Ask Oppla question by els martens

Nature oriented environmental quality cannot be reached without full and responsible participation of agriculture - how can an effective integrated and sustainable policy and implementation be reached between ENV and AGRI; which nature based solutions can be "made compulsory" in agri use based on concrete ES examples?


We need open dialogue between high-level representatives of DG ENV and AGRI to jointly identify specific needs and ways to accommodate for these (e.g. relating to multiple benefits of NBS). This would be a basis for a joint sustainability strategy.

Making specific NBS compulsory may not be desirable. Showing the benefits of applying specific NBS under specific circumstances to various user groups (e.g. through an evidence-base) may be more effective. The greening measures under the CAP offer 'hooks' for integrating NBS (e.g. flower-rich field margins to support natural pest control and pollination, hedges and tree rows to reduce wind erosion).

Posted on: 3 Mar 2016 - 14:17

Nature based solutions are inherently bespoke and in my opinion unlikely to be rolled out and 'made compulsory' in agricultural. The case studies in OpenNESS have highlighted the need to identify the key biophysical and socio-cultural factors that are essential for maintaining and managing social-ecological systems toward sustainability at the local scale in real world situation. A new dynamic and interactive approach to sustainable management inherent in the ecosystem service approaches is starting to highlight the need to integrate science, policy and practitioners in a more meaningful way than in the past.

The following are examples from OpenNESS case studies which highlight this approach.

Case study 8 in Saxony, Germany is focusing on agricultural systems, especially bioenergy production in the mixed landscapes of Central Germany. A survey was conducted to assess people's perceptions about aesthetic impacts of the fast growing areas of bioenergy crops, mostly rape seed followed by maize. While trade-offs of bioenergy production with cultural ecosystem services such as landscape aesthetics are frequently reported for certain parts of Germany, according to a of the Federal State Agency for  Environment, Agriculture and Geology, these problems do not exist in Saxony. Rather the opposite: corn and rapeseed production could contribute to a more diverse landscape and hence have synergistic effects. However, other key informant interviews suggest that while there are no region-wide issues, agricultural areas surrounding biogas plants might have problems with so called maizification, where spatial accumulations of maize monocultures significantly decrease landscape aesthetics. A master thesis was finalized which investigated the question: What are the trade-offs and synergies between biomass production and cultural ecosystem services such as landscape aesthetics at federal state level? The results show that neither presence nor absence of biogas power plants and bioenergy plants seem to affect the peoples' perception of the landscape and their preferences towards specific cultural ecosystem services. Also socio-demographic factors like age, gender or the frequency people are outdoors had no influence on their preferences. This case study demonstrates the need to consult widely with the individuals influenced at the local level rather than the narrow polarised position implied by your question.

Case Study 10 Sierra Nevada National Park management, Spain. They analysed how conservation strategies could promote the delivery of ecosystem services that contribute to local stakeholders' wellbeing. The results obtained in this sub-project have demonstrated the role of community-based institutions (i.e., traditional irrigation communities) on supporting the provision of ecosystem services bundles. In addition, they have identified to what extent the ecosystem service approach is incorporated in the design and implementation of conservation strategies in the protected area of Sierra Nevada. The research is on-going but new results reveal the importance of traditional irrigation canals, a local water governance system, in maintaining the ecosystems' capacity to supply services. Furthermore, this study demonstrates the importance of considering the invisible dimensions of water and biodiversity, i.e. green freshwater flows and trait-based indicators, because of their relevance to the supply of ecosystem services. They also found that land-use intensification generally resulted in losses of the biophysical factors that underpin the supply of some ecosystem services, increases in social demand for less diversified services, and the abandonment of local governance practices. Consequently, any attempt to manage social-ecological systems toward sustainability at the local scale should identify the key biophysical and socio-cultural factors that are essential for maintaining ecosystem services and should recognize existing interrelationships between them (Garcia-Llorente et al. 2015 ).

The twin case studies Case Study 11 and 22 Biodiversity offsetting in Warwickshire and Essex, England. These case studies have completed work to document EBL's operational model for biodiversity offsetting and habitat banking (the model is applicable throughout England and builds on lessons learned in both Warwickshire and Essex). We have also completed a review of EU law and policy as it relates to offsetting (and more broadly to the provision of compensation for development impacts on nature) as this provides the framework for the possible replication of the model in other EU countries. We have also progressed work on analysis of costs and benefits with particular focus on the costs and benefits for developers (the 'demand' side of the market) and this is currently being drawn together. Finally, we are currently progressing work to assess how the model may be adapted to one other EU member state (Spain) that has recently introduced regulation providing for 'conservation banking' and is therefore of particular interest as a potential market for replication of EBL's model.

Posted on: 4 Mar 2016 - 12:17