Baltic Sea Action for Biodiversity is a collaborative project which utilises the extensive data from the Finnish Inventory Programme for the Underwater Marine Environment VELMU to build concrete measures to protect underwater environments in the Baltic Sea. The coast of Finland has a rich and diverse underwater life. However, eutrophication, climate change, and different human-induced pressures threaten the sea’s biodiversity.
Baltic Sea Action for Biodiversity aims to develop solutions to bring valuable underwater marine areas under protection, and to inform public about the importance of underwater biodiversity and private entities’ role in protecting it. This is especially important, as research has shown that most of the valuable habitats in need of protection are located in privately owned areas.
Currently almost three quarters of important underwater marine environments fall outside of the protected areas. Biodiversity is often concentrated in relatively small areas, so called hot spots. This is why even small increases in protected areas can bring a large variety of species and habitats under protection, if the measures are well planned and precisely targeted.
In addition to BSAG, key collaborators in the project are Tvärminne zoological station, University of Helsinki, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE and Åbo Akademi. The project strengthens the collaboration with VELMU and the inventory project of the marine environments of Åland islands. The Bank of Åland’s Baltic Sea Project is the strategic partner and financer of the project. The Bank of Åland funds the project with 80 000 € during its first year and the aim is to build long-term collaboration.
The project’s pilot area is the Gullkrona island in the archipelago of Southwestern Finland. According to the VELMU data gathered so far, the surroundings of the island are rich habitats and the variety of species will be further investigated during the early autumn 2019. The evaluation is planned with VELMU and it is carried out by Metsähallitus.
The press release of the project can be found here.