Small-scale ecological compensations: what are people’s preferences for participating in them?

Funded by Kone Foundation, the project Katoava Luonto wants to find out people's attitudes towards various possible ways of compensating for the restoration and management of Finnish habitats. Share your opinions in the choice survey about small-scale ecological compensation and participate in prize draw!
Illustration: Beñat Olascoaga.

For decades, the concept of ecological compensation has been implemented as a mechanism that allows industries and other large scale actors to mitigate some of the damage their activities cause. They can for example engage in different restoration programs that result in gains of biodiversity values.

The practice of compensation is only advised as a last resort: before compensating the actors must be sure to avoid and minimize biodiversity loss and only use compensation if the other options are not feasible.

Ecological compensation as a practice has been controversial and strongly criticized. Is compensation a free pass to destroy nature? If nature is unique and irreplaceable, is compensation futile and just a façade to improve the image of companies? How can one fairly say what should be replaced by what and where?

Should we only compensate for noticeable nature damage (e.g mining) or should we all be accountable and compensate for all small individual actions (e.g. building a summer cottage, using appliances, eating exotic food etc.)?

Pollinator workshops in allotment gardens: Photo: Pira Cousin.

The project aims to downscale the practice of ecological compensation to the citizen level

Our extractivist and consumerist behaviour has led to the current biodiversity and climate crises. Can we continue living as usual and just expect big actors do something? Or should we all be held accountable? It is probably fair to argue that small-scale ecological compensation can be an important tool to steer people into more sustainable behaviours and to support nature values.

Our Katoava luonto project was one of the projects funded by Kone Foundation in the funding call Ecological compensation in Society and CultureUntil the Katoava luonto project began, ecological compensation had not been explored at the citizen level in Finland.

The aim of our project is to downscale the practice of ecological compensation to the citizen level. For our research, citizen’s opinions and participation are central and thus we have engaged citizens in different activities: from doing pro-diversity actions in allotment gardens to transforming lawns into meadows with university students.

Researchers from Katoava luonto project looking for pollinators such as bees and hoverflies. Photo: Beñat Olascoaga.

Can your opinion shape the future practice? Participate in a choice survey about small-scale ecological compensation!

We believe ecological compensation mechanisms should be developed for any citizen to participate fairly and be engaged in nature protection activities. We need your opinion!

With this survey, we want find out people’s attitudes towards various possible ways of compensating for the restoration and management of Finnish habitats. The options are by no means perfect, but are a first step towards developing ecological compensation at a small scale.

The survey closes on October 22, 2021.All respondents to the survey will participate in the prize draw. The prize option is either a) a mushroom trip with forest biologists (includes trips to Jyväskylä) or b) a 50 euro gift card to Ruohonjuuri. We will draw two prizes among all respondents.

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Author

Clara Lizarazo

Clara Lizarazo (D.Sc) is a postdoctoral researcher at the Intervention Ecology Research Group at the University of Jyväskylä. She also does Crop Science research at the University of Helsinki.

Panu Halme

Panu Halme (D.Sc) is a Senior Lecturer in Sustainability of the Use of Natural Resources and Conservation Biology at the University of Jyväskylä. Panu is the leader of the Katoava Luonto project and co-leader of the Intervention ecology research group.

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