The aim is to boost the conservation of biodiversity in all parts of the world. The treaty also stresses the importance of ecosystem services, i.e. the benefits humans extract from our natural environment, and the sustainable utilisation of natural resources. Ecosystem services include, for example, natural fibres, groundwater, plant pollination and the aesthetic value of nature.
The Nagoya conference also drafted a so-called protocol on genetic resources, which sets rules on how genetic material can be used in, for example, the pharmaceuticals and chemicals industries. It also contains provisions on how gene-derived benefits are to be shared. Reaching an accord on the funding of different measures was decisive to winning the participation of developing countries.
The Nagoya Protocol enters into force in 2012. The participating countries must by then decide how they intend to realise the set targets in practice.
17% of land and inland waters to be protected
The Nagoya conference decided to increase the protection target for land and inland waters to 17% of overall area. The target for sea and coastal regions was set at 10% of overall area. The treaty also obligates signatories to increase their efforts to restore degraded habitats.
According to the latest Finnish Forest Research Institute statistic, 9% of Finland’s forests are under strict conservation. When areas in which only limited commercial forestry operations are permitted are added to this, no less than 18% of our overall land area is under conservation. Protected inland water areas must also be considered in order to compute a figure that is comparable to the target set by the Nagoya Conference.
Voluntary conservation measures the fastest option
Conservation percentages and their realisation largely depend on how rigidly or loosely conservation is defined in practice. Voluntary efforts are the quickest and most effective way to move forward with conservation.
The most effective and fastest way to protect biodiversity in Finnish forests is to couple nature management measures practised in commercial forests with the voluntary measures included in the METSO Forest Biodiversity Action Programme for Southern Finland. Voluntary measures yield the quickest results in Finland, where the majority of forests are private property and tended to by the families who own them.
The nature management of commercial forests has become an integral aspect of good forestry and timber harvesting practice. The valuable habitats found within commercial forests have been mapped and these locations are primarily excluded from forestry measures.
In addition to this, retention trees and broadleaved trees are left standing in logging sites and controlled burning implemented in some forest areas in order to conserve and promote characteristics that are typical of natural-state forests.
The effects of nature management in commercial forests become visible as these measures proceed. A couple of percent of Finland’s commercial forests are targeted by forestry measures each year.
Suvi Raivio, Senior Adviser, Biodiversity, Finnish Forest Industries Federation
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