCA approaches are highly sensitive to reference states, applied model and data. It is essential to develop approaches capable of comparing biodiversity impacts of forest management practices, or when looking at multiple environmental impacts simultaneously with the LCA framework.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hyvärinen, Heini; Skyttä, Annaliina; Jernberg, Susanna; Meissner, Kristian; Kuosa, Harri; Uusitalo, Laura (Springer, 2021)
    Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 193: 400
    Global deterioration of marine ecosystems, together with increasing pressure to use them, has created a demand for new, more efficient and cost-efficient monitoring tools that enable assessing changes in the status of marine ecosystems. However, demonstrating the cost-efficiency of a monitoring method is not straightforward as there are no generally applicable guidelines. Our study provides a systematic literature mapping of methods and criteria that have been proposed or used since the year 2000 to evaluate the cost-efficiency of marine monitoring methods. We aimed to investigate these methods but discovered that examples of actual cost-efficiency assessments in literature were rare, contradicting the prevalent use of the term “cost-efficiency.” We identified five different ways to compare the cost-efficiency of a marine monitoring method: (1) the cost–benefit ratio, (2) comparative studies based on an experiment, (3) comparative studies based on a literature review, (4) comparisons with other methods based on literature, and (5) subjective comparisons with other methods based on experience or intuition. Because of the observed high frequency of insufficient cost–benefit assessments, we strongly advise that more attention is paid to the coverage of both cost and efficiency parameters when evaluating the actual cost-efficiency of novel methods. Our results emphasize the need to improve the reliability and comparability of cost-efficiency assessments. We provide guidelines for future initiatives to develop a cost-efficiency assessment framework and suggestions for more unified cost-efficiency criteria.
  • 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.
  • Li, Zhengfei; Wang, Jun; Liu, Zhenyuan; Meng, Xingliang; Heino, Jani; Jiang, Xuankong; Xiong, Xiong; Jiang, Xiaoming; Xie, Zhicai (2019)
    Science of the Total Environment 655:1288-1300
    Examining the relative contribution of local environmental stressors and regional factors in structuring biological communities is essential for biodiversity conservation and environmental assessment, yet their relative roles for different community characterizations remain elusive. Here, we examined the responses of taxonomic and functional structures of stream macroinvertebrate communities to local and regional factors across a human-induced environmental gradient in the Han River Basin, one subtropical biodiversity hotspot in China. Our objectives were: 1) to examine the responses of traditional taxonomic measures and functional traits to anthropogenic disturbances; 2) to compare the relative importance of environmental versus spatial variables and catchment-scale versus reach-scale variables for the two community characterizations. We found that both species and trait compositions performed well in differentiating anthropogenic disturbances, indicating that both taxonomic and functional structures of macroinvertebrate communities were strongly altered by human activities. Particularly, some traits related to life history (e.g., voltinism), resilience and resistance (e.g., adult flying ability) are well suited for predicting changes of communities towards anthropogenic disturbances owing to their mechanistic relationship with environmental gradients. We found that environmental variables played more important roles than spatial effects in structuring both taxonomic and functional facets of macroinvertebrate communities. Environmental filtering was more important in determining functional than taxonomic structure, and the opposite was true for spatial effects. In terms of environmental variables, catchment land-uses played the primary role in determining taxonomic composition, whereas reach-scale variables related to local habitat heterogeneity were more influential for functional structure. Our study highlights the importance of employing metacommunity perspectives and different community characterizations in both theoretical and applied research. For stream bioassessment and management, we argue that the combination of taxonomic and functional characterizations of community should be implemented, as different facets of biological communities responded to different types of anthropogenic disturbances.
  • Vilmi, A.; Zhao, W.; Picazo, F.; Li, M.; Heino, J.; Soininen, J.; Wang, J. (2019)
    Science of the Total Environment 702: 134974
    Understanding the role of climatic variation on biodiversity is of chief importance due to the ongoing biodiversity loss and climate change. Freshwaters, one of the most threatened ecosystems in the world, offer a valuable context to study biodiversity patterns of distinct organism groups in relation to climatic variation. In the Tibetan Plateau biodiversity hotspot - Hengduan Mountain region, we studied the effects of climate and local physico-chemical factors on stream microorganisms (i.e. bacteria) and macroorganisms (i.e. macroinvertebrates) in two parallel catchments with contrasting precipitation and temperature, that is, the Nujiang and Lancang Rivers. Diversities and community structures were better explained by climatic and local environmental variables in the drier and colder catchment and at higher elevations, than in the warmer and wetter conditions and at lower elevations. This suggests that communities may be more strongly assembled by deterministic processes in the former, comparatively harsher conditions, compared to the latter, more benign conditions. Macroinvertebrates were more strongly affected by climatic and local environmental factors compared to bacteria, but the diversities and community structures of the two groups showed spatially similar responses to overall abiotic variation, being especially evident with their community structures' responses to climate. Furthermore, bacterial and macroinvertebrate diversities were positively correlated in the drier and colder catchment, implying that these biologically and ecologically distinct organism groups are likely to be driven by similar processes in areas with such climatic conditions. We conclude that changes in climatic and local environmental conditions may affect the diversity of macroorganisms more strongly than that of microorganisms, at least in subtropical mountainous stream ecosystems studied here, but simultaneous responses of both groups to environmental changes can also be expected.
