Aveliina Helm
Aveliina Helm
Ecologist / Associate Professor at the University of Tartu

Restoring the World

The nature around us is degrading in unprecedented speed. With each species disappearing, with each function degrading, the myriad of nature’s characteristics and values are impacted. This leads us, humans, to poorer and more hectic future that we need to avoid. Thus, we are facing a gargantuan task, in which we have to succeed, because failing means failing the whole future. The task does not lack the ambition: we need to restore the world. We need to push nature back to the path where it can thrive, and see ourselves as mindful guardians of this restored world, where our needs and actions are well aligned with the necessity to secure well-functioning nature around us. 

In my talk, I give an overview of how this task is progressing, where we currently stand at the scene of ecological restoration and what are the challenges that we currently face and that will emerge in the future. I touch the topics of delaying, greenwashing, counterproductive actions in the name of climate mitigation (is tree planting really the solution?) and discuss the socio-economic context of ecological restoration i.e. how to merge interests of humans and nature. 

Dr. Aveliina Helm is leading the Landscape Biodiversity Group (landscape.ut.ee) at the University of Tartu in Estonia. Her research group focuses on human-biodiversity interactions and global change impacts. She is an expert in nature restoration and conservation and is one of the authors of Greenmeter (www.greenmeter.eu) – a tool that helps everyone to assess the condition of biodiversity in every location in Estonia and get guidelines for restoration.