Nature Outlook 2010-2040

Robust foundation

Fictive peatland landscapeFictive natural area in peatland landscape

The existing theme of the policy on nature focuses primarily on the realisation of the National Ecological Network (EHS). In essence, there is still a strong case to be made for the EHS.

A robust nature network creates opportunities for utilisation

Creating a robust network of nature areas, thus serving biodiversity as well as increasing opportunities for utilisation, remains an effective strategy. It also offers an opportunity to respond to climate change.

Government authorities: manage and invest

The creation of a robust network requires active management and investment by government at various levels. Recent decades have shown that this takes time, certainly if implementation is to continue on a voluntary basis. A strategy for the short term might be to implement the ecological network in phases. Management also means giving priority to those areas where complete natural systems can be realised in the short term. A phased area-based approach would also increase opportunities for finding financial resources.

Link to spatial and water policies

Spatial policy and water policy are vital to creating a solid structure for nature. This solid structure for nature is necessary not only to conserve biodiversity but also to utilise ecosystem services, such as flood protection and carbon sequestration in peatlands.

Avoid conflicts and save on management costs by preventing fragmentation

If nature areas remain fragmented, or the degree of fragmentation increases, then conflicts between biodiversity and economic sectors will only increase. Management costs would also continue to rise, as small nature areas require strict protection to be able to conserve the species and habitats for which they were created. These areas require intensive management and would not tolerate a combination of uses. Clashes between biodiversity and economic functions will increase along with the juridification of nature policy.

Provide room for natural processes

Providing more room for natural processes, as has been done under the Room for the River policy programme, could be more widely applied with beneficial effects for the biodiversity of international importance, as well as for the various use functions, such as flood protection, power generation and food production. At a national level, the Delta Programme provides an excellent organisational framework for making the most of these opportunities, such as in the south-western delta area.

Limit disturbance in the North Sea

For marine policy, particularly in relation to the North Sea, this means creating a robust structure for nature mainly by limiting disturbance. This could be realised by excluding areas from economic use and/or the application of new techniques, such as those aimed at reducing noise and seabed disturbance.

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