  • Folestad, Magdalena (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    The study is sought to study how and if the environment has changed in eastern Finnish Lapland in a long-term perspective. Variables related to the current state of the environment, are atmospheric composition and aerosols, meteorology, and biology. The study is based on measurements from Värriö Subarctic Research station for the years 1973 to 2021. Included in atmospheric composition, are the atmospheric anthropogenic gas concentrations of CO, NOx, O3 and SO2. SO2 is also used in a proxy to estimate H2SO4 concentrations. Decreasing long-term trends are found for CO, NOx, SO2 and H2SO4. The decreasing emissions from Kola peninsula, is the cause for long-term decrease of SO2, which result in decreasing H2SO4 concentrations. Results of particle size distribution show an increasing concentration of small particles and decrease of large particles. Decline of particles leads to less NPF, CCN and will resultingly influence cloud properties. Air temperature has increased 2.38 °C and snow cover days have decreased by three weeks, between 1975 and 2021. Snow depth and precipitation show less significant changes. Heat sum have from 1981 to 2021 increased with 247 °C days, indicating more active and growing trees. Birch leave development show indications of leave burst and developed leaves to occur at earlier date, over the years 1981-2021. Grouses, shorebirds, and cavity-nesters show large inter-annual variations. Some of the bird species appears to benefit from environmental changes while others appear to have difficulty adapting.
  • Cosens, Barbara; Ruhl, J. B.; Soininen, Niko; Gunderson, Lance; Belinskij, Antti; Blenckner, Thorsten; Camacho, Alejandro E.; Chaffin, Brian C.; Craig, Robin Kundis; Doremus, Holly; Glicksman, Robert; Heiskanen, Anna-Stiina; Larson, Rhett; Similä, Jukka (National Academy of Sciences, 2021)
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Sep 2021, 118 (36) e2102798118
    The speed and uncertainty of environmental change in the Anthropocene challenge the capacity of coevolving social–ecological–technological systems (SETs) to adapt or transform to these changes. Formal government and legal structures further constrain the adaptive capacity of our SETs. However, new, self-organized forms of adaptive governance are emerging at multiple scales in natural resource-based SETs. Adaptive governance involves the private and public sectors as well as formal and informal institutions, self-organized to fill governance gaps in the traditional roles of states. While new governance forms are emerging, they are not yet doing so rapidly enough to match the pace of environmental change. Furthermore, they do not yet possess the legitimacy or capacity needed to address disparities between the winners and losers from change. These emergent forms of adaptive governance appear to be particularly effective in managing complexity. We explore governance and SETs as coevolving complex systems, focusing on legal systems to understand the potential pathways and obstacles to equitable adaptation. We explore how governments may facilitate the emergence of adaptive governance and promote legitimacy in both the process of governance despite the involvement of nonstate actors, and its adherence to democratic values of equity and justice. To manage the contextual nature of the results of change in complex systems, we propose the establishment of long-term study initiatives for the coproduction of knowledge, to accelerate learning and synergize interactions between science and governance and to foster public science and epistemic communities dedicated to navigating transitions to more just, sustainable, and resilient futures.
  • Fourcade, Yoan; WallisDeVries, Michiel F.; Kuussaari, Mikko; Swaay, Chris A. M.; Heliölä, Janne; Öckinger, Erik (John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2021)
    Ecology Letters 24: 5, 950-957
    Habitat fragmentation may present a major impediment to species range shifts caused by climate change, but how it affects local community dynamics in a changing climate has so far not been adequately investigated empirically. Using long-term monitoring data of butterfly assemblages, we tested the effects of the amount and distribution of semi-natural habitat (SNH), moderated by species traits, on climate-driven species turnover. We found that spatially dispersed SNH favoured the colonisation of warm-adapted and mobile species. In contrast, extinction risk of cold-adapted species increased in dispersed (as opposed to aggregated) habitats and when the amount of SNH was low. Strengthening habitat networks by maintaining or creating stepping-stone patches could thus allow warm-adapted species to expand their range, while increasing the area of natural habitat and its spatial cohesion may be important to aid the local persistence of species threatened by a warming climate.
