The ecosystem services (ESs) concept is particularly helpful when dealing with the relationship that links human and natural environment systems. It refers, in fact, to the entire sphere of benefits (goods and services) that human societies obtain, directly or indirectly, from ecosystems functions, and shows how deeply human well-being depends on healthy ecosystems. Alpine landscapes supply numerous goods and services useful for both people living there and in surrounding areas. A sustainable development of these territories requires that economic and ecological issues are carefully taken into account and balanced. To this aim, the consideration of ESs is a tool showing great possibilities, provided that it is applied to the right scale of analysis. The regional watershed scale makes it possible to address landscape management and planning issues with a sound and realistic approach. Actually at this level, local communities - people and institutions - may show a strong proactive approach to the management of natural resources. In this context, in fact, management is heavily linked to governance mechanisms, being the focus of political debate and economic activity. Whatever the approach chosen for the ESs’ assessment and valuation, either economic or non-economic, we stress the importance of people’s participation. This is actually an important prerequisite in order to supply credible and well structured information to the decision makers. In our work we describe a methodological approach, applied in different study areas and based on the realisation and implementation of a Decision Support System for eliciting, evaluating in a spatially explicit form and balancing Ess. The work describes the experiences carried out in the development and the application of DSS and participation methods in planning in real cases in the frame of different national (Biomasfor) and European (recharge.green see Recharge.green project site: http://www.recharge-green.eu/) research projects. The different projects offered the possibility to test different approaches and to develop, test and improve a dedicated Open Source DSS software (r.green) a DSS that is able to estimate the energy potential of renewable energies. The test areas selected to be compared and involved in the projects are Trentino, Parco Naturale delle Alpi Marittime (Piedmont, Italy), Triglav National Park (Slovenia). The Open source DSS is based on GRASS GIS and was developed by EURAC, UNITN and CRA in the frame of the European project Alpine Space recharge.green. It contains the submodule r.green.biomassfor that was applied to calculate the forest biomass energy potential. The model was applied in a participative planning process that involved different local stakeholders like the Natural Park, forest enterprises, environmental agencies. The results were used to carry out further meetings in order to define the parameters of possible forest bioenergy development scenarios. The analysis of citizens’ perceptions/preferences provides useful infos to support local social acceptance on RE. The inclusion in DSS increases social acceptance of the tools and decisions & reduces the potential conflicts between groups of interests and allows to better define the strategies of RE planning. The members of communities should be informed and actively involved in the application (& improvement) of DSS tools. Application of DSS after & during public consultation improves the results and should be included as a standard RE planning. The whole procedure can be easily integrated in SEA. There is a large space for improvement, both for logical procedures and for software performances. It is released with an open-source license to encourage further development and to spread and share knowledge and science.

Ecosystems services, decision support systems and participative approach in planning: experiences and lessons learned in the Alpine Region

Marco Ciolli;Gianluca Grilli;
2017

Abstract

The ecosystem services (ESs) concept is particularly helpful when dealing with the relationship that links human and natural environment systems. It refers, in fact, to the entire sphere of benefits (goods and services) that human societies obtain, directly or indirectly, from ecosystems functions, and shows how deeply human well-being depends on healthy ecosystems. Alpine landscapes supply numerous goods and services useful for both people living there and in surrounding areas. A sustainable development of these territories requires that economic and ecological issues are carefully taken into account and balanced. To this aim, the consideration of ESs is a tool showing great possibilities, provided that it is applied to the right scale of analysis. The regional watershed scale makes it possible to address landscape management and planning issues with a sound and realistic approach. Actually at this level, local communities - people and institutions - may show a strong proactive approach to the management of natural resources. In this context, in fact, management is heavily linked to governance mechanisms, being the focus of political debate and economic activity. Whatever the approach chosen for the ESs’ assessment and valuation, either economic or non-economic, we stress the importance of people’s participation. This is actually an important prerequisite in order to supply credible and well structured information to the decision makers. In our work we describe a methodological approach, applied in different study areas and based on the realisation and implementation of a Decision Support System for eliciting, evaluating in a spatially explicit form and balancing Ess. The work describes the experiences carried out in the development and the application of DSS and participation methods in planning in real cases in the frame of different national (Biomasfor) and European (recharge.green see Recharge.green project site: http://www.recharge-green.eu/) research projects. The different projects offered the possibility to test different approaches and to develop, test and improve a dedicated Open Source DSS software (r.green) a DSS that is able to estimate the energy potential of renewable energies. The test areas selected to be compared and involved in the projects are Trentino, Parco Naturale delle Alpi Marittime (Piedmont, Italy), Triglav National Park (Slovenia). The Open source DSS is based on GRASS GIS and was developed by EURAC, UNITN and CRA in the frame of the European project Alpine Space recharge.green. It contains the submodule r.green.biomassfor that was applied to calculate the forest biomass energy potential. The model was applied in a participative planning process that involved different local stakeholders like the Natural Park, forest enterprises, environmental agencies. The results were used to carry out further meetings in order to define the parameters of possible forest bioenergy development scenarios. The analysis of citizens’ perceptions/preferences provides useful infos to support local social acceptance on RE. The inclusion in DSS increases social acceptance of the tools and decisions & reduces the potential conflicts between groups of interests and allows to better define the strategies of RE planning. The members of communities should be informed and actively involved in the application (& improvement) of DSS tools. Application of DSS after & during public consultation improves the results and should be included as a standard RE planning. The whole procedure can be easily integrated in SEA. There is a large space for improvement, both for logical procedures and for software performances. It is released with an open-source license to encourage further development and to spread and share knowledge and science.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3486645
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