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Faber J.H.,Wageningen University | Van Wensem J.,Soil Protection Technical Committee TCB
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2012

This paper describes scientific developments that have raised awareness that changes in ecological risk assessment (ERA) methods are necessary. These changes have also been triggered by developments in environmental policies. This is illustrated by examples for The Netherlands and Europe. The ecosystem services concept seems to gain a central role in developments of new ERA methods. Main reasons for this are the integrative character of the concept, making it possible to integrate over environmental compartments or over environmental assessment methods, the concept's strength as communication tool and the possibility to value ecosystem services in economic terms. A method using ecosystem services in ERA is presented here in more detail, as an example. In this method assessment endpoints are derived from structures and processes in the ecosystem that are considered indispensable for the provision of particular ecosystem services. The approach facilitates fine-tuning ERA to specific land use demands. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.. Source


Tuinstra J.,Soil Protection Technical Committee TCB | van Wensem J.,Soil Protection Technical Committee TCB
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2014

The ecosystem services concept seems to get foothold in environmental policy and management in Europe and, for instance, The Netherlands. With respect to groundwater management there is a challenge to incorporate this concept in such a way that it contributes to the sustainability of decisions. Groundwater is of vital importance to societies, which is reflected in the presented overview of groundwater related ecosystem services. Classifications of these services vary depending on the purpose of the listing (valuation, protection, mapping et cetera). Though the scientific basis is developing, the knowledge-availability still can be a critical factor in decision making based upon ecosystem services. The examples in this article illustrate that awareness of the value of groundwater can result in balanced decisions with respect to the use of ecosystem services. The ecosystem services concept contributes to this awareness and enhances the visibility of the groundwater functions in the decision making process. The success of the ecosystem services concept and its contribution to sustainable groundwater management will, however, largely depend on other aspects than the concept itself. Local and actual circumstances, policy ambitions and knowledge availability will play an important role. Solutions can be considered more sustainable when more of the key elements for sustainable groundwater management, as defined in this article, are fully used and the presented guidelines for long term use of ecosystem services are respected. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. Source


van Wensem J.,Soil Protection Technical Committee TCB
Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management | Year: 2013

Increasing reference to the ecosystem services (ES) concept is made in publications on the need to use natural resources sustainably, to protect and enhance biodiversity, and to alleviate poverty in developing countries. To examine the significance of the concept in densely populated industrialized countries, this case study investigates its use in several sustainable landscape management projects in the Netherlands. Guidance by the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity project (TEEB) for local and regional policy and management serves as a reference. The projects studied show that the ES concept is seen as a tool for enhancing biodiversity, creating more sustainable regional development plans, supporting better spatialplanning decisions on soil sealing, and, most importantly, for getting the involvement of much broader stakeholder groups-not just to make better decisions, but also to attract more funding for the plans. Not only does the Netherlands have a high demand for various ecosystem services and a desire for multifunctional land use, it also has a long tradition of consensus-seeking. As a result, "Dutch practice" is complex and involves many different stakeholders. Because of increasing recognition of the role ecosystem services play in enhancing the visibility of natural resources in decision making, the ES concept seems to be gaining a foothold. However, the number of projects is still limited, and neither the use of the methods nor the results are monitored. So far, this has made it impossible to say whether the approach leads to more sustainable decisions-in other words, to the better protection and management of natural resources. © 2013 SETAC. Source

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