Towards Functional Green Infrastructure in the Baltic Sea Region: Knowledge Production and Learning Across Borders

  • Marine ElbakidzeEmail author
  • Per Angelstam
  • Lucas Dawson
  • Alena Shushkova
  • Vladimir Naumov
  • Zigmārs Rendenieks
  • Liga Liepa
  • Laura Trasūne
  • Uladzimir Ustsin
  • Natalia Yurhenson
  • Siarhei Uhlianets
  • Michael Manton
  • Austra Irbe
  • Maxim Yermokhin
  • Aleksandra Grebenzshikova
  • Anton Zhivotov
  • Marharyta Nestsiarenka


Natural capital is the foundation for delivering multiple ecosystem services important for biodiversity and human wellbeing. Functional green infrastructure (GI) is one of the land management approaches to secure the sustainable use of natural capital. This chapter presents the outcomes of a integrative research for knowledge production and learning towards functional GI in the Baltic Sea Region. The overview of attempts to develop functional GI in Sweden, Latvia, Belarus and the Russian Federation, the countries with different contexts, illustrates similar sets of challenges in the maintenance of GI functions for both biodiversity and human wellbeing. The main challenges are (1) sustaining sufficient amounts of representative ecosystems with functional connectivity, (2) maintaining land management practices that support natural and seminatural areas important for human wellbeing and (3) development of stakeholder cross-sectoral collaboration laboratories towards a sustainable use of ecosystem services across the Baltic Sea Region. To deal with these challenges, there are at least five main sets of opportunities: (1) favourable international policies towards functional GI, (2) the abundance of applied knowledge in biodiversity conservation needed for GI’s integrated spatial planning, (3) existing landscape approach initiatives with rich experience in sustainable management and governance of landscapes, (4) the potential of landscape restoration projects and (5) transdisciplinary research projects that have been practised in the Baltic Sea Region. Stakeholders have much to gain from increased multilateral, learning-based collaborations regarding all aspects of sustainable forest landscapes. Such collaborations could serve as laboratories for cross-border governance and management in the Baltic Sea Region.


Biodiversity Human wellbeing Collaborative learning Partnership Integrative research Environmental management 



This study was made with funding from the Swedish Institute [grant number 10976/2013] to Marine Elbakidze and from the Swedish Research Council Formas [grant number 2011-1737] to Per Angelstam.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marine Elbakidze
    • 1
    Email author
  • Per Angelstam
    • 1
  • Lucas Dawson
    • 2
  • Alena Shushkova
    • 3
  • Vladimir Naumov
    • 1
  • Zigmārs Rendenieks
    • 4
  • Liga Liepa
    • 5
  • Laura Trasūne
    • 4
  • Uladzimir Ustsin
    • 3
  • Natalia Yurhenson
    • 3
  • Siarhei Uhlianets
    • 6
  • Michael Manton
    • 7
  • Austra Irbe
    • 9
  • Maxim Yermokhin
    • 6
  • Aleksandra Grebenzshikova
    • 10
  • Anton Zhivotov
    • 6
  • Marharyta Nestsiarenka
    • 8
  1. 1.School for Forest Management, Swedish University of Agricultural SciencesSkinnskattebergSweden
  2. 2.Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary GeologyStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  3. 3.SSPA “The Scientific and Practical Center of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus for Biological Resources”MinskBelarus
  4. 4.Faculty of Geography and Earth SciencesUniversity of LatviaRigaLatvia
  5. 5.Faculty of ForestryLatvia University of AgricultureJelgavaLatvia
  6. 6.State Scientific Institution “The Institute of Experimental Botany named after V.F. Kuprevich of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus”MinskBelarus
  7. 7.Faculty of Forest Science and EcologyAleksandras Stulginskis UniversityKaunasLithuania
  8. 8.State Environmental Institution National Park “Braslavskie Ozera”BraslavBelarus
  9. 9.Zemgale Planning Region AdministrationJelgavaLatvia
  10. 10.Pskovlesproekt CompanyPskovRussian Federation

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