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About OpenNESS

OpenNESS is a European research project that translates the concepts of ecosystem services and natural capital into operational frameworks that provide tested, practical and tailored solutions for integration into land, water and urban management and decision-making.


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Case studies: operationalization in practice

In October 2013, the first OpenNESS cross work package meeting took place in Scotland. Representatives of the 26 OpenNESS case studies from Europe and across the globe took part in an intensive three-day programme to discuss ways to apply the theory, concepts and models of ecosystem services and natural capital in real situations. As a spin-off from this, each case study developed a work plan for the coming year. Also, a working group for stakeholder analysis at case study level was established. To guide stakeholder participation, a set of mini-manuals describing the use of relevant methods and tools are being developed. Detailed information about the OpenNESS case studies – as well as an interactive map – is presented on the website.


OpenNESS reference book online

The OpenNESS reference book has been added to the new library section on the OpenNESS website. It will be made up of several individual synthesis papers (SPs) generated by OpenNESS members, of which the first one has now been published. The purpose of the SPs is to provide brief and readable academic insights and views on the main concepts and frameworks, as well as a working definition for key terms and concepts to help people approach the issues in a broadly consistent way.


A strategic dialogue between science and policy 

OpenNESS participated in a science-policy workshop organized by the European Commission. Initiated by DG Research this meeting invited all FP7-funded biodiversity research projects to showcase their work. In particular, projects were challenged to demonstrate the policy relevance of activities and outputs. For this purpose desk officers at the Commission had listed tens of questions that research projects were asked to focus on. OpenNESS chose three questions for which policy briefs were produced and presented at the meeting. During the meeting, held on 14 November in Brussels and attended by 23 research projects and representatives of the Commission, OpenNESS received a lot of interest and praise. The feedback by the policy-makers will help us to fine-tune the policy relevance of our work.

First OpenNESS brief published

The OpenNESS brief 'Benefiting from ecosystem services: towards a shared understanding' was recently published. It covers the key challenges in applying the ecosystem services concept and how OpenNESS can meet those challenges.


Mainstreaming ecosystem services into EU regulatory frameworks

On 22 January 2014, the OpenNESS work package ‘Regulatory frameworks and drivers of change’ organized a one-day stakeholder workshop, ‘Mainstreaming ecosystem services into EU regulatory frameworks’ in Brussels (Belgium). With this workshop a dialogue was started to identify and discuss crucial dimensions for effectively integrating the concepts of ecosystem services and natural capital into practical policy making. Questions revolved around identifying the most important current and upcoming EU regulatory frameworks, but also other drivers influencing ecosystem services and their use.


OpenNESS working closely with OPERAs project

An OpenNESS – OPERAs (a related FP7-funded project) joint meeting was held in Brussels on 12-13 November 2013. OpenNESS and OPERAs agreed to create a platform that serves both research projects under a united vision: Empowering European communities to improve natural resource management for human well-being. The common platform will provide a central access point to essential resources in support of operationalizing ecosystem services and natural capital. The first version of the common platform scoping document was drafted and will be developed further, alongside a product development plan towards branding the platform. A joint project team was also set up to lead the process through the next few years. This team will meet next in April at the EEA, among others to discuss connections with the Biodiversity Information System for Europe (BISE).

OpenNESS 1st Annual Meeting

The OpenNESS 1st Annual Meeting (AM) will take place in Budapest on 24-28 March 2014 and is hosted by ESSRG and MTA-ÖK. The aim of the AM is to provide OpenNESS partners with further guidance and training in the use of tools, methods and conceptual frameworks related to ecosystem services and natural capital, so that they can be applied and tested in the place-based case studies. A further aim is to facilitate interaction and learning across the case studies.

Papers published

  • Martín-López, B., et al., Trade-offs across value-domains in ecosystem services assessment. Ecol. Indicat. (2013)
  • Zorrilla-Miras, P., et al. Effects of land-use change on wetland ecosystem services: A case study in the Doñana marshes (SW Spain). Landscape Urban Plan. (2013)

Copyright © 2014 ECNC-European Centre for Nature Conservation,
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ECNC-European Centre for Nature Conservation
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penNESS has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No 308428.