News 06/23/2023

Luke and its partners seek new ways to combat biodiversity loss - Testing theories in practice

23 June, 2023

Recovery of biodiversity requires a permanent change in human practices, which has proved difficult. The international COEVOLVERS project, led by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), studies ways to speed up change. A new perspective comes from co-creation, the idea of reciprocity between man and nature, where all parties support each other's health and well-being.

"The challenge in developing nature-based solutions is to maintain enthusiasm and implement concrete actions in the long term," says Juha Hiedanpää, research professor at Luke. According to him, the starting point is often good: In theory, it is often very clear how biodiversity should be promoted in a certain area. As a rule, policy designers currently seek solutions in interaction with local people and organizations. Researchers call this kind of planning co-design. Often they also find a solution that simultaneously satisfies people's needs and is suitable for reviving nature in the area in question. 

However, these starting points are not always enough to bring about long-lasting change as practical activities may wither soon after the development project. There is one more starting point, or rather a goal, which, according to Hiedanpää, has received less attention. It is co-creation.

By co-creation, Hiedanpää means the kind of interaction between people and other species or nature areas that supports the well-being of all parties and strengthens their ability to face future challenges as well, that is, to become more adaptive and resilient. This is the goal of the international EU-funded project COEVOLVERS, which Hiedanpää leads.

"Co-creation as an enabler of long-lasting change is a new and very exciting research topic. Together with our international partners, we are developing a new theoretical basis and we get to develop and test it in practice in seven living labs across Europe."

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Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)