Internationally agreed policy applying to the Baltic Sea clearly states the need for maintaining biological diversity at gene-, species- and ecosystem levels. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are identified as an important measure to reach this goal but research show that conservation plans governing Baltic MPAs are largely void of goals and strategies for genetic biodiversity and it appears to lag behind species diversity. In-depth interviews with low-level public managers responsible for the practical work with MPAs indicates that the importance of genetic diversity is strongly concerned but lack of resources including knowledge is regarded to prohibit further action.

By identifying local authorities and low-level public managers involved in management of Baltic Sea MPAs in different Baltic countries, this project will construct a database and conduct a trial interview survey to explore attitudes towards biological diversity and understanding of formal policy. This is relevant for explaining the general lack of implantation of existing biodiversity agreements in the Baltic Sea and for identifying potential ways forward to assure long-term maintenance of the unique gene pools, species, and ecosystems of the Baltic Sea.

The objective of the project is to provide a necessary basis for investigating attitudes and knowledge towards biological diversity and how it should be handled in the context of MPA management and policy implementation in Baltic Sea countries. The project builds on and combine expert skills in large scale mapping of cross-national environmental governance and understanding patterns of biological diversity and conservation policy implementation. Focus will be on eastern and southern Estonia, Russia, Poland, and Germany.

Researchers and departments:
Linda Laikre, Department of Zoology
Andreas Duit, Department of Political Science