Recent Submissions

  • Hämäläinen, Heikki; Aroviita, Jukka; Jyväsjärvi, Jussi; Kärkkäinen, Salme (Ecological Society of America, 2018)
    Ecological Applications 28 (5): 1260-1272
    The ecological assessment of freshwaters is currently primarily based on biological communities and the reference condition approach (RCA). In the RCA, the communities in streams and lakes disturbed by humans are compared with communities in reference conditions with no or minimal anthropogenic influence. The currently favored rationale is using selected community metrics for which the expected values (E) for each site are typically estimated from environmental variables using a predictive model based on the reference data. The proportional differences between the observed values (O) and E are then derived, and the decision rules for status assessment are based on fixed (typically 10th or 25th) percentiles of the O/E ratios among reference sites. Based on mathematical formulations, illustrations by simulated data and real case studies representing such an assessment approach, we demonstrate that the use of a common quantile of O/E ratios will, under certain conditions, cause severe bias in decision making even if the predictive model would be unbiased. This is because the variance of O/E under these conditions, which seem to be quite common among the published applications, varies systematically with E. We propose a correction method for the bias and compare the novel approach to the conventional one in our case studies, with data from both reference and impacted sites. The results highlight a conceptual issue of employing ratios in the status assessment. In some cases using the absolute deviations instead provides a simple solution for the bias identified and might also be more ecologically relevant and defensible.
  • Kämäri, Maria; Alho, Petteri; Veijalainen, Noora; Aaltonen, Juha; Huokuna, Mikko; Lotsari, Eliisa (2015)
    Hydrological Processes, 29(22), 4738–4755
    A large number of rivers are frozen annually and the river ice cover has an influence on the geomorphological processes. These processes in cohesive sediment rivers are not fully understood. Therefore, this paper demonstrates the impact of river ice cover on sediment transport, i.e. turbidity, suspended sediment loads and erosion potential, compared with a river with ice-free flow conditions. The present sediment transportation conditions during the annual cycle are analysed, and the implications of climate change on wintertime geomorphological processes are estimated. A one-dimensional hydrodynamic model has been applied to the Kokemäenjoki River in SW Finland. The shear stress forces directed to the river bed are simulated with present and projected hydro-climatic conditions. The results of shear stress simulations indicate that a thermally formed smooth ice cover diminishes river bed erosion, compared with an ice-free river with similar discharges. Based on long-term field data, the river ice cover reduces turbidity statistically significantly. Furthermore, suspended sediment concentrations measured in ice-free and ice-covered river water reveal a diminishing effect of ice cover on riverine sediment load. The hydrodynamic simulations suggest that the influence of rippled ice cover on shear stress is varying. Climate change is projected to increase the winter discharges by 27–77 % on average by 2070–2099. Thus, the increasing winter discharges and possible diminishing ice cover periods both increase the erosion potential of the river bed. Hence, the wintertime sediment load of the river is expected to become larger in the future.
  • Saarikoski, Heli; Jax, Kurt; Harrison, Paula A.; Primmer, Eeva; Barton, David N.; Mononen, Laura; Vihervaara, Petteri; Furman, Eeva (2015)
    Ecosystem Services ; Vol. 14
    Despite the widespread use of the concept of ecosystem services, there is still much uncertainty over the precise understanding of basic terms such as 'ecosystem services', 'benefits' and 'values'. This paper examines alternative ways of defining and classifying ecosystem services by using the specific example of boreal forests in Finland. We find the notion of final ecosystem goods and services (FEGS) operable, and suggest using it in economic valuation and other priority setting contexts, as well as in the selection of indicators. However, in the context of awareness raising it might be more effective to retain the well-established terminology of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Our analysis shows that the cascade model (Potschin and Haines-Young, 2011. Progress in Physical Geography 35(5), 575-594) is helpful in distinguishing between ecosystem structures, processes, services, benefits and values by making the sequence of links visible. Johnston and Russell's (2011. Ecological Economics 70(12), 2243-2249) operational mechanism for determining FEGSs proves also instrumental in separating intermediate (e.g. carbon sequestration) and final ecosystem services (e.g. reduction of atmospheric carbon). However, we find their definition of importance, which is based on willingness to pay, too narrow. Furthermore, we favour the CICES approach, which defines ecosystem services as the direct contributions that ecosystems - whether natural or semi-natural - make to human well-being.
