Narratives on Restored Water



This Biodiversa project will examine effective nature conservation and climate change mitigation led by local communities between 2022 and 2024. This is done by looking at restoration, rewilding, biodiversity, greenhouse gas flux (GHG) and carbon storage of Swedish and Finnish inland waters, wetlands and adjacent meadows and forests.

Different sectors of society (e.g. local communities, including Saami people, academics and administrative actors) will be included, and we will examine success of these locally led restoration projects by bringing together social (oral histories, narratives, values) and ecological (GHG, biodiversity measurements) methods.

Salojennevan entinen turvekenttä.

Ultimately, we ask profound questions:

  • what are the ecological, cultural, social and spiritual values that inspire local communities to restore and protect different inland water-land systems?
  • Why are they important and how are such values determined and reflected in national and international policy contexts?

We post two interrelated hypotheses.

  1. First, we propose that diverse, inclusive governance is essential for long term conservation outcomes, this includes local participation and locally led governance.
  2. Secondly, can international environmental targets be met in the long term through their various local strategies including restoration, diverse governance situations and their vitality. In this way we improve the understanding of how effectiveness of local participation and governance contributes to achieving biodiversity targets.

River Näätämö Chris McNeave


Work Packages

  • WP1 will study the governance contexts of the sites, building on the hypothesis that local communities and their contextualisation is essential for effective and equitable conservation. We aim to perform interviews and dialogue workshops in order to seek local access to formal power structures.
  • WP2 will assess changes in biodiversity and emissions of greenhouse gases in the sites, with an emphasis on cultural keystone species. We will primarily rely on existing data, complemented with data collection.
  • WP3 we analyse local knowledge and values regarding local areas and natural resources. Using narrative research, and “braided knowledge” production, we assess change in specific locations, cultural settings and home areas.
  • WP4 is a joint analysis of WP1, 2 and 3 linked with international OECM guidelines (OECM = other effective area-based conservation methods) to understand governance vitality and effectiveness.
  • WP5 is to disseminate the analysis from WP4 in national to international policy arenas.

Snowchange coordinates work in the Näätämö Skolt Sámi area, Salojenneva in Western Finland and in the Koitajoki basin in Eastern Finland.

November 2022: The first science paper featuring Salojenneva and Näätämö area has been released. Available here.