Over the past decade, experience has accumulated in the inclusion of natural resources in Dutch landscape management through the use of the ES concept. A number of these national projects are described below. Where possible, all are placed in the context of the TEEB steps for including natural resources in decision making (see above). Even though they may be suitable for broader application, most of these projects have been developed by government institutes or have been commissioned by governments for national use, and have not been reported in the international literature.
Stakeholder support of and funding for landscape management
The question behind the first TEEB step (specify and agree on the problem) is whether policy makers and stakeholders have the same perception of the issue at stake. This makes it necessary to conduct a thorough stakeholder analysis. A way to identify stakeholders is provided by the ES relevant to the decision, which is TEEB step 2. First the ES delivered by the landscape or landscape elements under decision can be analyzed, and then the stakeholders of these ES.
An illustration of this method is given in Table 1; it is derived from Hendriks et al. (2010), whose study analyzed the ES provided by forests, woodlands, and smaller areas with trees and bushes (all indicated by “wood”). The same exercise was done for grasslands and reed lands (not shown). This analysis was carried out for larger nature conservation bodies, and aimed to identify stakeholders who would be interested in investing in specific ES. Hendriks et al. (2010) thus used the relevant ES to identify stakeholders.
Table 1. Examples of ecosystem services provided by “wood” (forests, woodlands, and smaller woody areas), and respective providers, buyers, stakeholders, and spatial conditions for these ecosystem services (Hendriks et al. 2010)
|Ecosystem service||Provider||Buyer||Stakeholder||Spatial condition|
|• Carbon sequestration||• Forest managers||• National government||• National government||• Sufficient area for substantial sequestration|
| || ||• European Union||• Industry|| |
| || || ||• Citizens|| |
|• Living and working in a green environment||• Forest managers||• Citizens||• Project developers||• Ratio built up and green area|
| ||• Municipalities||• Companies||• Health insurance companies||• Spatial cohesion|
|• Trails in forests||• Forest managers||• Walkers||• Recreation businesses||• Size of forest and/or recreation area|
| || ||• Runners||• Sports clothing businesses||• Location compared to city|
| || || ||• Contractors|| |
The purpose of TEEB step 1 is to identify stakeholders to create support for decision making. Identifying stakeholders is also necessary to attract or increase funding for landscape projects that will enhance natural resources. Goldman et al. (2008) found that, relative to traditional approaches such as setting aside land through the purchase of property rights, biodiversity conservation projects that used ES approaches were able to attract more than 4 times the funding, due largely to greater corporate sponsorship and the use of a wider variety of finance tools.
To identify a broad spectrum of stakeholders for support and funding of landscape projects, a Dutch consortium consisting of national government departments, research institutes, and consultants developed the “discover, agree and develop” approach (known in Dutch as Triple-O) (IenM 2012). The approach is based on experiences in 3 pilot projects. As the name suggests, it consists of 3 steps: discovering the unrecognized benefits of natural resources in a region, agreeing with multiple stakeholders on the additional value of these natural resources and accommodating their different interests, and jointly developing business cases for sustainably exploiting and managing the benefits of these natural resources. In this approach, natural resources are visualized by ES. Triple-O focuses on the local governance, societal, and economical processes necessary to achieving sustainable regional development; it comprises TEEB steps 1, 2, 5, and 6.
To attract funding for green–blue infrastructure, the Dutch governmental biodiversity program commissioned the development of a practical approach called “doing business with landscape services” (Steingröver et al. 2011). Written for providers, buyers, and stakeholders of ES, the resulting guideline aims to extend and improve the green–blue infrastructure (hedgerows, parks, waterways) in areas that are not eligible for subsidies from agri-environment schemes. The guideline explains how providers of the ES delivered by green–blue infrastructure on their land can identify buyers and stakeholders for purposes of raising funding for constructing, planting, and maintaining green–blue infrastructure.
In the Netherlands, the involvement of stakeholders with regard to sustainable land use and ES is relatively institutionalized. To achieve more sustainable land management in the agricultural sector, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation established several communities of practice (CoP). Although these do not apply the ES concept directly, they aim to enhance ES in agricultural soils, for example by enhancing agrobiodiversity through noninversion tillage (PN-NKG 2012). Likewise, the Learning Network on Functional AgroBiodiversity (ELN-FAB 2012) operates as a CoP at European level.
