Espoo to draw up 2035 roadmap for biodiversity protection

25.8.2022 4.36Updated: 25.8.2022 8.26
Detached houses by the sea. Seaside meadows, pine trees, forest in the background.
In the waterfront area of ​​Soukka, Espoonlahti, construction and diverse nature intertwine. Photo: City of Espoo/Tanja Hämäläinen

By the end of 2023, Espoo will draw up a roadmap to help biodiversity recover in the growing city. The aim is to achieve the biodiversity targets of the roadmap by 2035.

Espoo is known for its closeness to nature, and nature is an essential part of its appeal. The city is growing rapidly as part of the densifying Helsinki Metropolitan Area, and the objective of increasing biodiversity is partly in conflict with other development objectives. The roadmap is needed to make it possible to reconcile these divergent objectives.   

The roadmap implements the Espoo Story of the current council term, which focuses on responsibility and closeness to nature, as well as EU and national biodiversity strategies. Espoo is about to launch the preparation of a new city-wide master plan, supported by the roadmap.  

“To safeguard the valuable characteristics and diversity of our natural environment, we need expertise in areas such as conservation biology, land use, and green area planning and maintenance. This requires us to work together across the City’s organisational boundaries. The promotion of biodiversity should therefore be widely integrated into the City’s activities,” says Olli Isotalo, Deputy Mayor for Urban Environment. 

The roadmap is based on the principle of no net loss 

No net loss is a concept used by the EU, according to which human activities should not reduce biodiversity or ecosystem services, meaning the benefits that nature provides to human beings. The priority is to avoid damage to the nature of Espoo. Possible damage can be compensated for by means such as the creation of new conservation areas or habitat restoration.  

A deeper understanding of the mitigation of impacts on nature and ecological compensation is needed. These issues are new at a national level as well, and the ways of working are not yet well established. Espoo actively follows and participates in research projects on the theme. 

“We are in uncharted waters, as similar analyses at the municipal level have not been carried out in Finland before. We can draw on the knowledge already acquired about the functioning of ecological networks and previous experience in land use planning. We are developing our practices to support our nature objectives,” says Tarja Söderman from Espoo’s Environmental Protection.  

Towards the roadmap 

The preparation of the roadmap will include   

  • updating Espoo’s current practices for biodiversity protection 
  • studying the practices of other growing cities in Europe  
  • developing planning tools, such as the green factor  
  • investigating how Espoo’s natural areas can be restored ​ 
  • promoting biodiversity as part of land use planning 
  • participating in research projects and putting their results into practice in Espoo. 
  • Nature
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