MAES-related developments in Finland

Finland has actively participated in Esmeralda project which continues the previous ecosystem service assessment works such as TEEB for Finland study (Towards Sustainable and Genuinely Green Economy - The value and social significance of ecosystem services in Finland), and development of the Finnish Ecosystem Services Indicators – a national framework that integrates CICES classification and Cascade model; see This internet portal is gradually being developed as a Finnish National CBD Clearing House Mechanism (CHM) under the Convention on Biological Diversity. It aims at synthesizing the knowledge on the status of biodiversity, ecosystem services, and for instance, to serve as the national webpage of Nagoya Protocol on genetic resources and Cartagena Protocol on biosafety. The information processed for this portal is also the basis for national reporting to the CBD. For example, the 5th National report on the implementation of CBD Aichi targets, was compiled with the help of this portal and distributed to the CBD Secretariat in March 2014.

Today, MAES related developments in Finland can be categorized under four classes:

1)    Networking and information sharing. National network of people and institutes who are interested in MAES and doing MAES-related work was established and a kick-off meeting was arranged in 2016, at SYKE in Helsinki. The network is volunteer-based, but –portal is offered for presenting mapping results under the associated indicator categories. The aim is to arrange meeting yearly, to update recent findings, and keep cooperation networks informed about the MAES process. Ministry of the Environment has supported this work yearly.

2)    Supporting land use planning. Local stakeholders such as county planners and natural resource managers have got interested in possibilities of mapping work. For instance, GreenFrame and ESTIMAP mapping approaches has been applied in several regions in Finland (counties and municipalities), and for integrated coastal zone management. Municipalities have been also interested in mapping their carbon storages (Akujärvi et al. 2016). However, this progress is mainly based on individual projects.

3)    Integrated Natural Capital Accounting. There has been increasing national level interest towards the MAES applications, especially for KIP-INCA work. Finnish Environment Institute, Natural Resource Institute and Statistics Finland have discussed collaboration possibilities to integrate MAES and INCA work. A NCA seminar will be arranged in May 2017. A background report by Jäppinen & Heliölä was published 2016 and an on-going pilot study funded by the Ministry of the Environment will be conducted in 2017.

4)    Preparing for ecosystem condition assessment. Technological potential of remote sensing and other environmental monitoring techniques has developed fast, but their potential in monitoring of ecosystem condition is poorly harvested. Finnish environmental research infrastructure development project ENVIBASE has improved facilities to use new Earth Observation data (e.g. Sentinels, Copernicus data services). Applications, such as ecosystem condition assessment, using this data possibility, should be demonstrated next. We have been assessing also how the concept of Essential Biodiversity Variables by GEO BON could be used to support national biodiversity and ecosystem services monitoring (Vihervaara et al. 2017). Bridging the gaps between different research group initiatives is high in our future agenda.

More information available at Finnish Environment Institute

Selected recent publications and reports related to Finnish Ecosystem Service research:


Salomaa, A., Paloniemi, R., Kotiaho, J.S., Kettunen, M. & Apostolopoulou, E. 2017: Can green infrastructure help to conserve biodiversity?Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space 35(2): 265-288.


Potschin, M.B., Primmer, E., Furman, E. & Haines-Young, R.H. 2016: Have ecosystem services been oversold? : A response to Silvertown. Trends in Ecology and Evolution  31(5): 334-335.

Borja, A., Elliott, M., Andersen, J.H., Berg, T., Carstensen, J., Halpern, B.S., Heiskanen, A.-S., Korpinen, S., Lowndes, J.S.S., Martin, G., Rodriguez-Ezpeleta, N. 2016: Overview of integrative assessment of marine systems : The ecosystem approach in practice. Frontiers in Marine Science 3: 20.

Akujärvi, A., Lehtonen, A. & Liski, J. 2016: Ecosystem services of boreal forests - Carbon budget mapping at high resolution . Journal of Environmental Management.

Mononen, L., Ahokumpu, A.-L., Auvinen, A.-P., Rönkä, M., Tolvanen, H., Aarras, N., Kamppinen, M., Viirret, E., Kumpula, T. & Vihervaara, P. 2016: National ecosystem service indicators: measures of social-ecological sustainability. Ecological Indicators.

Vermaat, J.E., Wagtendonk, A.J., Brouwer, R., Sheremet, O., Ansink, E., Brockhoff, T., Plug, M., Hellsten, S., Aroviita, J. et al. 2016: Assessing the societal benefits of river restoration using the ecosystem services approach. Hydrobiologia.

Forsius, M., Akujärvi, A., Mattsson, T., Holmberg, M., Punttila, P., Posch, M., Liski, J., Repo, A., Virkkala, R. & Vihervaara, P. 2016: Modelling impacts of forest bioenergy use on ecosystem sustainability: Lammi LTER region, southern Finland. Ecological Indicators.

Jäppinen, J.-P. & Heliölä, J. 2016: Suomen luontopääoman tilinpitoa koskevan kansallisen kehittämistyön sisältö ja vaatimukset (Defining the content and demands for Natural Capital Accounting in Finland). A state of art report and policy recommendations prepared for the Finnish Ministry of the Environment by the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE). 6 pp. Helsinki.


Primmer, E., Jokinen, P., Blicharska, M., Barton, D.N., Bugter, R. & Potschin M. 2015: Governance of ecosystem services : A framework for empirical analysis. Ecosystem Services.

Ratamäki, O., Jokinen, P., Borgen Sørensen, P., Breeze, T. & Potts, S. 2015: A multilevel analysis on pollination-related policies. Ecosystem Services.

Assmuth, T. & Lyytimäki, J. 2015: Co-constructing inclusive knowledge within converging fields : Environmental governance and health care. Environmental Science & Policy.

Palviainen, M., Lehtoranta, J., Ekholm, P., Ruoho-Airola, T. & Kortelainen P. 2015: Land cover controls the export of terminal electron acceptors from boreal catchments. Ecosystems.

Vihervaara, P., Mononen, L., Auvinen, A.-P., Virkkala, R., Lü, Y., Pippuri, I., Packalen P., Valbuena, R. & Valkama, J. 2015: How to integrate remotely sensed data and biodiversity for ecosystem assessments at landscape scale. Landscape Ecology.

Holmberg, M., Akujärvi, A., Anttila, S., Arvola, L., Bergström, I., Böttcher, K., Feng, X., Forsius, M., Huttunen, I., Huttunen, M., Laine, Y., Lehtonen, H., Liski, J., Mononen, L., Rankinen, K., Repo, A., Piirainen, V., Vanhala, P. & Vihervaara P. 2015: ESLab application to a boreal watershed in southern Finland: preparing for a virtual research environment for ecosystem services. Landscape Ecology.


Kopperoinen L., Itkonen P., Niemelä J. 2014. Using expert knowledge in combining green infrastructure and ecosystem services in land use planning – an insight into a new place-based methodology. Landscape ecology 29:1361-1375.

Date: 17/03/2017

For additional information see the ESMERALDA country fact sheet