Espoon kaupunki - Esbo stad

Ecological compensation takes first steps in Espoo – study proposes protection of Hynkänlampi forest

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The loss of forest caused by the construction of the Hepokorvenkallio data centre could be compensated for by protecting the forest around Hynkänlampi, a newly completed study suggests. Espoo is among the first cities in Finland to develop ecological compensation.

The Hynkänlampi forest is very natural in places. Photo taken in December 2021. Photo: City of Espoo
The Hynkänlampi forest is very natural in places. Photo taken in December 2021. Photo: City of Espoo

The data centre planned for Hepokorvenkallio would bring significant climate benefits to the city, as the waste heat from the centre would be used to produce district heat. It would replace the use of fossil fuels and thus reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

However, the impact of the data centre project on nature has raised concerns among residents, as a part of the data centre site near the Oittaa recreational area is currently covered by forest.

This loss of forest could be compensated for by protecting and enhancing the natural assets in the surrounding area. This is a new approach to biodiversity management: ecological compensation. A newly completed study proposes the protection of the Hynkänlampi forest area near Pirttimäki as a solution.

“The Hepokorvenkallio forest mainly consists of managed commercial forest,” says the author of the study, biologist (PhD) and Master Planning Officer Joel Jalkanen.

“The forest area of Hynkänlampi is larger and more natural. The compensation would entail protecting the forest, allowing it to become even more natural and increasing its biodiversity.”

Espoo wants to protect natural assets as the city grows

Espoo wants to be a pioneer in reconciling a growing city with biodiversity. According to the Espoo Story, Espoo’s urban development will take care of, revitalise and increase biodiversity.

Indeed, Espoo is among the first cities in Finland to develop ecological compensation. The City is actively collaborating in research on the ecological compensation and carbon offsetting of land use. A roadmap for biodiversity recovery and achieving no net loss is under preparation.

“The principles and practices of ecological compensation are still taking shape. This study contributes to their formation. It provides a concrete solution for compensating for the area lost to construction as a result of the Hepokorvenkallio plan,” says Deputy Mayor Olli Isotalo.

The City Board approved the site plan for the Hepokorvenkallio data centre on 15 November 2021. At the same time, it stipulated that the City Planning Department must find a way to compensate for the area lost to construction. The City Planning Committee will discuss this newly completed study on 27 April 2022. After that, the potential protection of the Hynkänlampi area will be prepared by the Environment and Building Control Department.

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The Hynkänlampi forest is very natural in places. Photo taken in December 2021. Photo: City of Espoo
The Hynkänlampi forest is very natural in places. Photo taken in December 2021. Photo: City of Espoo
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