Geraardsbergen, Belgium
Geraardsbergen, Belgium
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Fontaine C.M.,University of Namur | Fontaine C.M.,Namur Center for Complex Systems naXys | Fontaine C.M.,Namur Interdisciplinary Research Group for Sustainability NaGRIDD | Dendoncker N.,University of Namur | And 9 more authors.
Journal of Land Use Science | Year: 2014

The lack of consideration for ecosystem services (ES) values in current decision making is recognised as one of the main reasons leading to an intense competition and arguably unsustainable use of well-located available land. In this article, we present a framework for the Valuation Of Terrestrial Ecosystem Services (VOTES), aiming at structuring a methodology that is applicable for valuing ES in a given area through a set of indicators that are both meaningful for local actors and scientifically constructed. Examples from a case study area in central Belgium are used to illustrate the methodology: a stepwise procedure starting with the valuation of ES at present. The valuation of the social, biophysical and economic dimensions of ES is based on current land-use patterns. Subsequently, scenarios of land-use change are used to explore potential losses (and/or gains) of ES in the future of the study area. With the VOTES framework, we aim at (1) incorporating stakeholders' inputs to widen the valuation process and increase trust in policy-oriented approach; (2) integrating valuation of ES with a sustainable development stance accounting for land-use change and (3) developing suggestions to policy-makers for integrating ES monitoring in policy developments. © 2013 © 2013 Taylor & Francis.

Ferretti M.,TerraData environmetrics | Calderisi M.,TerraData environmetrics | Marchetto A.,CNR Institute of Ecosystem Study | Waldner P.,Swiss Federal Institute of forest | And 8 more authors.
Annals of Forest Science | Year: 2015

Key message: Atmospheric deposition of nitrogen compounds and soil and foliar variables related to N deposition resulted important factors accounting for the variability of defoliation in European forest plots. Context: Nitrogen (N) deposition has increased in the northern hemisphere because of anthropogenic-related emission of N compounds. Increased N availability may have an adverse impact on forest sustainability. Aims: This study aims to test the importance of throughfall N (Nthr) deposition in explaining the variability of the frequency of trees with defoliation >25 % (F25), an indicator of forest condition. Methods: A pan-European data set (71 plots) with enhanced quality control was considered. The additive effect of Nthr-related predictors (identified conceptually and by rank correlation) in explaining F25 was investigated by partial least square regression in comparison with a reference model based on site, stand, management and climate data. Reported damage to foliage, Nthr deposition, foliar N ratios and mineral top-soil variables were added stepwise to the reference model. Results: N-related variables improved defoliation models. Higher Nthr deposition led to higher F25 for beech and Norway spruce, while the effect was opposite for Scots pine. Higher foliar N ratios led to higher F25 for all species. Conclusion: Nthr deposition, damage to foliage, foliar N/P, N/Ca, N/Mg, N/K, top-soil pH, C/N and exchangeable base cation resulted important factors (although with possible diverse effect) in explaining the variability of F25 among plots. © 2014, INRA and Springer-Verlag France.

Broekx S.,Flemish Institute for Technological Research | Broekx S.,Ghent University | Liekens I.,Flemish Institute for Technological Research | Peelaerts W.,Flemish Institute for Technological Research | And 9 more authors.
Environmental Impact Assessment Review | Year: 2013

Assessing the impacts of policies on a wide range of ecosystem services can support the development of cost-effective policies that establish win-win situations across different environmental domains. To explore the quantity and value of ecosystem services, the web-based application "nature value explorer"was developed. The application allows to estimate the impact of land use and land cover change on regulating and cultural ecosystemservices in Flanders, Belgium. To ensure the applicability in day-to-day decision making as part of environmental impact assessments, user requirements were investigated prior to tool development. Finding the optimal balance between accuracy and complexity on the one hand and flexibility and user-friendliness on the other hand was an important challenge. To date, the nature value explorer has been successful in drawing the interest of policy makers and has been used several times to support decisions in infrastructure projects as well as in nature restoration projects in Flanders. This paper discusses the user requirements, the main tool characteristics, potential policy applications and future improvements. Three case studies illustrate the functionalities of the tool in day-to-day decision making. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

Vandekerkhove K.,INBO | de Keersmaeker L.,INBO | Walleyn R.,INBO | Kohler F.,Koleopterologisches Forschungsburo | And 3 more authors.
Silva Fennica | Year: 2011

The forest cover of the western European lowland plain has been very low for centuries. Remaining forests were intensively managed, and old-growth elements like veteran trees and coarse woody debris became virtually absent. Only over the last decades have these old-growth elements progressively redeveloped in parks, lanes and forests, and have now reached their highest level over the last 500-1000 years. Biodiversity associated with these old-growth elements makes up an important part of overall forest biodiversity. The ability of species to recolonise the newly available habitat is strongly determined by limitations in their dispersal and establishment. We analyse the current status and development of old-growth elements in Flanders (northern Belgium) and the process of recolonisation by means of specific cases, focussing on saproxylic fungi and saproxylic beetles. Our results show that 'hotspots' of secondary old growth, even isolated small patches, may have more potential for specialized biodiversity than expected, and may provide important new strongholds for recovery and recolonisation of an important share of old-growth related species.

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