Implementing ecosystem restoration and green infrastructure in Europe
There’s a lot of nature restoration and green infrastructure development going on across the European Union. Thousands of square kilometres of land are being restored every year, or at least their natural condition is being improved by targeted management practices. Tens of thousands of jobs in the EU depend on ecosystem restoration and hundreds of cities are actively developing urban green infrastructure. European processes to help map and assess ecosystems and their services, to share experiences, to upscale local action to European levels, or to calculate investments required to restore Europe’s damaged nature are in full swing.
These outcomes, together with green infrastructure and ecosystem restoration experience from Spain and Finland, were presented during a one-day meeting of the European Commission Working Group on Green Infrastructure and Restoration in Brussels on 13 June. It was stressed that the development of a Trans-European Green Infrastructure Network (or TEN-G) requires strong engagement of many stakeholders, not least spatial planners, and must follow a business-like approach.
It was clear that a large knowledge base is available to support the achievement of Target 2 of the EU Biodiversity Strategy, which frames the action on ecosystem mapping, restoration, green infrastructure, and no net loss of biodiversity. It is, however, rather dispersed and fragmented, and sharing and networking are needed to ensure effective uptake of knowledge across Europe. Also, there is need for better indicators and monitoring of restoration activities and development of green infrastructure for assessing the effectiveness of such measurers for improving biodiversity as well as delivering socio-economic benefits.
ECNC and our Network partner University of Antwerp presented ongoing work as part of an EU contract, under lead of the consultancy eftec, on restoration activities in EU Member States.