OpenNESS case studies to inspire European site managers
For many managers of nature sites around Europe, the concept of ecosystem services is relatively new and barely put into practice, or at least not consciously. During a full day’s seminar on ‘ecosystems at your service’ as part of the Eurosite annual members’ meeting, the participants learned about ecosystem services and how this can help in increasing support for their management and protection activities. For many it was an eye-opener, making them realize that their sites and well-managed ecosystems have more to offer to society than they think.
ECNC’s Ben Delbaere presented the OpenNESS project (of which ECNC is a partner) and the achievements in the 27 case studies undertaken by the project, demonstrating what putting ecosystem services into practice means for real-world situations. The OpenNESS cases from national parks, such as the Cairngorms in Scotland, Sierra Nevada and Doñana in Spain, and Kiskunság in Hungary, were of particular interest to the audience. The recent overview booklet on the case studies was very well-received.
The participants were keen on the lessons learned, especially with regard to stakeholder engagement, the existence of many decision-support tools, and the fact that implementing ecosystem services is not just about putting a price tag on nature. There is a specific need for sharing practices, and therefore the services offered by Oppla – the recently launched knowledge marketplace – were very much welcomed. Natural site managers have a wealth of experience to contribute and at the same time can take advantage of the tools, knowledge, and contacts available through Oppla.
The meeting, held in Serres, Greece, from 8 to 10 November, was attended by some 50 participants from all over Europe, and hosted by the Greek Eurosite member KOMATH – Hunting Federation of Macedonia and Thrace.