Nordic bio-resources: mapping sustainability criteria

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Natural capital or the bio-resources of the Nordic countries directly contribute significantly to the Nordic economies, or approximately 10% on average (Rönnlund et al 2014). The contributing proportion is the highest in Iceland, or 18% (Rönnlund et al 2014). In addition to the direct economic contribution, the bio-resources also contribute indirectly through their multifaceted role in enabling societies to thrive e.g. through natural carbon sequestration, natural water purification, dilution of pollution or enabling nature based recreation.

Given the importance of bio-resources for Nordic societies and economies it is fundamentally important for continued and long-term regional prosperity that the resources are used sensibly and their longevity is ensured by sustainable use.

Project aims

The aims of the project are:

  • to identify the bio-resources of the Nordic countries that contribute directly to Nordic economies.
  • to map quantitative goals for allowable/sustainable yield across all Nordic countries for the bio-resources identified, i.e. illustrating what these goals are, how they are determined and enforced.
  • to compare the goals for the same bio-resources across the Nordic countries.

Bio-resources in the project are defined based on the definition by McCormick og Kautto (2013) page 2590: The bioeconomy is “…an economy where the basic building blocks for materials, chemicals and energy are derived from renewable biological resources, such as plant and animal sources.”

As a result, resources that are not derived from renewable biological resources are excluded.

Project value added

The value of this project includes:

  • that the project will provide an overview of quantitative sustainability criteria, and associated methodologies leading to significant insights and research opportunities,
  • that the project can facilitate cooperation among the Nordic countries, and improve processes when defining and determining sustainability criteria,
  • that the project can illustrate Nordic Excellence and establish the region as frontrunners in terms of sustainable use of bio-resources.

Project team

Project managers: Rannvá Danielsen and Sigurður Eyberg Jóhannesson University of Iceland
Advisers: Brynhildur Davíðsdóttir and Daði Már Kristófersson University of Iceland
Researchers: Rannvá Danielsen, Sigurður Eyberg Jóhannesson, Fredrik Salenius University of Iceland, Halla Margrét Jóhannesdóttir The Institute of Freshwater Fisheries, Birgir Örn Smarason, University of Iceland and Matis, and Iceland Forestry Research at Mógilsá.

For more information

Brynhildur Davíðsdóttir, Professor
Environment and Natural Resources
University of Iceland