The issue of biodiversity in ecological restoration
The UN Climate Change Conference COP 21 held concurrently in Paris will give the future direction on how to deal with the challenges of climate change. Ecological restoration plays a role in this, as restoration is a tool contributing to mitigation of climate change. In recent years the emphases in ecological restoration has turned more to restoring for ecosystem services. A strong focus on carbon and climate may however pose a risk if biodiversity is ignored in ecological restoration.
The ERMOND workshop “The risk of ignoring biodiversity when restoring for ecosystem services” took place in Oslo on December 3rd 2015. A group of 15 invited participants discussed this complicated and important issue. The workshop started with three lectures addressing the topic from different perspectives, followed by discussion in the afternoon. Erik Gomez-Baggethun, an environmental economist at NINA, presented “From biodiversity to ecosystem services: Skeptical notes on the instrumental drift in restoration ecology”. Susan Baker, a social scientist at the Cardiff University, gave a talk on “Understanding societal values and trade-offs in ecological restoration”. Anne Tolvanen, an ecologist at Luke gave a presentation titled “New approaches to reconsolidate ecological restoration within the multiple land-use schemes”.
The discussion raised a number of interesting points, and underpinned the importance of biodiversity within ecological restoration. Carbon and ecosystem services have become a driver in ecological restoration. This has put the focus on restoration and given priority to restoration activity in the Nordic countries. However, a single motivation on carbon or other ecosystem services may in some situations be in direct conflict with the protection and enhancing of biodiversity.
Further analysis of the outcome of the discussion will be carried out by participants in the near future.