One of the biggest threats to the environment today is eutrophication which is caused by an overflow of nutrients, mainly nitrogen and phosphorous, from agriculture, fish-farming, settlements etc. Decisions to stop the eutrophication has been troublesome because the complexity of the problem and disagreements according how the problem should be solved. Another important issue for the Archipelago Sea has been the under-water biotopes, that never have been very well studied and are easily neglected since they are not visible for people. The under-water biotopes are now studied and specially valuable habitats registered. More research is needed to understand how the Archipelago Sea is functioning and which effects eutrophication and other ecological chanages has on the ecosystem level and food webs.
The cultural landscapes of the Archipelago Sea Area are on a national scale very high in biodiversity. For preservig the biodiversity a continuos management of the landscape is needed. They have always been effected by Man and a dense growth of vegetation take over if they are not kept open by the Man or by cattle. The research in issues considering changes of flora and fauna and the devlopment of good methods for management are important for preservation of the high biosdiversity on cultural landscapes.
The vurnerable small-scaled society of the Archipelago is always threatned by big changes like decreasing inhabitants and economical challenges. Studies of the trends in the society, movments of the young people and possibilties of particiapation have been issues of interest in this region.
Many different organizations carry out research and monitoring in the biosphere reserve, e.g. the University of Turku, the Åbo Akademi university, the University of Applied Sciences in Turku, Metsähallitus and the regional ELY-center.
The biosphere reserve arranges at least two seminars annually, which deals with topical environmental issues in the archipelago. The aim is to spread information, but also to raise questions regarding research, studies and other measures. Seminars in 2004-2006 have dealt with: the development of the archipelago in the future, wind-energy, seals, great cormorants, the state of the marine environment and housing & repopulation.
Regional development and the regional universities
The biosphere coordinator can act as an initiator and participant in different smaller research-projects which are related to sustainable development. E.g.:
- Eisto, I., Hokkanen, T. J., Öhman, M. & Repola, A. (eds.) 1999: Local involvement and economic dimensions in biosphere reserve activities. Proceedings of the 3rd EuroMAB biosphere reserve coordinators meeting. Publications of the Academy of Finland 7/99. Edita, Helsinki. 365 p.
- Garnier, L. 2003: Stakes and potentials of ecotourism within Archipelago Sea Biosphere Reserve, Finland. Master of coastal expertise and management IUEM/UBO Brest. 80p.
- Grönholm, S. 2005: Migrationsrörelser i Åbolands skärgård – en studie av två kommuner. Inst. för offentlig förvaltning, Åbo Akademi. 35 p. + bilagor.
- Siivonen, K. & Grönholm, B. 2002: Framtidsscenarier för Åboland. Åbo handelshögskola, TUTU-publications 9/2002. 41 p. + 8 bilagor. (in Swedish with English summary)
Öhman, M. 2005: Ekosystemtjänsterna i Åbolands yttre skärgård – fallstudie för FN:s Ecosystem Assessment program. Fortbildningscentralen/ Skärgårdsinstitutet vid Åbo Akademi och Region Åboland/Skärgårdshavets biosfärområde. 31p + bilaga. (in Swedish with English summary)