  • Truchy, Amélie; Sarremejane, Romain; Muotka, Timo; Mykrä, Heikki; Angeler, David G.; Lehosmaa, Kaisa; Huusko, Ari; Johnson, Richard K.; Sponseller, Ryan A.; McKie, Brendan G. (Wiley, 2020)
    Global Change Biology 26 6 (2020)
    Ongoing climate change is increasing the occurrence and intensity of drought episodes worldwide, including in boreal regions not previously regarded as drought prone, and where the impacts of drought remain poorly understood. Ecological connectivity is one factor that might influence community structure and ecosystem functioning post-drought, by facilitating the recovery of sensitive species via dispersal at both local (e.g. a nearby habitat patch) and regional (from other systems within the same region) scales. In an outdoor mesocosm experiment, we investigated how impacts of drought on boreal stream ecosystems are altered by the spatial arrangement of local habitat patches within stream channels, and variation in ecological connectivity with a regional species pool. We measured basal ecosystem processes underlying carbon and nutrient cycling: (a) algal biomass accrual; (b) microbial respiration; and (c) decomposition of organic matter, and sampled communities of aquatic fungi and benthic invertebrates. An 8-day drought event had strong impacts on both community structure and ecosystem functioning, including algal accrual, leaf decomposition and microbial respiration, with many of these impacts persisting even after water levels had been restored for 3.5 weeks. Enhanced connectivity with the regional species pool and increased aggregation of habitat patches also affected multiple response variables, especially those associated with microbes, and in some cases reduced the effects of drought to a small extent. This indicates that spatial processes might play a role in the resilience of communities and ecosystem functioning, given enough time. These effects were however insufficient to facilitate significant recovery in algal growth before seasonal dieback began in autumn. The limited resilience of ecosystem functioning in our experiment suggests that even short-term droughts can have extended consequences for stream ecosystems in the world's vast boreal region, and especially on the ecosystem processes and services mediated by algal biofilms.
  • Zhang, You; Cheng, Long; Li, Kuanyi; Zhang, Lu; Cai, Yongjiu; Wang, Xiaolong; Heino, Jani (2019)
    Limnology and Oceanography 64 (3): 1047-1058
    Eutrophication alters the trophic dynamics in lakes and may result in biotic homogenization. How nutrient enrichment drives patterns of taxonomic and functional (i.e., trait‐based) homogenization of macroinvertebrate assemblages at within‐lake (local) and among‐lake (regional) scales is, however, not well understood. Taxonomic and functional compositions of macroinvertebrate assemblages in 41 lakes of the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River and Huaihe River were analyzed at within‐lake and among‐lake scales. Our results indicated that there was a significant difference in macroinvertebrate assemblages among lakes under different trophic status, and that total phosphorus was the major environmental factor that regulated both taxonomic and functional beta diversity of macroinvertebrate assemblages. That the abundances of pollution‐tolerant species (e.g., Limnodrilus hoffmeisteri and Microchironomus tabarui) increased with trophic state contributed the most to among‐lake dissimilarity. Functional beta diversity was significantly positively correlated with taxonomic beta diversity, while functional beta diversity was on average lower than taxonomic beta diversity. A combination of univariate and multivariate techniques revealed that nutrient enrichment homogenized taxonomic and functional diversity of benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages in shallow lakes at within‐lake and among‐lake scales, and that there was an overall trend toward taxonomic homogenization that exceeded the trend of functional homogenization. Thus, taxonomic and functional compositions should be considered simultaneously to improve understanding of the response of aquatic communities to anthropogenic disturbance, as the loss and gain of species may be influenced by species‐specific features, and functional composition may exhibit a relatively high correspondence with changes in environmental conditions.
  • Benito, Xavier; Vilmi, Annika; Luethje, Melina; Carrevedo, Maria Laura; Lindholm, Marja; Fritz, Sherilyn C. (Frontiers Media S.A., 2020)
    Frontiers Ecology Evolution 8 (2020)
    High-elevation tropical lakes are excellent sentinels of global change impacts, such as climate warming, land-use change, and atmospheric deposition. These effects are often correlated with temporal and spatial beta diversity patterns, with some local communities contributing more than others, a phenomenon known as local contribution to beta diversity (LCBD) or ecological uniqueness. Microorganisms, such as diatoms, are considered whole-ecosystem indicators, but little is known about their sensitivity and specificity in beta diversity studies mostly because of the lack of large spatial and temporal datasets. To fill this gap, we used a tropical South American diatom database comprising modern (144 lakes) and paleolimnological (6 sediment cores) observations to quantify drivers of spatial and temporal beta diversity and evaluated implications for environmental change and regional biodiversity. We used methods of beta diversity partitioning (replacement and richness components) by determining contributions of local sites to these components (LCBDrepl and LCBDrich), and studied how they are related to environmental, geological, and historical human variables using Generalized Additive Models (GAM). Beta replacement time series were also analyzed with GAM to test whether there is widespread biotic homogenization across the tropical Andes. Modern lake ecological uniqueness was jointly explained by limnological (pH), climatic (mean annual precipitation), and historical human density. Local lake (conductivity) and regional geodiversity variables (terrain ruggedness, soil variability) were inversely correlated to replacement and richness components of LCBD, suggesting that not all lakes contributing to broad-scale diversity are targets for conservation actions. Over millennial time scales, decomposing temporal trends of beta diversity components showed different trajectories of lake diatom diversity as response of environmental change: i) increased hydroclimatic variability (as inferred by decreased temperature seasonality) mediating higher contribution of richness to local beta diversity patterns ca. 1000 years ago in Ecuador Andean lakes and ii) lake-specific temporal beta diversity trends for the last ca. 200 years, indicating that biotic homogenization is not widespread across the tropical Andes. Our approach for unifying diatom ecology, metacommunity, and paleolimnology can facilitate the understanding of future responses of tropical Andean lakes to global change impacts.