Article | 04 Mar, 2019

Restoration of Urban Longinoja Brook Wins Finnish Biodiversity Award 2017-2018

Perseverance in the voluntary restoration of the urban brook of Longinoja in the Malmi suburb of Helsinki won the Finnish Biodiversity Award 2017-2018. The winner was chosen by the National Committee of Finland of IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature. The award was given out in Helsinki on 25 February 2019 by Minister of the Environment, Energy and Housing Kimmo Tiilikainen.

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Photo: Miikka Pulliainen

Together with other countries in the world, Finland is committed to halting the loss of natural diversity by 2020.  The Finnish Biodiversity Award was created to find innovative solutions that help reach the national and international goals.

The Biodiversity Award 2017-2018 goes to Mr Juha Salonen, the focal character in Longinoja Brook restoration, and the active brook restauration volunteers. Situated next to a major railroad, the urban Longinoja Brook was restored by a group of volunteers working together with many other actors, during a period of over 15 years.

“Thanks to active restoration work, the brook has now revived, and large numbers of threatened sea trout come again to spawn in the Longinoja Brook. This kind of hands-on work is important in the conservation of species. The volunteer work has opened the eyes of many city dwellers to the importance of urban nature areas,” says Minister of the Environment, Energy and Housing Kimmo Tiilikainen.

Visitors to Longinoja Brook can enjoy the diverse stream landscape because of the volunteer efforts. The restoration work has increased the knowledge of the participants on streams and the importance of the whole stream ecosystem. Longinoja’s nature trail with information boards was opened in late 2018, and thousands of people have already visited the stream nature trail. Information on Longinoja Brook is easily available on a website and in social media. Longinoja has also been able to get lots of media attention. 

The Finnish Biodiversity Award was given out now for the seventh time. This time the competition attracted twenty-one high-level proposals. Two years ago, the award went to the Wolf Ambassadors of the Finnish Nature League - Luonto-Liitto for dispelling the fear of wolves among children and youngsters by disseminating science-based information.

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the oldest and largest environmental organisation and network in the world. The Finnish IUCN member organisations include the Finnish Government (represented by the Ministry of the Environment), the Finnish Association of Nature Conservation, WWF Finland, the Finnish Society for Nature and Environment (Natur och Miljö), BirdLife Finland, the Finnish Wildlife Agency and the Helsinki Zoo. Next to these members, the IUCN National Committee of Finland also includes the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Finnish Environment Institute and Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife Finland. A total of over 60 Finns volunteer in IUCN Commission work.

More information: 
Senior Ministerial Adviser Marina von Weissenberg, Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 50 307 0806, 

Senior Advisor Liisa Nikula, IUCN National Committee of Finland, tel. +358 40 528 8467,