Exploring the potential of Finnish habitats restoration via citizen-level biodiversity conservation actions

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Clara Lizarazo, Ilona Laine, BeƱat Olascoaga, Panu Halme

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In Finland, voluntary nature conservation programs have been widely accepted by the public, particularly in forest conservation. The state funded METSO program (2008-2025) has been widely accepted by forest family owners across Finland. However, the government funding for such schemes is limited and they do not exist for a wider range of habitat types nor with different approaches for non-landowners. Biodiversity offsetting has recently gained attention and there is ongoing discussion on how to implement it. Our research assesses the possibility of voluntary biodiversity conservation actions in Finland. We evaluate how open Finnish citizens would be towards participating in different voluntary ecological compensation mechanisms, and whether they prefer certain habitats. A choice experiment survey was designed with four attributes to identify citizen preferences towards voluntary biodiversity offset scenarios. The selected attributes were habitat, distance from home, habitat restoration class, and voluntary offset mechanism. For simplicity, we focused on five broad habitat types: spruce mires, herb-rich forests, meadows, headwater streams and archipelago, and the restoration actions were grouped in three classes. The voluntary offset mechanisms were volunteer work, donation to NGO and nature tax contribution. The survey is conducted in three stages online using Webropol: focus groups (15 people), pilot group (50 people) and finally a large-scale online survey in April-May 2021, in which any resident of Finland can answer. The results will be available before the conference. During the conference, we will describe what habitat types, restoration actions, and offset mechanisms are preferred and what are the main socio-demographic drivers behind those preferences.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program