A1 Journal article (refereed)
Semi-natural habitats in the European boreal region : Caught in the socio-ecological extinction vortex? (2022)

Herzon, I., Raatikainen, K. J., Helm, A., Rūsiņa, S., Wehn, S., & Eriksson, O. (2022). Semi-natural habitats in the European boreal region : Caught in the socio-ecological extinction vortex?. Ambio, 51(8), 1753-1763. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-022-01705-3

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsHerzon, Irina; Raatikainen, Kaisa J.; Helm, Aveliina; Rūsiņa, Solvita; Wehn, Sølvi; Eriksson, Ove

Journal or seriesAmbio



Publication year2022

Publication date12/02/2022


Issue number8

Pages range1753-1763

PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media LLC

Publication countryNetherlands

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessPartially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/79824


We propose to consider semi-natural habitats—hotspots for biodiversity—being caught in a socio-ecological extinction vortex, similar to the phenomenon described for species threatened with extinction. These habitats are essentially socioecological systems, in which socioeconomic drivers are interlinked with ecological processes. We identify four highly interlinked and mutually reinforcing socio-economic processes, pertaining to the importance of semi-natural habitats for (i) agricultural production, (ii) policy, research and development; (iii) vocational education in the fields of agricultural sciences and (iv) public’s experiences with semi-natural habitats. Evidence from six countries in the boreal region demonstrates that recent slowing down or even reversal of two processes are insufficient to stop the extinction vortex phenomenon. We suggest research directions to ascertain the phenomenon, monitor its development and develop proactive actions to weaken the vortex. It is highly plausible that interventions directed at most, if not all, of the key vortex processes are needed to reverse the overall deteriorating trends of a socio-ecological system.

Keywordsagricultural environmentagricultural landscapetraditional biotopemeadowswoodland pasturesbiodiversityhabitatloss of naturenature conservation

Free keywordsagriculture; biodiversity; conservation; farmland; socio-ecological systems

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2022

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-15-06 at 00:25