Leila Räsänen: Biodiversity – experiences to suit all tastes
What was the favourite holiday location for you and your family last summer? Did you enjoy the summer on a lush island, barren fells, or splashing around on the waterfront, or in the shade of the forest at the summer cottage?
Biodiversity refers to the variety of life, which provides us with aesthetic and inspiring holiday experiences – the archipelago, fells, hot sandy beaches and spruce forests are all different natural environments. Biodiversity refers to the variety within and between species manifested in different habitats which range from the barren tundra to the Amazonian rain forests.
Besides the aesthetic aspects, biodiversity maintains functions that are necessary for the wellbeing of mankind. These ecosystem services are grouped into provisioning, regulating, supporting and cultural categories.
Recreation in a national park is an example of cultural services – the landscape provides inspiration to visitors and tourism provides a livelihood to local entrepreneurs.
Nature provides us with medicinal herbs, mushrooms, berries and game. In addition, forest owners sell timber for livelihood needs. The capacity of an ecosystem to provide goods and services for our needs is called provisioning service.
The supporting and regulating services provided by habitats sequester carbon in wood, maintain fresh groundwater and protect from floods, for example – a manipulated environment may deteriorate biodiversity whereby its natural capacity to retain and purify water is jeopardized.
Humankind is the key in the preservation of biodiversity and efficient ecosystem services. Natural resources are hard-pressed because of the increasing human population and commercial activities, as a result of which our rich natural environment suffers, floods occur and pollination services, important to food production, decline significantly.
Businesses are encouraged to reflect on the connection between their operations and biodiversity. It will help them map the risks and opportunities related to their business, as well as safeguard their operating conditions for the coming years – the availability of cocoa, for example, will be at stake in the future.
In our role as consumers, we should make considered purchases, avoid food waste and choose environmentally friendlier alternatives whenever possible – the choice can be a more sustainably caught, MSC certified fish product, or PEFC or FSC certified printed product or a garden furniture set.
The writer is CR Specialist at FIBS CR Network.
Further information: http://www.fibsry.fi/fi/english/home
CBD Business & Biodiversity Forum -Practices, Solutions and the Way Forward Helsinki 11-12 November 2015