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A forest

Lahti becomes the first city in Finland to test out ecological compensation

Lahti becomes the first city in Finland to test out ecological compensation

The municipality is searching for ways to reduce the loss of biodiversity when carrying out essential construction projects

Earlier this week, the 2021 European Green Capital reported that it has become the first city in Finland to launch an ecological compensation pilot. Under this project, the City of Lahti will compensate for the damage it causes to nature and biodiversity by preserving or improving the state of another green area.

Preserving a coastal forest

Lahti is currently working on the creation of a neighbourhood of detached houses in the Kytölä II area, where biodiversity is steadily declining. With the construction of this new housing zone, the municipality is inevitably causing the deterioration of local nature.

Therefore, to make up for this damage, the Finnish city will now take action to preserve the coastal forest in Alvojärvi, where the trees are diverse and old. More specifically, the municipality will include the area in its upcoming nature conservation programme.

A new way to reduce the loss of nature

According to the City of Lathi, ecological compensation gives municipalities and companies a new way to carry out essential construction projects without significantly reducing biodiversity. Commenting on the pilot, Mayor of Lahti Pekka Timonen shared:

“The state of biodiversity is deteriorating alarmingly all the time. As the 2021 European Green Capital, Lahti is responsible for halting the loss of nature and climate change. As a result of the ecological compensation project, we can compensate for the loss of biodiversity caused by construction by preserving nature that is valuable in its diversity elsewhere.”

The municipality is implementing the pilot in cooperation with the EKOTEKO project, which involves the University of Helsinki, the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, and Akordi. Together, these bodies will test how ecological compensation can be applied in an urban environment.

If the pilot proves successful, municipalities and companies all over the world can use the model to reduce the loss of biodiversity and nature when carrying out essential construction projects.

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