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Ecological Thresholds for Reshaping Ecosystem Networks: Ameliorating...

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Title Ecological Thresholds for Reshaping Ecosystem Networks: Ameliorating landscapes Driven by Economic development (EcoTRADE)
Period 01 / 2006 - 12 / 2010
Status Completed
Research number OND1323686

Abstract

Economic development poses a continuing challenge for biodiversity conservation. In recent years, market-based instruments such as tradable land-use permits have gained increasing attention as flexible instruments to mitigate the conflict between economic development and conservation. We present results from the project EcoTrade which is funded by the European Science Foundation and investigates the applicability of tradable permits to biodiversity conservation. The EcoTRADE project performs conceptual analyses, evaluation of existing policies and modeling to reach a better understanding of permit markets for conservation. The conceptual analyses discuss the key parameters that determine the economic and ecological functioning and efficiency of a permit market. The evaluation analyzes existing policies similar to tradable permits such as the US Species Conservation Banking from an economic point of view. Moreover, we use economic and ecological models to analyze how spatial habitat connectivity can be influenced by trading rules, how spatial and temporal habitat network properties affect the viability of species and which trading rules are most cost-effective. Designing permit markets faces the challenge that trade-offs exist between a functioning market which requires a certain market activity and ecological requirements for a high similarity of traded habitats which call for trading restrictions. Key properties of dynamic networks include the total area of cohesive habitat, its spatial connectivity, the development time and the proportion of network area that yearly changes. One sentence on existing permit markets, one sentence on the results of the ecological review. The economic model analysis shows that spatial connectivity can be generated through a permit market, but bounded rational agents sometimes fail to generate desired land-use patterns. With the ecological model we explore the spatial and temporal constraints of spatially shifting habitat patches around across landscapes. The ecological-economic model analysis reveals that for species that are good (poor) dispersers small (large) spatial incentives in the trading rule are generally optimal, but deviations from that rule are possible if conservation costs are relatively uncorrelated.

Description:
The EcoTRADE project consists of three modules. The module funded by the NWO/ALW (ecological module) aims to develop planning and design guidelines of ecological networks for biodiversity conservation in dynamic landscapes, driven by economic development. The module is to provide insight into the relationships between properties of the ecosystem network in terms of size, spatial configuration and temporal turnover, and species requirements for persistence. The results from this module are intended to be used in the economic and social modules of the project. The social module by the British partner has been cancelled during the project, as this partner s funding did not allow a full partnership, instead they have taken a role as associated partner. The economic and ecological modules are however fully operational and are being developed in close collaboration.

Research objectives:
EcoTRADE is exploring a market-driven approach to site conservation for biodiversity.

- EcoTRADE investigates whether and under which checks and balances the current static approach of nature conservation (in which sites are legally protected, and their status frozen in time amidst an ever changing surrounding landscape) could be substituted by a more dynamic approach, and whether such an approach could be governed by economic rules and incentives.
EcoTRADE provides insight in the type of market rules that may govern cost-effective biodiversity conservation, and for which ecosystem types this might be ecologically and economically feasible, given the spatial scale and time scale of the dynamics.
- It also provides evidence on existing experience with habitat banking schemes.
- EcoTRADE provides insight into ecological opportunities and constraints of dynamic spatial change in ecosystem networks.

This is all relevant to the development of the Europe-wide development of the Natura 2000 habitat network.

Results and products:
Van Teeffelen, A.J.A., P. Opdam & C. Vos, 2008. EcoTRADE - Investigating the suitability of tradable permits for biodiversity conservation in changing landscapes. Proceedings of the 6th European Conference on Ecological Restoration, 8-12 September 2008, Ghent, Belgium.
Van Teeffelen, A.J.A., C.C. Vos, & P. Opdam (submitted): Species in a dynamic world: Reviewing consequences and opportunities of habitat network dynamics for conservation planning.*
Presentations at the Biodiversity Seminar of the European Environmental Bureau (participants included ca. 20 members from NGOs all over Europe) by Astrid van Teeffelen and Frank W├Ątzold on The Pros and Cons of Habitat Banking 9 June 2008.
Workshop about the case study (the Green Heart area in the Netherlands) with stakeholders from both science and policy backgrounds. This resulted in awareness about the concept and the project with the stakeholders, and stakeholder contribution to the project by providing data sets that enable us to test market-based instruments in a real-world context.
Website http://www.ecotrade.ufz.de/ : The EcoTRADE website has made a significant impact in terms of visibility. Researchers and consultancies have taken notice of the EcoTRADE project through the website and have contacted the project for future collaboration.

