Project Details

Description (abstract)

Climate change severely affects the environment and species diversity in particular. Different species have uneven effects on the viability and balance of ecosystems, which is why maintaining high species diversity is a crucial part of effective climate actions. The most endangered ecosystems in Finland are traditional rural biotopes. The status of many of these habitats is declining even though improving these habitats is effective with correct maintenance actions. Livestock farms have a key role in maintaining and protecting rural biotope habitats with suitable grazing animals. Supporting farmers in lowering or compensating the carbon footprint of their cattle farms through versatile and voluntary measures enables farmers to actively take part in climate action. These actions also enable them to affect their income if for example milk prices are tied to carbon footprint measurements.

Various dairy and meat companies in Finland have already and are currently estimating the carbon footprint of their farms. Biodiversity has not previously been included in carbon actions. The aim of this project is to evaluate the compensation effect that new or reconstructed biodiversity areas have on the carbon footprint of cattle farms in Southern Finland. The ecological value of potential biotope areas will be evaluated in cooperation with the HELMI-program led by the Ministry of Environment. As a result, the project formulates a biodiversity compensation index to be added to the farms’ carbon footprint matrix. In addition, the project evaluates the effect on animal welfare and efficiency of using cattle to graze on the biodiversity areas for care and reconstruction purposes. The effect of grazing on the farmer’s work load is also evaluated. Furthermore, the project evaluates farmers’ experience and interest to use biodiversity areas as a method of compensating their carbon footprint in comparison to other climate actions.

Layman's description

This project aims to consider biodiversity, carbon footprint of cattle, and animal welfare aspects jointly, in order to seek novel policy instruments applicable to farmers in Finland
Short titleRural Biotopes
Effective start/end date03/05/202130/04/2023

Fields of Science

  • 512 Business and Management
  • policy instruments
  • farmer incentives
  • 413 Veterinary science
  • animal welfare
  • 1172 Environmental sciences
  • biodiversity