The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has issued a grant to Senior Lecturer in Ecology Annie Jonsson at the University of Skövde for 4.8 million Swedish kronor for her project "Landscape biodiversity capacity: a tool for measuring, monitoring and managing". The project will study maintaining and increasing nature's biological diversity, over a three-year period.
Simplified, biological diversity refers to the diversity among living organisms, in water and on land. Today, nature's biological diversity is facing several threats; pollution, unsustainable hunting, and, most of all, living environments that are being destroyed or changed due to deforestation or infrastructure developments done by humans. For living organisms, this means that their living environments are being destroyed, it means shrinking resources in the form of food and habitats, and increased distances between environments where they can settle down, leading to diminishing genetic pools. Eventually, extinction becomes inevitable. Most countries around the world, including Sweden, have signed a UN convention for active measures for preserving our biological diversity.
Granted 4.8 million Swedish kronor
Annie Jonsson's project "Landscape biodiversity capacity: a tool for measuring, monitoring and managing" recently received a grant of 4.8 million Swedish kronor from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency's fund for environmental research. The project will develop an index that can be used for making estimations on the ability of certain areas to make contributions to biological diversity. The goal of the project is to develop an index that can provide better information for decision making to politicians, government, and corporations to optimize the use of the land and natural environments.
– Our research vision is to contribute to promoting and preserving our biological diversity. Or, even better, increasing biological diversity, says Annie Jonsson at the University of Skövde.
Some questions that we will be able to analyse by using the index are, for example, "How does the landscape's ability to support the biological diversity change with changes in the use of the land?", "On the landscape level, which biotopes contribute the most to biological diversity?", and "Which are the most important locales for sustaining the spread of species?".
Three case studies
The index processes information about the ecological structures of the landscape. Among other things, the information covers life environments of the landscape, how many types there are, how they are divided, and how easy it is for species to spread in the specific landscapes. The index will be tested in three case studies in a collaboration with the municipalities in Boxholm and Mjölby, the County Administrative Board of Borås, and the forestry company SCA. A person from the Environmental Protection Agency will also be part of the group as a reference. The project will run over a period of three years.