Nature Outlook 2010-2040

Functional Nature


Under the nature perspective of Functional Nature, nature supplies people with products and services. Society chooses sustainable solutions offered by nature over technological ingenuity. This approach is driven by sustainable use of natural resources.

It is about provisioning and regulating ecosystem services with a real economic worth and value to society. Examples include the supply of fish, the movement of sand by the sea and water treatment. Often these services are not paid for, but their loss would burden future generations with enormous costs. A service is also often difficult to restore once it has been lost.

The development and management of rural areas and the sea are focused entirely on restoring and maintaining healthy ecosystems and natural processes so that services can be sustainably provided. The environmental conditions will also be geared to sustainable use.

Which problem will be tackled?

At present, many ecosystems have been damaged, as a result of which they can no longer supply their services. One example is groundwater depletion in peatland areas, which causes these areas to emit carbon rather than sequestering it. The challenge for society is to make better use of natural resources.

Why do people want this?

The nature perspective of Functional Nature is based on the idea that nature supplies services for humanity. Indeed, humankind is seen as part of nature and will not survive without nature and its services.
Pristine nature or total biodiversity conservation is not a goal in itself under this nature perspective.

What is the policy strategy?

Under Functional Nature, the authorities will safeguard the sustainable use of ecosystem services for the collective benefit. The dunes as coastal defences are an example of this. This perspective encourages sustainable use of ecosystem services in the top sectors and helps to create markets that bring supply and demand for these services together. An example of this is the trade in CO2 emissions. The government will also ensure that knowledge is developed and that private and public interests are combined at area level.

Relevant information

Other pages about Functional Nature
- Functional Nature
- Functional Nature on the map
- A picture of Functional Nature
- Future impression of the landscape: Functional Nature
- Assessment of the effects of Functional Nature
- Functional Nature strategy
- Functional Nature in Lake Grevelingen
- Functional Nature in Loonse and Drunense Dunes

Overige relevante informatie
- Four future impressions of the landscape
- Four perspectives on the map
- Changes relative to existing nature
- Background: Challenges for nature
- Nature perspectives
- Four perspectives on the map

The Nature Outlook is a statutory product of the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency with cooperation from Wageningen UR.