|Exploring the potential of circular economy to mitigate pressures on biodiversity
|Enni Ruokamo, Hannu Savolainen, Jyri Seppälä, Susanne Sironen, Milja Räisänen, Ari-Pekka Auvinen
|Global Environmental Change
The effects of circular economy on biodiversity are poorly understood. This study provides observations on approaches for assessing circular economy and illustrates, with a Finnish case study, the potential of circular economy to mitigate pressures on biodiversity. The case study focuses on the construction and real estate sectors, as well as the forest industry. The findings imply that circular economy actions that reduce the extraction of virgin raw materials and relieve land use pressures are effective. Improving material efficiency, increasing the cascading use of wood, and optimizing the use and reuse of materials and products, as well as extending the lifetime of buildings and optimizing space use, have good potential for mitigating pressures on biodiversity in Finland. However, as forest utilization has a major impact on Finnish biodiversity, certain actions that possibly increase the use of forest resources (e.g., replacing fossil-based, concrete, or steel materials with wood-based solutions) may impair biodiversity if biodiversity-enhancing forest management practices are not utilized. Assessing the biodiversity impacts of circular economy is challenging, and the need for further research and the development of indicators and assessment methods is clear.