Browsing by Subject "state of the environment"

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  • 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.
  • Maack, Gerd; Äystö, Lauri; Carere, Mario; Clausen, Henning; James, Alice; Junghans, Marion; Junttila, Ville; Hollender, Juliane; Marinov, Dimitar; Stroomberg, Gerard; Triebskorn, Rita; Verbruggen, Eric; Lettieri, Teresa (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2022)
    Environmental Sciences Europe
    Leverett et al. commented on the Environmental quality standard (EQS) for diclofenac derived under the European Water Framework Directive [Leverett et al. (2021) Environ Sci Eur 33: 133]. They postulated that the derivation of the EQS value for diclofenac is not conducted according to the EQS Technical Guidance, but rather using data of poor reliability and relevance. Consequently, the authors suggested using their alternative derived value instead. It is to be noted that the process for the EQS derivation for diclofenac is still ongoing and not finalized, and that as a consequence, any critical analysis is very premature. In general, within the current European Commission process, EQS values proposals are derived by expert groups led by the Joint Research Centre. In the specific case for diclofenac, Leverett et al. have also been actively involved as experts. This response to Leverett et al. (2021) aims to clarify the reasoning behind the proposal from a scientific point of view and to express our concern for the lack of transparency of their position in the statement of competing interests. Indeed, the authors did not disclose their participation in the expert group for deriving the diclofenac EQS value, nor that they have direct and indirect ties to a company that markets diclofenac in Europe, Glaxo Smith & Kline plc (GSK). This amounts to a significant conflict of interest and leads to disinformation to the reader.
  • 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.
  • Waylen, Kerry; Blackstock, Kirsty; van Hulst, Freddy; Damian, Carmen; Horváth, Ferenc; Johnson, Richard; Kanka, Robert; Külvik, Mart; Macleod, Christopher J.A.; Meissner, Kristian; Oprina-Pavelescu, Mihaela M.; Pino, Joan; Primmer, Eeva; Rîșnoveanu, Geta; Šatalová, Barbora; Silander, Jari; Špulerová, Jana; Suškevičs, Monika; van Uytvanck, Jan (Elsevier, 2019)
    Data in Brief 23 (2019), 103785
    The data presented in this DiB article provide an overview of Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) carried out for 3 European environmental policies (the Water Framework Directive, the Natura 2000 network of protected areas, and Agri-Environment Schemes implemented under the Common Agricultural Policy), as implemented in 9 cases (Catalonia (Spain), Estonia, Finland, Flanders (Belgium), Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Scotland (UK), Sweden). These data are derived from reports and documents about monitoring programs that were publicly-available online in 2017. The literature on M&E to support adaptive management structured the issues that have been extracted and summarized. The data is related to the research article entitled “Policy-driven monitoring and evaluation: does it support adaptive management of socio-ecological systems?” [Stem et al., 2005]. The information provides a first overview of monitoring and evaluation that has been implemented in response to key European environmental policies. It provides a structured overview that permits a comparison of cases and policies and can assist other scholars and practitioners working on monitoring and evaluation.
  • Jyväsjärvi, Jussi; Lehosmaa, Kaisa; Aroviita, Jukka; Turunen, Jarno; Rajakallio, Maria; Marttila, Hannu; Tolkkinen, Mikko; Mykrä, Heikki; Muotka, Timo (Elsevier, 2021)
    Ecological Indicators 121 (2021), 106986
    Degradation of freshwater ecosystems requires efficient tools for assessing the ecological status of freshwater biota and identifying potential cause(s) for their biological degradation. While diatoms and macroinvertebrates are widely used in stream bioassessment, the potential utility of microbial communities has not been fully harnessed. Using data from 113 Finnish streams, we assessed the performance of aquatic leaf-associated fungal decomposers, relative to benthic macroinvertebrates and diatoms, in modelling-based bioassessment. We built multi-taxon niche -type predictive models for fungal assemblages by using genus-based and sequence-based identification levels. We then compared the models’ precision and accuracy in the prediction of reference conditions (number of native taxa) to corresponding models for macroinvertebrates and diatoms. Genus-based fungal model nearly equalled the accuracy and precision of our best model (macroinvertebrates), whereas the sequence-based model was less accurate and tended to overestimate the number of taxa. However, when the models were applied to streams disturbed by anthropogenic stressors (nutrient enrichment, sedimentation and acidification), alone or in combination, the sequence-based fungal assemblages were more sensitive than other taxonomic groups, especially when multiple stressors were present. Microbial leaf decomposition rates were elevated in sediment-stressed streams whereas decomposition attributable to leaf-shredding macroinvertebrates was accelerated by nutrients and decelerated by sedimentation. Comparison of leaf decomposition results to model output suggested that leaf decomposition rates do not detect effectively the presence of multiple simultaneous disturbances. The rapid development of global microbial database may soon enable species-level identification of leaf-associated fungi, facilitating a more precise and accurate modelling of reference conditions in streams using fungal communities. This development, combined with the sensitivity of aquatic fungi in detecting the presence of multiple human disturbances, makes leaf-associated fungal assemblages an indispensable addition in a stream ecologist’s toolbox.
