The Dutch Natura 2000 network: benefits for society

The Dutch Natura 2000 network: benefits for society

moensPresentation by Esther Moens, Natuurmonumenten
Eurosite Annual Meeting 2016, Serres, Greece

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The Dutch Natura 2000 network does not only safeguard international important habitats, floral species and faunal species, it also provides society with a broad array of benefits: ecosystem services. Unfortunately, these benefits of nature for society are often overlooked and not sufficiently considered and integrated in decision-making.

Therefore, we offer a first explorative synthesis by gathering existing literature on the ecosystem services of the Dutch Natura 2000 network. We describe the known ecosystem services for eight Dutch Natura 2000 landscapes: North Sea, Wadden Sea and Delta; Dunes; River Area; Lakes and Marshes; Brook Valleys; Higher Sand Grounds; Raised Bogs and Hills of Limburg. Moreover, we highlight practical examples of each Natura 2000 landscape of which most them are addressed with monetary values.

Our results show that Natura 2000 areas in the Netherlands offer ecosystem services like drinking water, protection against flooding, regulation of water, water purification, air purification, soil purification and offer many cultural services, like landscape values. Despite the fact that there are some uncertainties and disadvantages that come along with monetarizing ecosystem services, this study offers convincing evidence on the direct benefits of Natura 2000 areas.

For example, the Wadden Sea is estimated at a total economic value of more than 2.3 billion euro and the development of nature in the Gelderse Poort corresponds with an increase of millions of euros to the local economy. In addition, natural places greatly reduce health costs and increase housing prices. These examples demonstrate that investing in nature protection is directly beneficial for people, economy and society. It should be clear that restoring and sustaining biodiversity, is crucial for the delivery of ecosystem services.

These findings are written down in the report: ‘Het Nederlandse Natura 2000 netwerk: voordelen voor de maatschappij’. Authors: Esther Moens & Lysanne Jackson, under the supervision by Patrick Nuvelstijn. For more information, please welcome to contact Esther Moens.