About Project

The project Green Islands in the Baltic Sea is a cooperation between organizations in Sweden, Finland and Estonia. There are 4 project partners involved and the duration of the project is 3 years (Nov 2010 – Dec 2013). It is mainly financed by the Central Baltic Interreg programme IVA 2007-2013 and is part of their Islands and Archipelago Sub-programme.

The project Green Islands in the Baltic Sea are going to examines the current situation of the islands (6 in Sweden, 1 in Estonia and  4 in Finland) with regards to garbage disposal, wastewater management, energy management and transportation as well as greenhouse gas emission and ecosystem services provided and utilized.

The steps that the project will take are to carefully examine the current situation today by mapping and analyzing, and to make management plans on how to move forward. The management plans will present new solutions within the fields (garbage disposal, wastewater management, energy management, transportation ) and comparing them in efficiency both economically and environmentally. We are looking for the best systems and techniques that can help to increase sustainability in a way well suited for the archipelago conditions.

The mapping will be carried out by a survey and semi-structured interviews. All mapping will form the basis of publicly available information on the best environmental solutions for the islands. The information will be publicly available via a web based GIS-portal.
This means that it should be easy to see what kind of solutions that would fit into areas that have very different structures and conditions.

The project also includes lectures both in the form of seminars and smaller information meetings where the project will present the latest research and the best examples of how to best tackle environmental issues related to energy, sewage and waste disposal. These seminars and information meetings will be summarized and reported in the project newsletter and on the website.

The research insitute of Aronia, Finland is going to identify ecosystem services on the participating islands in addition to the overall mapping of the Finnish islands. The ecosystem services will be identified on all the project’s islands.

Ecosystem services

Humans benefit from a wide range of resources provided by nature. The natural processes providing such resources are called ecosystem services.

Ecosystem services include for example waste absorption and breakdown, nutrient recycling and retention, water filtration, regulation of groundwater levels and stream flows, pollination, insect pest control, timber production, animal fodder production, fish production and maintenance of biodiversity. Nature is also important for the fulfillments of various health, recreational and cultural needs.

Since these services are often provided free of charge, we tend to take them for granted. They are typically not recognized in economical systems, even though they are often of great importance and the cost of these services, when not provided by nature, can be very large. Human activities interact with natural ecosystems in numerous ways, affecting ecosystem services.  Human activities can have both negative effects, causing ecosystem services to decline and positive effects, increasing the efficiency of ecosystem services.

Within the framework of Green Islands, ecosystem services on Baltic Sea islands will be mapped, providing insights into which ecosystem services are used by islanders and how, and whether those services are actively maintained on the islands (for example by land use regimes or nature conservation work).