  • Salmi, Pauliina; Eskelinen, Matti A.; Leppänen, Matti T.; Pölönen, Ilkka (MDPI AG, 2021)
    Plants 2021, 10(2), 341
    Spectral cameras are traditionally used in remote sensing of microalgae, but increasingly also in laboratory-scale applications, to study and monitor algae biomass in cultures. Practical and cost-efficient protocols for collecting and analyzing hyperspectral data are currently needed. The purpose of this study was to test a commercial, easy-to-use hyperspectral camera to monitor the growth of different algae strains in liquid samples. Indices calculated from wavebands from transmission imaging were compared against algae abundance and wet biomass obtained from an electronic cell counter, chlorophyll a concentration, and chlorophyll fluorescence. A ratio of selected wavebands containing near-infrared and red turned out to be a powerful index because it was simple to calculate and interpret, yet it yielded strong correlations to abundances strain-specifically (0.85 < r < 0.96, p < 0.001). When all the indices formulated as A/B, A/(A + B) or (A − B)/(A + B), where A and B were wavebands of the spectral camera, were scrutinized, good correlations were found amongst them for biomass of each strain (0.66 < r < 0.98, p < 0.001). Comparison of near-infrared/red index to chlorophyll a concentration demonstrated that small-celled strains had higher chlorophyll absorbance compared to strains with larger cells. The comparison of spectral imaging to chlorophyll fluorescence was done for one strain of green algae and yielded strong correlations (near-infrared/red, r = 0.97, p < 0.001). Consequently, we described a simple imaging setup and information extraction based on vegetation indices that could be used to monitor algae cultures.
  • Hossain, Kamrul; Cambou, Dorothée (Routledge, 2018)
    The Arctic-Barents Region is facing numerous pressures from a variety of sources, including the effect of environmental changes and extractive industrial developments. The threats arising out of these pressures result in human security challenges. This book analyses the formation, and promotion, of societal security within the context of the Arctic-Barents Region. It applies the human security framework, which has increasingly gained currency at the UN level since 1994 (UNDP), as a tool to provide answers to many questions that face the Barents population today. The study explores human security dimensions such as environmental security, economic security, health, food, water, energy, communities, political security and digital security in order to assess the current challenges that the Barents population experiences today or may encounter in the future. In doing so, the book develops a comprehensive analysis of vulnerabilities, challenges and needs in the Barents Region and provides recommendations for new strategies to tackle insecurity and improve the wellbeing of both indigenous and local communities. This book will be a valuable tool for academics, policy-makers and students interested in environmental and human security, sustainable development, environmental studies and the Arctic and Barents Region in particular.
  • Blanka, Gál; Szivák, ldikó; Heino, Jani; Schmera, Dénes (2019)
    Ecological Indicators 104: 357-364
    Understanding the effects of urbanization on the diversity of freshwater macroinvertebrates is an important topic of biodiversity research and has direct conservation relevance. The absence of evidence-based systematic overviews on this topic motivated us to perform meta-analyses and to synthetize the present state of knowledge. We observed significant heterogeneity among individual case studies, reporting negative, neutral and positive effects. As expected, urbanization had an overall negative effect on the diversity of freshwater macroinvertebrates. These results are based mainly on the study of lotic (stream and river) ecosystems because there are insufficient data available for lentic (pond and lake) ecosystems. Compared to individual case studies, the present review reports an evidence-based synthesis for the first time. We identified knowledge gaps regarding case studies reporting the effects of urbanization on pond and lake ecosystems, case studies examining the phylogenetic and functional facets of biodiversity, as well case studies investigating the effect of urbanization on the beta diversity component of macroinvertebrate communities. The identification of these knowledge gaps allowed us to make recommendations for future research: (1) report results on specific taxonomic groups and not only the entire macroinvertebrate community, (2) study the impacts of urbanization on macroinvertebrate diversity in different habitat types and understudied continents, (3) focus on the functional and phylogenetic facets of diversity and (4) examine community differentiation (e.g. beta diversity) in urban freshwater ecosystems. Our results also suggested that the analysis of diversity- environment relationships is crucial for developing macroinvertebrate indicators especially in the increasingly urbanized world.
  • Raateoja, Mika; Setälä, Outi (Finnish Environment Institute, 2016)
    Reports of the Finnish Environment Institute 27/2016
    This assessment on the environmental state of the Gulf of Finland in 1996 – 2014 was produced by together over 100 scientists from Estonia, Finland, and Russia in the context of the Gulf of Finland Year 2014. The thematic year aimed at – and succeeded in – giving additional value for the protection and restoration of the Gulf of Finland environment by enhancing political presence and interaction between the private sector, decision-makers, and citizens. This assessment concentrates on the past development and the current state of the Gulf of Finland environment and pressures affecting it. The themes include climate in the Gulf of Finland area, Gulf of Finland physics, geology and geodiversity, eutrophication, hazardous substances, biodiversity, fishes and fisheries, nonindigenous species, marine litter, underwater soundscape, maritime traffic and its safety, and environmental valuation. Each chapter also delivers expert opinions and recommendations for the future.
