Dataset Open Access

Expert questionnaire results regarding urban biodiversity in Helsinki Metropolitan Area, Finland (ERRATUM)

Jalkanen, Joel; Vierikko, Kati

This is an erratum to 10.5281/zenodo.1116745 data set, in which the 'Urban biotope scores' file contained corrupted values for answers of one expert (polypore expert 1). This version includes the fixed biotope score file as well as other files and information from the original Zenodo data set.

Background and aim:

Finnish urban biodiversity conservation has traditionally focused on species and biotopes, which does not necessarily describe urban areas’ ecological values in a comprehensive manner. Instead, focus should be put on ecological communities that enable resilient and diverse ecosystem functioning.

The aim of this questionnaire was to determine how different urban biotopes support different biodiversity attributes of ecological communities of different higher taxonomic groups. Together these attributes describe biotopes’ support for sustainable urban ecosystem functioning and, thus, indirectly for ecosystem services provisioning. The results can be used to better preserve ecological values in urban planning and as a basis for comprehensive urban biodiversity conservation. The questionnaire focused on biotopes found in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area (HMA), Southern Finland.



The data was collected using an online questionnaire during 5.10.-21.11.2016. It was sent to 38 local taxonomic experts (from Finnish Museum of Natural History, University of Helsinki, Finnish Environment Institute, environmental consultant firms, and local environmental NGOs), out of which 24 replied (Table 1).

Table 1. Experts that participated in the questionnaire.

Expert, Taxonomic group

Heidi Björklund, Birds

Tea von Bonsdorff, Fungi (other than polypores)

Eero Haapanen, Mammals (other than bats)

Nina Hagner-Wahlsten, Bats

Jari Kaitila, Butterflies

Jarkko Korhonen, Fungi (other than polypores)

Jaakko Kullberg, Butterflies

Eeva-Maria Kyheröinen, Bats

Esa Lammi, Vascular plants

Riku Lumiaro, Mammals (other than bats)

Sampsa Malmberg, Beetles

Ilpo Mannerkoski, Beetles

Olli Manninen, Polypores

Heikka Marttila-Tornio, Herpetofauna

Juho Paukkunen, Hymenoptera

Terhi Ryttäri, Vascular Plants

Jarmo Saarikivi, Herpetofauna

Hannu Sarvanne, Birds

Keijo Savola, Polypores

Ilkka Teräs, Hymenoptera

Stephen Venn, Beetles

Tarmo Virtanen, Butterflies

Terhi Wermundsen, Bats

Rauno Yrjölä, Birds

In the questionnaire, the experts scored 69 local urban biotopes in terms of how well they support different biodiversity attributes of their taxonomic group. Each biotope was scored separately for every attribute. Scores were given on a 5-rank scale (0–4; 0 being the lowest). We used the biotope classification from the expert questionnaire by Vierikko et al. (2014) with the following modifications:

  • Forest biotopes were further divided into two age classes (30-100 y. and over 100 y.)
  • Yards were further divided into sealed and bare yards
  • Densely-built residential gardens & townhouse gardens were added as a new biotope
  • Outcrops, ledges, and rocky grounds were combined to one biotope (bare rocks)
  • Beaches, canals, terraced embankments were combined to one biotope (artificial shores)
  • Stone walls and bird-colonized islets were excluded
  • Green walls were added as a new biotope
  • Impermeable surfaces were added, and their biodiversity scores were automatically set to 0.

Biodiversity attributes included:

  1. Species richness
  2. Specialist species
  3. Biomass
  4. Abundance
  5. Evenness
  6. Uniqueness
  7. Representativeness

In addition, experts gave overall self-evaluated confidence rates for their answers concerning each attribute. In the data, biotope scores are weighted by an increasing confidence coefficient in order to emphasize confident answers over non-confident ones. Confidence coefficients are 0, 1, 2, 4, and 8 that refer to ‘very unconfident’, ‘unconfident’, ‘somewhat unconfident’, ‘somewhat confident’, and ‘very confident’ answers, respectively.



This data set involves:

  • Biodiversity attribute descriptions and scoring instructions (.pdf)
  • Urban biotope descriptions (.pdf)
  • Urban biotope scores (.xlsx)

In the urban biotope score table, the Arabic number after the attribute name refers to the corresponding expert (i.e. under birds, ‘Richness 1’ and ‘Specialist species 1’ refer to the answers of the same bird expert). Experts are listed in random order. All experts have agreed on publication of their answers and names using written informed consent.


Acknowledgements: We thank Silviya Korpilo, Susanna Lehvävirta, and Stephen Venn for help with the English translations.


Reference: Vierikko, K., Salminen, J., Niemelä, J., Jalkanen, J. & Tamminen, N. 2014: Sustainable green infrastructure of Helsinki – urban ecological research report and recommendations for the Helsinki master plan 2050. Strategic Planning Office of the City Planning Department of the City of Helsinki. Research report. In Finnish with English abstract. Available in: (Cited 16.1.2018). 132 pp.

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