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EcoSpace: Spatial-Dynamic Modelling of Adaptation Options to Climate Change at the Ecosystem Scale

Final Report Summary - ECOSPACE (EcoSpace: Spatial-Dynamic Modelling of Adaptation Options to Climate Change at the Ecosystem Scale)

The Ecospace project has developed and tested new methods for mapping and accounting for ecosystem services at large scales (e.g. a province) and to examine how policy options can be analysed with such models. Ecosystem services are analysed in both bio-physical and monetary units. A specific innovation is that ecosystem services are modelled aligned with the System of Environmental Economic Accounting - Ecosystem Accounting approach. This approach can be used in support of developing ‘natural capital accounts’, i.e. for analysing the effects of changes in ecological capital in a manner that is consistent with national accounting. Our approach involves a variety of different data sources (including statistics and remote sensing imagery), a range of mapping and spatial statistic techniques (e.g. kriging and Maxent) and different modelling approaches (specific models have been developed for different services). Contrary to the majority of valuation studies that have been published to date, and aligned with the principles of national accounting, the monetary valuation approach focuses not on measuring welfare but on measuring the value of production and consumption using observed, revealed or simulated exchange values of ecosystem services. The models also allow analysing specific policy options, such as land use plans or climate change adaptation options. The models have been tested in three case study areas: Limburg province in the Netherlands, Telemark Fylke in Norway and Central Kalimantan Province in Indonesia. For each of these areas specific policy issues were identified, jointly with the relevant stakeholders. The 5 years project includes 4 PhD students, 1 PostDoc and 1 Senior researcher (the P.I.) all employed at Wageningen university, in collaboration with various partners in the Netherlands, Norway (in particular NINA) and Indonesia (in particular the University of Palangka Raya). The project also involves a collaboration with the UN, in particular with regards to the recently published Framework for Experimental Ecosystem Accounting and with the World Bank WAVES Project. The project has led to 13 published scientific articles in first or second quartile journals (more papers are under review), 4 PhD dissertations, a range of conference proceedings and several newspaper articles (including on the front page of one of the main national newspapers). In addition, several stakeholder workshops were organised, and the project has provided valuable inputs into the development of the international ecosystem accounting methodology.