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      Identifying representative case studies for ecosystem services mapping and assessment across Europe

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      One Ecosystem

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          A key task in the ESMERALDA project dealt with identifying appropriate case studies to test the 'flexible methodology' in its different stages of development. Case studies consist of working examples in which mapping and assessment of ecosystem services were applied to address specific decision-making problems. Testing is understood as an iterative process of co-learning that involves project partners and stakeholders, enabling the refinement of the 'flexible methodology' and the development of guidelines to support its application. Testing is conducted through a series of workshops in different European contexts, each addressing a different set of themes and regions.

          This paper illustrates the selection of case studies for testing the ESMERALDA 'flexible methodology' in its different stages of development. Particularly, case studies had to be selected in such a way that they are representative of: (i) the variety of existing conditions across the EU, in terms of data availability, spatial scale, levels of implementation of EU 2020 targets and expertise and experience in ES mapping and assessment; (ii) the geographical regions and biomes of the entire EU, including marine areas and the outermost regions; (iii) the variety of cross-EU themes relevant for ecosystem services, such as the Common Agricultural Policy, Green Infrastructure, Natura 2000 network, forestry strategy, water policy, energy, business and industry sectors and health; (iv) the variety of policy and planning processes that can be used to mainstream ecosystem services in real-life decisions, such as spatial and land use planning, water resource management, flooding under the EU climate adaptation action, energy policy, strategic environmental assessment, protected area planning.

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          Most cited references 11

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          Mapping and assessing ecosystem services to support urban planning: A case study on brownfield regeneration in Trento, Italy

          This study explores the use of ecosystem service (ES) knowledge to support urban planning in the assessment of future scenarios. The case study concerns the prioritszation of brownfield regeneration interventions in the city of Trento (Italy). Alternative planning scenarios considering the conversion of existing brownfields into new urban parks are assessed and compared. The assessment focuses on two ES of critical importance for the city, namely microclimate regulation and nature-based recreation. The benefits of the different scenarios are quantified based on the number of expected beneficiaries broken down into different vulnerability classes and then compared through a multi-criteria analysis. Three combinations of criteria and weights reflect different planning objectives and related decision-makers’ orientations about what ES and beneficiary groups should be prioritised. The application demonstrates the potential for ES assessments to support urban planning processes in the specific phase of assessment and selection of alternatives, by meeting the requirements in terms of both sensitivity to small-scale changes in land uses or management activities and capacity to capture simultaneous variations in supply and demand of multiple ES. Being coherent with socially-orientated planning objectives, indicators based on ES demand and beneficiaries can effectively convey information about ES in planning decisions. Multi-criteria analysis is an effective way to integrate multiple ES assessments with other information about costs and benefits of planning scenarios, exploring diverse stakeholder perspectives and balancing competing objectives in a rational and transparent way.
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            Creating an operational database for Ecosystems Services Mapping and Assessment Methods

            Identifying and applying the appropriate method for ecosystem services mapping and assessment is not trivial. To provide guidance in this task, this paper describes the creation of a database for existing studies on mapping and assessing ecosystems and their services, which records relevant information to the ecosystem studies (e.g. methods used, the scale, ecosystem type, ecosystem service categories) and other relevant attributes that need to be considered. This database, therefore, forms the basis for an online ecosystem service ‘methods finder’. Our results provide an overview of the database itself (883 entries until April 2018) and the consultation within the ESMERALDA consortium that shaped its development, as well as providing an overview of the final mapping and assessment methods describing their spatial distribution. This work helps identify the main gaps and opportunities for alignment and development of commonalities in analytical approach amongst the individual Member States. The results illustrate the different conditions, dimensions and geographical contexts in Europe, information that can be used as background to help the development of a flexible methodology for mapping and assessing ecosystem services in Europe. The paper concludes with a discussion on how the typology of methods can be used in initiatives that aim to integrate ecosystems and their services in decision-making and planning. This work highlights some challenges for future activities on mapping and assessment of ecosystem services in the EU.
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              Methodological aspects of ecosystem service valuation at the national level

              Ecosystem service valuations focusing on the assessment of ecosystem service values in space and time have recently been receiving considerable attention. Ecosystem service valuation data are critical for developing national ecosystem accounts and for assessment of costs and benefits associated with national strategies and plans. In this article, we discuss selected methodological aspects of ecosystem service valuation at the national level for the Czech Republic. We present a classification of ecosystems based on CORINE Land Cover and Consolidated Layer of Ecosystems of the Czech Republic. The focal point of our article is a systematic review of ecosystem service values. A systematic review requires a standardised protocol for incorporation of valuation studies. To illustrate the proposed methodology, we conducted a search of ecosystem service valuation studies at the European level. While there is a significant number of ecosystem service valuation studies, the number of studies which could be used for an effective value transfer is limited. We discuss the limitations of the value transfer approach and suggest further steps for improving the scientific basis for national level valuations.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                One Ecosystem
                OE
                Pensoft Publishers
                2367-8194
                July 10 2018
                July 10 2018
                : 3
                : e25382
                Article
                10.3897/oneeco.3.e25382
                © 2018

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