Abstract (NL)

Doel
Dit project beschouwt ecosysteemnetwerken, met Habitat richtlijngebieden, corridors en stepping stones, als potentieel veranderbare structuren en gaat na onder welke voorwaarden, zowel ecologische als economische, deze netwerken kunnen meegroeien met veranderend ruimtegebruik. Uitgangspunt daarbij is nog steeds het behoud van beschermde soorten en habitat typen binnen de regio.
Het huidige natuurbeleid ten opzichte van economische ontwikkeling is een defensief concept, dat een adaptieve, strategische benadering (wenselijk in een alsmaar veranderend landschap en samenleving) in de weg staat. Een progressieve, flexibele benadering ven ecosysteemnetwerken biedt hiervoor veel meer kansen. Er is echter een duidelijke lacune zichtbaar tussen de kennis die nodig is voor interactieve planning met betrekking tot dynamische ecologische netwerken, en de beschikbare kennis over het voorbestaan van soorten in dynamische landschappen. De bestaande literatuur beperkt zich tot het bestuderen van een enkele soort in een dynamisch landschap, of de effecten van een enkele soorteigenschap (bijv. dispersiecapaciteit) op voortbestaan in een dynamisch landschap. Voor het opstellen van planningsrichtlijnen is integrale kennis nodig over de rol van zowel soorteigenschappen, landschapseigenschappen als dynamiekeigenschappen op de kansen van het voortbestaan van soorten.

Werkwijze
Onze benadering is een interactie tussen theorieontwikkeling en toepassing. Inzichten verkregen met experimenten met virtuele landschappen, waarbij dynamische metapopulatiemodellen worden gebruikt, worden getoetst in een casestudiegebied met zowel economische als ecologische ruimtelijke opgaven. Het casestudiegebied (het Groene Hart) bevat Natura 2000 gebieden.

Resultaten
Verwachte resultaten

- Aanwijzing van hiaten in kennis over de flexibiliteit in ruimtelijk ontwerp die dynamische ecosysteemnetwerken bieden.
- Identificatie van kritische drempelwaarden in habitat dynamiek.
- Inzicht in sterke/zwakke punten van huidige praktijk van habitat compensatie bij noodzakelijke habitat vernietiging a.g.v. economische ontwikkeling, ten opzichte van beoogde planningspraktijk met marktwerking en/of habitat banking.
- Inzicht in de kansen en grenzen van ecologische en economische veranderbaarheid van natuurnetwerken voor biodiversiteit. Ontwikkeling van kritische drempelwaarden en ontwerpregels als inbreng in interactieve planningssituaties.
- Verdere verdieping van inzicht in sterke/zwakke punten op ecologisch en economisch gebied van bestaande habitat compensatie praktijken t.o.v. beoogde planningspraktijk met marktwerking cq. habitat banking.Het review-manuscript (submitted) geeft inzicht in de lacune tussen beschikbare en benodigde kennis voor het operationaliseren van het dynamisch netwerk concept.

Artikelen in ontwikkeling:
Van Teeffelen, Schippers, Verboom & Vos. Artikel over relaties tussen ruimtelijke en temporele eigenschappen van ecosysteemnetwerken, en soort- en habitateigenschappen, ten behoeve van betere planning.
Van Teeffelen et al. Artikel over de potentie van diverse natuurbeleidsopties (marktwerking, top-down planning) voor ecologische doelstellingen naar aanleiding van case studie.

Bijdragen internationale congressen

- European Congress on Conservation Biology, Praag. Presentatie over de resultaten van de studie naar dynamische ecosysteemnetwerken en het duurzaam voortbestaan van soorten.
- BIODIVERSITAS. Kaapstad. Symposium met onderwerp: Tradable permits for biodiversity conservation.

Publicaties bij dit project zijn beschikbaar via deze Link

Related organisations

Related people

Researcher Dr. A.J.A. van Teeffelen
Researcher Dr. C.C. Vos
Project leader Prof.dr. P.F.M. Opdam

Related research (upper level)

Classification

A14000 Nature and landscape
D43000 Economics

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