From the 10th to 11th of March project "LIFE EcosystemServices” representatives went to an experience exchange visit to Germany. Purpose of the exchange was to gain new knowledge about ecosystem services assessment methods and opportunities.
The first visit took place in the Institute for Natural Resource Conservation which is located in Kiel. Project representatives visited Department of Ecosystem Management and Dr. Benjamin Burkhard who is one of the ecosystem services approach developers and also an experienced researcher in the field of ecosystem services assesment. His specialty is human-nature interaction, ecosystem function modeling and mapping, landscape ecology, landscape and integrated coastal zone management, etc.
Currently, Dr. Benjamin Burghard with the Baltic Environmental Forum and other partners is working on a project ESMERALDA or "Enhancing ecosystem services mapping for policy and decision making". The project aims are to create a data source that will help Europe in green infrastructure maintenance and ecosystem services resource renewal prognosis.
During the visit, project "LIFE EcosystemServices" representative from Nature Conservation Agency of Latvia Kristīne Detkova presented to Dr. B.Burghard planned project activities, project main objectives and expected results, while the association "Baltic coasts" representative Līga Brūniņa explained planned process of ecosystem services assessment methodology development. B.Burghard appreciated that during the “LIFE EcosystemServices” project it is planned to use the The Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services (CICES).
During the staying in Germany, project representatives also visited the Europarc Deutchland office in Berlin, to meet the expert Dr. Katja Arzt. K.Arzt have studied sustainable use of resources and renewable energy issues. Currently K.Arzt is exploring how and whether it is possible to raise funds for nature conservation, by selling ecosystem services to business people.
After the presentation of the project "LIFE EcosystemServices” objectives and activities Dr. Katja Arzt positively evaluated project ideas and efforts. Europarc Deuthcland representative also suggested to show ecosystem services scenario results to the society, by presenting how a particular ecosystem can be affected if it is degraded and if it is managed in a sustainable manner.
Both experts - Dr. B.Burghard and Dr. K.Arzt admitted that project "LIFE EcosystemServices” should pay attention to ecosystem services evaluation criteria and suggested not to take too large number of these criteria as the results later may be contradictory.
Those two visits provided very valuable insights and ideas to the project "LIFE EcosystemServices” and will help to improve the implementation of the planned activities.
Experience exchange is organized in the framework of project LIFE13 ENV/LV/000839 "LIFE EcoystemServices" which is implemented by the Nature Conservation Agency of Latvia, association "Baltic coasts" and Saulkrasti Municipality. Project is co-financed by the European Union and Latvian Environmental Protection Fund.