Pilot Project: Area and Nature Accounting - An Essential Tool and Knowledge Base
Lofoten, 29th September 2023 - Over the last few days, Hemmingodden Lodge in Ballstad, Vestvågøy, has hosted a significant gathering. The Lofoten Area and Nature Accounting Workshop brought together a diverse range of experts, decision-makers, and local stakeholders.
The objective was clear: How can Lofoten strike a balance between societal development and the preservation of its unique nature? Gaute Wahl, the CEO of the Lofoten Council, introduced the workshop, emphasizing the importance of inter-municipal collaboration.
Focus on Land and Sea
The first day of the workshop, named "LAND-DAY", included presentations by Svein Einar Stuen from the County Governor of Nordland, offering a national perspective on area and nature accounting. Mia Marthinus Husdal from Nordland County Council spoke about the council's land accounting.
The second day, named "SEA-DAY", shone a light on marine areas. Hanne Grøn from Lofotkraft Opportunities shared insights into the land requirements for future energy solutions, while Anne Rørholt from the Statistics Norway (SSB) discussed municipal statistics at sea.
A Platform for Knowledge Sharing and Interdisciplinary Collaboration
What truly distinguished this workshop from others was its interdisciplinary collaboration. Gaute Wahl, CEO of the Lofoten Council, began by highlighting the importance of inter-municipal collaboration. The program varied from discussions on electricity supply planning with Trond Danielsen from Elmea, to local planning perspectives with Eva-Mari Rahkola from Vestvågøy municipality – a gathering of expertise with a shared goal.
The workshop was also a meeting point for sharing knowledge. The presentations provided insights into national perspectives on area and nature accounting by Jannicke Røren from the Environment Directorate, an overview of crucial functional areas for birds by Martin Eggen from BirdLife, and experiences from municipal planning and inter-municipal collaboration with Hans Christian Haakonsen from Hadsel municipality and Magne Haukås from Norconsult.
Why Area and Nature Accounting?
In an era dominated by climate change and environmental concerns, understanding our natural resources is more critical than ever. Area and nature accounting is a tool that can quantify and evaluate the quality of areas and nature – from urban areas to essential ecosystems.
For Lofoten, with its rich natural heritage, this accounting can serve as a vital tool in municipal management. It offers insights into the current state, facilitates targeted preservation, and informs decision-makers about the potential consequences of development projects. Additionally, the accounting can consolidate existing knowledge into one tool and serve as an essential knowledge base for the business community.
Lofoten's Future Management
With an understanding of Lofoten's natural capital, the region can better navigate future challenges and opportunities. Area and nature accounting provides an opportunity to identify the areas most vulnerable to disturbances, those with the most significant development potential, and how different measures can impact the local and regional ecosystem.
This also equips local authorities with a solid foundation for making decisions affecting the economy, tourism, and the population. Instead of relying on assumptions, decisions can be based on precise data.
"Nature accounting isn't just a tool, but a compass guiding us towards the low-emission society of 2040. Without it, we'd be navigating blindly in our attempt to meet tomorrow's standards and objectives for area and nature management." – Tora Paulsen.
Tora Paulsen, Lofoten Council's project manager for area and nature accounting, is part of the ambitious program "Lofoten - The Green Islands". Tora has a background in natural management and holds a master's degree in marine biology. She brings both academic depth and practical understanding. Her knowledge of area and nature accounting, combined with her industry experience, makes her an invaluable resource for the region and this project. Paulsen's blend of scientific insights and project management skills positions Lofoten strongly for sustainable management of its abundant natural capital.
Conclusion: A Lofoten Prepared for the Future
With a robust knowledge foundation and a methodology like area and nature accounting, the region is better equipped for the future. The discussions and knowledge shared during the workshop are just the beginning. As locals, experts, and decision-makers continue to collaborate, Lofoten can not only preserve its nature but also ensure a sustainable and bright future for all its inhabitants.
Contact Information for the Project Manager:
TORA PAULSEN Project Manager for Area and Nature Accounting email@example.com +47 469 16 684
Ecosystem – A more or less well-defined and consistent natural system where communities of plants, animals, fungi, and microorganisms interact both amongst themselves and with the non-living environment.
Land Accounting – Overview of which types of nature we have in abundance or scarcity, and which are increasing or decreasing over time.
Nature Accounting – Overview of the ecosystems' spatial extent, ecological condition, and ecosystem services.
Ecosystem Services – The direct and indirect contributions of ecosystems to human well-being. The term "natural goods" is sometimes used synonymously.
Ecological Condition – The status and development of functions, structure, and productivity in a nature type's locations in light of relevant influencing factors.
The Environment Directorate. (2023, June 29). Nature Accounting. Retrieved from https://www.miljodirektoratet.no/ansvarsomrader/overvaking-arealplanlegging/naturregnskap/
Nature Diversity Act (2009). Act on the management of nature's diversity. (LOV-2009-06-19-100). Retrieved from https://lovdata.no/lov/2009-06-19-100
TEEB (2010). The economics of ecosystems and biodiversity: ecological and economic foundations. Edited by Pushpam Kumar. Earthscan, London and Washington.