  • Lyytimäki, Jari; Hilden, Mikael; Aberra, Zelealem; Lindholm, Matti (Finnish Environment Institute, 2008)
    Reports of the Finnish Environment Institute 21/2008
  • Putkuri, Eija; Lindholm, Matti; Peltonen, Aino (Finnish Environment Institute, 2014)
    SYKE Publications 1
    This publication is a compact review of the state of the environment in Finland in 2013. It brings together the most important indicators which can be used to assess the state of the Finnish environment, to reveal trends and to evaluate the effectiveness of actions taken. The indicators represent eight different themes: Natural resources, Climate change and energy, Communities and transport, Air pollutants, Fresh water and the sea, Biodiversity, Chemicals and hazardous substances and Green economy. Many of the indicators presented here show that the state of the environment is improving in Finland. Emissions into the air and water have clearly reduced over the last few decades. Several goals set for reducing pressure on the environment have either been met or are likely to be met by the year set in each target. But not all environmental status indicators are positive. The most severe problems – climate change and loss of biodiversity – remain unsolved. The goals set in these areas also appear to be the most difficult to achieve. Halting the loss of biodiversity has been a set target in Finland for quite a while, but it has proved necessary to postpone meeting this target ever further. As regards climate change, the worldwide aim is to restrict global warming to a maximum of two degrees by 2100. With existing policies, it seems almost impossible that this target will be achieved. The ongoing financial crises, which began in 2008, have affected the state of the environment in recent years. The effects have been both positive and negative. On one hand the recession has reduced the use of natural resources and other pressures on the environment on the other hand it has also slowed down a number of environmental policy processes such as international climate protection schemes. The EU Directive on Public Access to Environmental Information calls for member states to provide their citizens with information on the state of the environment. This publication is a response to that requirement.
  • Putkuri, Eija; Lindholm, Matti; Peltonen, Aino (Suomen ympäristökeskus, 2013)
    SYKEn julkaisuja 1
    Tämä julkaisu on tiivis yleistajuinen katsaus Suomen ympäristön tilaan vuonna 2013. Siihen on koottu tärkeimpiä indikaattoreita, joiden perusteella voi arvioida Suomen ympäristön tilaa, sen kehityssuuntia ja suojelutoimien riittävyyttä. Indikaattorit edustavat kahdeksaa eri teemaa: Luonnonvarat, Ilmastonmuutos ja energia, Yhdyskuntarakenne, Ilman epäpuhtaudet, Makea vesi ja meri, Luonnon monimuotoisuus, Kemikaalit ja haitalliset aineet sekä Vihreä talous. Moni julkaisun indikaattoreista osoittaa, että Suomen ympäristön tila on menossa parempaan suuntaan. Esimerkiksi päästöt ilmaan ja vesiin ovat vähentyneet selvästi viime vuosikymmeninä. Monet kuormitukselle asetetuista tavoitteista on joko jo saavutettu tai saavuttaminen vaikuttaa mahdolliselta tavoitevuoteen mennessä. Myönteistä kuvaa synkentää se, että kaikkein vakavimmat ongelmat – ilmastonmuutos ja luonnon monimuotoisuuden väheneminen – ovat yhä ratkaisematta. Näiden osalta on myös suurimmat ongelmat tavoitteiden saavuttamisessa. Suomen luonnon köyhtymisen pysäyttäminen on ollut pyrkimyksenä jo useana vuotena, mutta toistaiseksi tavoitetta on aina jouduttu siirtämään eteenpäin. Ilmastonmuutokseen liittyen tavoitteena on ollut, että maapallon keskilämpötila nousisi korkeintaan kaksi astetta vuoteen 2100 mennessä. Nykyisillä toimilla tämän tavoitteen saavuttaminen vaikuttaa mahdottomalta. Viime vuosina ympäristön tilaan on vaikuttanut vuonna 2008 alkanut talouskriisien jatkumo. Vaikutukset ovat olleet sekä myönteisiä että kielteisiä; samalla kun taantuma on vähentänyt luonnonvarojen käyttöä ja muuta ympäristön kuormitusta, se on myös hidastanut monia ympäristöpolitiikan prosesseja, kuten kansainvälistä ilmastonsuojelua. Euroopan unionin ympäristötietodirektiivi velvoittaa jäsenmaat tarjoamaan kansalaisille tietoa ympäristön tilasta. Tämä julkaisu on osa tuon velvoitteen täyttämistä.