Thematic workshops

Parallel thematic seminar workshop

Workshop 1: Towards a market system for nature credits?
By Jan Veenstra and Paul Vertegaal (Natuurmonumenten)

This workshop addressed the possibilities of establishing a market system for (protected) nature area’s in Europe, considering the existing context, the motivations and possible objectives and organisational structure involved. Deriving from existing examples as the Peatland Code in the UK and the MoorFutures in Germany, the criteria involved in such a system were presented and the challenges of balancing between complexity and simplicity were discussed, as well as the questions for (further) investigation.

Conclusions of the workshop:

In general it was agreed that there is support for executing a feasibility study on establishing a market system for nature credits.

Some pro’s and cons of such a market system resulted from the discussions:

  • A market system – if feasible – might contribute to the funding of nature management. In times of “economisation” as we experience today this is a logical option to investigate;
  • Some companies rely directly on special ecosystem services, for instance for clean water and for peat or biomass. If there is not a direct value perceived, company’s might be interested for ethical reasons or to build their corporate images. But the larger the distance between ecosystem services and its beneficiaries the more difficult it will be to involve them.
  • The complexity and costs of a market system as well as the long-term planning and investments needed, are seen as challenging.

It’s been proposed to develop an open proposal for the business community together, including an offer they can not refuse.

Workshop 2: Ecosystem services – how to involve the relevant stakeholders
By Nel Sangers (Nel Sangers Advies) en Kristijan Čivić (Eurosite)

Nature areas deliver many goods and services. These ecosystem services are important for the life and economic activities in our societies. This holds for many people, organisations and enterprises inside and outside the areas involved. This workshop explored the questions of how to increase beneficiaries’ involvement in and commitment towards ecosystem services.

By means of participants’ own sites the group listed its ecosystem services and possible beneficiaries, after which the benefits and means to get them involved were discussed.

Conclusions of the workshop:

A general added value of the workshop was that participants presented their site’s services and challenges to others (also from other countries and even other parts of Europe) and received useful feedback in terms of views and perspectives.

The topic of thematic twinnings to link beneficiaries came up. This is something Eurosite could help to facilitate. Possible topics were the position of farmers in a protected area; or how a park can work together with local authorities.

Regarding stakeholders:

  • Keep the different levels (local, regional, national) in mind. Its challenging to also reach the local level.
  • Not all countries and cultures have the same love for nature (awareness about this seems to be much higher in North-West Europe and still lacking in the south).
  • Encourage people to think of alternatives for a certain site. As a useful approach for a site manager in thinking in terms of ecosystem services the following questions were suggested: “Think of 5 things your area is important for without talking about species and habitats”. For approaching businesses: “Identify why is the existence of the protected area good for their business and communicate these”.

Workshop 3: Tools and assessments of ecosystem services
By Irene Bouwma (Alterra) and Anke Geeraerts (Natuurpunt)

An important aim of this interactive workshop was to discuss and review the considerations site managers need to make before choosing a model or tool for their ecosystem services assessment. Several available models and tools that suit the purposes of site managers were presented and experiences on the use of these were shared.
After a short introduction in which Anke Geeraerts of our Belgium Member Natuurpunt shared her experiences in this field, participants were physically guided through the maze of models and tools and assessments currently available for ecosystem services (see photo on the right).

Conclusions of the workshop:

  • It is important to think first about the purpose for which you need a tool.
  • Many tools are already available, so consider your needs well before deciding which one to choose. Some are simple and provide a quick overview. Other tools are more complex, provide more detail but are also labour intensive.
  • Some of the tools are spatially explicit – they require land cover or habitat maps for the analysis.
  • People need guidance in the decision process.