Natuurlijk Kapitaal Nederland | natuur & economie verbinden

Foreign examples suitable for the deployment of ecosystem services in the Netherlands

rural community orchard in GermanyThere are not many foreign pilots on new revenue models and partnership or other forms of cooperation related to ecosystem services. Some of these foreign pilot projects could offer inspiration to the Dutch authorities. One such example is the British ‘Local Nature Partnerships’ in which local parties work together to improve the natural environment.

Research issue

The PBL report TEEB in het buitenland [TEEB abroad] provides an overview of ways in which the TEEB concept has been applied in fifteen different countries. The report contains a list of about sixty foreign studies, tools, pilots or policy decisions aimed at utilizing ecosystem services and looks at whether this provides additional information to help raise awareness and increase activities related to the implementation of nature-based alternatives.

Results

More and more countries are using ecosystem assessments to help increase awareness of the importance of ecosystem services. Using pilot studies and other tools some countries are also investigating the feasibility of solving problems in particular areas through the use of ecosystem services. Examples of these are including ecosystem services in costs and benefits to society analyses (MKBAs), Local Nature Partnerships (see textbox) and habitat banking. In most cases the government recompenses the parties concerned for the services provided. It is still rare to find purely private revenue models in which the market parties pay one another for the ecosystem services provided. Cooperation between different economic sectors is also hardly seen abroad.

Example: Local Nature Partnerships

‘Local Nature Partnerships’ (LNPs) are UK government-recognized alliances of local organisations, companies and private citizens that aim to work together to improve the natural environment. Their task is to ensure that the value of ecosystem services is taken into account in local spatial planning policy. LNPs focus on sustainable land use and management, green growth, a better quality of life for people and improved nature quality. These LNPs provide the British government with an alternative to protected nature conservation areas, they are managed locally and, apart from maintaining diversity, also serve other functions (LNP, 2012). Depending on the project, these may cover various ecosystem services, such as water storage capacity, water treatment and recreation in green outdoor areas.

There are 48 recognized LNPs at the moment out of a set maximum of 50 (TEWP, 2011).The British government decides whether a partnership will be recognized as an LNP. An important criterion is that the partnership must have a strategic vision of how the local natural environment will be (ecologically) managed as a system. As soon as a project is officially recognized as an LNP, it receives financial support and is formally included as part of the local decision-making process on spatial planning and nature management. The local government is then required to take into account the information, position and views of the local LNP. In this way it is envisaged that the LNPs will help to bring about local implementation of national environmental goals. They could also provide a basis for the development of large-scale ecologically connected areas of landscape (the Nature Improvement Areas, see report for further information).

Recommendations

Some of these foreign examples could offer inspiration to the Dutch authorities. The UK, for example, most consistently applies the TEEB approach in its policy. Germany also offers useful pointers, including a fund for pilot projects which combines nature conservation with regional or urban development. Similar schemes could also be adopted in the Netherlands. They could supplement existing subsidy schemes for land owners, site management organisations, farmers or businesses, provided that the added value is clear to those involved.

Study conducted by

Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL)

More information

–      TEEB in het buitenland [TEEB abroad] (report)