Toward better UNderstanding the Ecosystem Services in URBan environments trough assessment and mapping (TUNESinURB)

Project facts

Project promoter
Forest Research Institute at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
Project Number:
BG03-0019
Target groups
Researchers or scientists,
Civil servants/Public administration staff
Status:
Completed
Initial project cost:
€538,828
Final project cost:
€538,732
From EEA Grants:
€ 443,715
The project is carried out in:
Bulgaria

More information

Description

Biodiversity loss on our planet is a certainty urging global societal interventions. It requires the development of policy and governance to preserve key ecosystem services. Our research addresses “why, when, where, and how” we can better manage and restore socio-ecological URBAN ECOSYSTEMS in BULGARIA. These are crucial questions to promote alternative regimes combining conservation, sustainable use and restoration. Given the growing anthropogenic load on the global ecosystem, the concept of ecosystem services has dominated debates regarding sustainable land use management since the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA 2005). Our most recent data collected in contrasting urban environment reveals a clear linkage between the conditions of ecosystems and supply of ecosystem services depending on sub-types of urbanized ecosystems and their level of anthropogenic pressure. We therefore AIM to develop our understanding how human activities influence functional and structural processes in these specific ecosystems through assessment of current ecosystem conditions and how this impacts the provision of ecosystem services in all urban ecosystems out of NATURA 2000. This understanding will be mapped using GIS and the final products will be maps, assessment reports and an ecosystem-based information system for stakeholders. These are central questions in any landscape-scale ecological assessment. We want to understand the values society places on urbanized ecosystems as key to promoting the preservation/restoration of habitat spaces within the urban areas. We will develop new understanding on assessing the state and urban ecosystem services supply at national level through representative case-studies. We assembled an experienced multidisciplinary team of three Bulgarian and one Norwegian partners, equipped with diverse, complementary expertise, encompassing ecology, urban development, spatial planning, geography, biodiversity, urban forestry, statistics, mapping and law.

Summary of project results

Biodiversity loss on our planet is a cruel certainty that urges societal interventions on a global scale. It requires the development of policy and governance to preserve key ecosystem services that impact strongly on our well-being. The project TUNESinURB addresses “why, when, where, and how” we can better manage and restore socio-ecological urban ecosystems in Bulgaria. These are crucial questions to promote alternative regimes integrating urban green infrastructure in spatial development. The AIM of the project was to develop the understanding how human activities influence functional and structural processes in urban ecosystems through assessment of their conditions and how this affects the provision of ecosystem services. This understanding was mapped using GIS and the final products of the project were maps, assessment reports and elaborated user-friendly ecosystem-based information system for target groups and stakeholders. These were central questions in any landscape-scale ecological assessment and constitute major challenges in the research performed. In addition the project contributed to understand the values societies place on urbanized ecosystems as this will be key to promoting the preservation/restoration of the valuable habitat spaces within the urban areas. In doing so we developed a new understanding of how to assess the condition and ecosystem services supply in urban ecosystems at national level through 4 (four) pilot case-studies. The recent data for different indicators in all urban ecosystems in Bulgaria were analyzed and reveals a clear linkage between the conditions of ecosystems and supply of ecosystem services depending on sub-types of urbanized ecosystems and their level of anthropogenic pressure. We have assembled an experienced multidisciplinary consortium leaded by the Forest Research Institute in partnership with Sofia University “St. Kl. Ohridski”, Geografica Ltd. and NIBIO, equipped with diverse, complementary expertise, encompassing ecology, urban development, spatial planning, geography, biodiversity, urban forestry, statistics, mapping and law. This synergy extended to the engaged policy makers, regulatory agencies, forest managers and rural entrepreneurs, both at bilateral and EEA Area levels through established contacts, networks and disseminated results at related events. TUNESinURB realization enables us to address the problem of urban ecosystems management through a holistic approach and offer far-reaching impacts.

Summary of bilateral results

Dr. Oddvar Skre and Dr. Paul Eric Aspholm from Norway took participation in the International Scientific Conference "Mapping and assessment of ecosystem services - science in action" in Sofia, under the project MetEcoSMap and in the Final conference of project TUNESinURB. Participation of Bulgarian team of ENESCOM project took participation in the workshop realised in the period 29.08.-02.09.2017 at NINA, Oslo, according to the Plan for the implementation of activities. The topic of the meeting - "Application of ESTIMAP model for assessing the ecosystem services Pollination in Urban Areas".