Applied Research

ESPON GRETA – Green infrastructure: Enhancing biodiversity and ecosysTem services for territoriAl development

Theme:Green infrastructure

Scope

Green Infrastructures (GI) are considered a benefit, inter alia, for territorial development because they provide multiple functions on the same spatial area. The underlying principle of GI is that the same area of land can offer many environmental, social, cultural and economic benefits at the same time, provided its ecosystems are in a healthy condition. However, valuable European ecosystems are being degraded by land fragmentation, urban expansion and the building of transport and energy infrastructures. This affects habitats and species and reduces the spatial and functional coherence of the landscape. Degraded ecosystems have lower species richness and are unable to offer the same services as healthy ecosystems. Ecosystem services cover the benefits that can be derived from ecosystems, including among others the provision by nature of food, materials, clean water, clean air, climate regulation, flood prevention, pollination and recreation.

Policy questions

  • How do European regions and cities fare in offering access to GI and ecosystem services, and meeting the existing demand for regulating, provisioning and cultural services offered by GI and ecosystems? In case demands are not sufficiently met, what are the consequences?
  • What are the potential effects, both positive and negative ones, of GI and ecosystem services on the development of regions and cities? Which territories can benefit most of such potential?
  • How do European regions and cities look at the concept of GI and ecosystem services? What kind of knowledge do they need to anticipate and benefit from this opportunity?
  • To which degree is GI rewarding from an economic point of view, particularly in a long-term perspective? What could policy makers do to overcome the potential resistance of the private sector to GI investment?
  • How can GI be further integrated in spatial planning and territorial development? How can GI contribute to improve welfare in urban regions (e.g. by creating or restoring recreational and leisure parks, multiple-use forest parks and trekking networks)? How can national, regional and local authorities as well as the private sector be supported to develop GI in the most effective way and to invest in ecosystem services?

Contractors

  • Tecnalia, ES (lead contractor)
  • Space 4 Environment, LU
  • Autonomous University of Barcelona, ES
  • Nordregio, SE
  • James Hutton Institute, UK

Project Support Team

  • Blanka Bartol, Slovenia
  • Kristine Kedo, Latvia
  • Josef Morkus, Czech Republic

Budget: € 617,600.00

Lifetime: September 2017 – March 2019

Deliveries

  • Inception delivery, 20 November 2017
  • Interim delivery, 20 June 2018
  • Draft Final delivery, 20 November 2018
  • Final delivery, 20 March 2019

Contact: Michaela Gensheimer (project expert), michaela.gensheimer@espon.eu , Akos Szabo (Financial Expert), akos.szabo@espon.eu