  • Saarikoski, Heli; Mustajoki, Jyri; Barton, David N.; Geneletti, Davide; Langemeyer, Johannes; Gomez-Baggethun, Erik; Marttunen, Mika; Antunes, Paula; Keune, Hans; Santos, Rui (2016)
    Ecosystem Services
    Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) methods has been promoted as an alternative approach to monetary economic valuation of ecosystem services in Cost-Benefit Analysis framework (CBA). We discuss the potential of MCDA in providing a framework for integrated valuation of ecosystem services. We conclude that MCDA does in general perform better than CBA and associated monetary valuation techniques in several aspects that are essential in ecosystem service valuation. These include the ability of a valuation method to account for multiple dimensions of well-being, including ecological and economic as well as cultural and moral aspects of a policy or management problem and to facilitate open and transparent public debate on the pros and cons of alternative courses of action, including the distribution of gains and losses across beneficiaries of ecosystem services. The capacity of MCDA to articulate values related to ecosystem services depends on individual methods used in the MCDA process. More importantly, it depends of the ways in which the process is organized and facilitated. However, MCDA cannot provide representative information of the values of wider population. Further empirical and theoretical research is needed on the potential of hybrid methodologies to combine monetary valuation and MCDA in fruitful ways.
  • Lyytimäki, Jari; Peltonen, Lasse (2016)
    Land Use Policy 54: 479-486
    The economic, social and ecological implications of the extraction of mineral resources have been increasingly discussed under the heading of the social licence to operate. In Finland, critical public framings characterized by impressions of failed economic promises, unreliable technology and environmental hazards have dominated the recent mining debate. Operators probing for opportunities to establish new mines have faced critical public reactions. Changes to legislation, natural resource management and corporate responsibility have been demanded in order to effectively address environmental concerns and local social acceptability issues. We studied media representations and planning documents in order to identify the variety of publicly presented concerns related to a planned gold mine and mining company's social licence to operate. Our case study focuses on the planning processes of a gold mine adjacent to an important tourist destination in the Kuusamo municipality in north-east Finland. We highlight the role of public debate on the formation and erosion of legitimacy and the fragility of the social licence to operate.
  • Metsämäki, Sari; Pulliainen, Jouni; Salminen, Miia; Luojus, Kari; Wiesmann, Andreas; Solberg, Rune; Böttcher, Kristin; Hiltunen, Mwaba; Ripper, Elisabeth (2014)
  • Björklöf, Katarina; Salminen, Jani; Sainio, Pirjo; Jørgensen, Kirsten (2008)
    Evidence for on site biodegradation may be difficult to provide at heterogeneous sites without additional experiments in controlled laboratory conditions. In this study, microbial activities measured as CO2 and CH4 production were compared in situ, in intact soil cores and in bottle microcosms containing sieved soils. In addition, biodegradation rates were determined by measuring the decrease in petroleum hydrocarbon concentrations at 7°C in aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Elevated concentrations of CO2 and CH4 in the soil gas phase indicated that both the aerobic and anaerobic microbial activity potentials were high at the contaminated site. Aerobic and anaerobic microbial degradation rates in laboratory experiments of petroleum hydrocarbons were highest in soils from the most contaminated point and degradation in the aerobic and anaerobic microcosms was linear throughout the incubation, indicating mass-transfer-dependent degradation. Different results for microbial activity measurements were obtained in laboratory studies depending on pretreatment and size of the sample, even when the environmental conditions were mimicked. These differences may be related to differences in the gas exchange rates as well as in changes in the bioavailability of the contaminant in different analyses. When predicting by modeling the behavior of an aged contaminant it is relevant to adapt the models in use to correspond to conditions relevant at the contaminated sites. The variables used in the models should be based on data from the site and on experiments performed using the original aged contaminant without any additions.