Ecosystem Services: building informed policies to orient landscape dynamics
Symposium organised by:
Elena Gissi, Department of Design and Planning in Complex Environments, University Iuav of Venice.
Benjamin Burkhard, Institute for Natural Resource Conservation, University of Kiel.
The symposium will discuss ecosystem services as a tool to support and inform decisions in landscape related policies and planning and will investigate the interrelationship between ecosystem functions, ecosystem services and human benefits. It will consider methodologies, domains of calculation, identification of Ecosystem Service beneficiaries and providers, Ecosystem Services potentials and resilience to change.
In reaction to the failure of traditional environmental management approaches grounded on the paradigm “control change in systems”, ecosystem services have emerged as a novel way of understanding ecosystem and landscape dynamics, including change, interactions and flows between human and natural systems. Ecosystem Services have recently been re-defined as the “contributions of ecosystem structure and function – in combination with other inputs – to human well-being”. This new notion of “other inputs” refers to the significant, mainly anthropogenic, modifications of ecosystem functions in the form of energy input, fertilizers, labour, knowledge or other forms of material or information. Other definitions refer to Ecosystem Services as “benefits for societies deriving from some ecosystems’ functions”. These definitions show that not all ecosystem functions are identified or constitute benefits for human societies, but they are subjected to a process of selection and recognition by the beneficiaries of the Ecosystem Services end products.
The aim of the workshop is to discuss opportunities and challenges of applying ecosystem services in the dialogue between science and policy. The symposium will investigate ecosystem services and the interrelationship between ecosystem functions, ecosystem services and human benefits. The critical issue is constituted by the process of knowledge building, where measuring, assessing, mapping and finally on valorising Ecosystem Services should be based on the link between Ecosystem Service providers-benefits-beneficiaries.
Ecosystem Services involve a paradigm shift in ecosystem and resource management that also requires institutional adjustments. Hence the interaction and dialogue between different disciplines will play a special role in the symposium.
The symposium aims to produce a special issue of a high quality peer-reviewed journal (such as Landscape Ecology, Ecosystem Services). Selected speakers will be invited to prepare manuscript drafts before the conference and joint papers will be composed with the results of the symposium workshop. The experimental approach of the Open Space Technology will be tested as an innovative method to elaborate common science among scientists of different backgrounds, and reported in the joint papers.