Similarly, the Dutch initiative for “conscious soil use” can be seen as a variant of a CoP. Focusing on external integration, this initiative has gained the support of more than 50 societal organizations, and is represented by 13 soil “ambassadors” recruited from these organizations (CSUI 2012). In 2011, a CoP on Ecosystem Services was established under the umbrella of the applied research program for sustainable development of the subsurface (SKB 2012), to provide a platform for end-users (stakeholders), scientists, and national, regional, or local policy makers to discuss and exchange information on the use of the ES concept in practice (Brils and Van der Meulen 2010).
Identification of relevant ecosystem services
TEEB step 2—identification of the ES that are relevant to the decision—is often based on general knowledge about which ES are being provided by a specific kind of land use (thus, under average conditions, agricultural land might provide food, fiber, fuel, water regulation, and some C sequestration, but not habitat for many species, recreation, and pollination). The connection between land use and ES provision was used to identify relevant ES in a Dutch decision support instrument for soil sealing (covering soils with impervious materials, such as roads and buildings) in rural areas. In this decision support instrument, the relevance of an ES for a certain land use type is indicated by a default value between 0 and 5, the values being based on expert judgment and literature. The impact of soil sealing is expressed as the loss of ES provision caused by the loss of specific land-use types in the plan area. As it was recognized that the provision of ES may deviate locally from the results of an expert-judgment exercise, the method allows for deviation of default values and for additional stakeholder input for ES that are not easily connected to land-use types (Huijsmans et al. 2011) (Figure 2).
Figure 2. Schematic overview of a decision support instrument for soil sealing in rural areas. The amount and location of the sealing in the rural development plan is the starting point. The most relevant flows of ecosystem services in the planning area are selected and an evaluation is made of the effects of sealing on these services. These effects are weighed in the plan idea that may lead to changes of the plan or mitigation of the effects. Modified from Huijsmans et al. (2011).
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The method was based on the idea (Burkhard et al. 2009) of connecting ES to the land-cover classification used for the European CORINE program (EEA 1994), which comprises over 40 types of land cover, ranging from highly manmade ecosystems (e.g., continuous urban fabric) to natural ones (e.g., estuaries). The classification presents the capacity of each land-cover type to provide individual ES. Thus, although continuous urban fabric has no capacity to provide ES (besides supporting buildings), estuaries can provide a wide range of ES, such as food, flood protection, and water purification. As the system is based on initial expert evaluations, it should be seen as a series of research hypotheses that are to be tested (Burkhard et al. 2009).
Identifying relevant ES by making a connection with land use or land-cover type indicates the potential for ES provisioning. As actual ES delivery may be affected by location and land and water quality, Rutgers et al. (2012) developed a method for assessing the quantitative aspects of ES provision by soils at arable farms. The method is based on stakeholder expectations (i.e., what they expect the land to provide), expert judgment (to identify indicators), and the Dutch Soil Monitoring Network (to derive reference values for these indicators).
Changes in the flow of ecosystem services
Environmental assessment methods are used to investigate the state of ecosystems and changes in the flow of ES (TEEB step 4). The ES concept was used in site-specific ecological risk assessment for the Krimpenerwaard, a 12 000-ha polder (i.e., reclaimed area) in the Netherlands, in which approximately 5000 ditches had been filled with various waste materials. Addressing specific goals for land use in terms of ES defined by local stakeholders, the assessment focused on 3 criteria: ecological risks for agriculture, nature conservation and development, and recreation (Faber 2006). The approach taken in this project inspired a protocol for site-specific ecological risk assessment that was later published by the Netherlands Standards Institute (NEN 2010). In addition, Faber and Van Wensem (2012) elaborated on the use of the ES concept for application in site-specific ecological risk assessment for soils.
Implementation of ES in existing projects and networks
In the province of Zeeland, a consortium involving 14 governmental, scientific and business partners took an experimental approach to improving the use of the soil, subsoil and landscape in economic and societal projects for sustainable regional development (Smit and Verzandvoort 2012a, 2012b). Per project, the ES provided by the soil, subsoil, and landscape were made visible and concrete. One major conclusion was that it is important from the point of view of end-users and stakeholders to use 2 techniques to visualize the role of soil, subsoil and landscape in ES provision: 1) by using images for ES, and 2) by mapping ES at appropriate landscape scales. Project participants felt that the key to fulfilling the sustainability of each project lay in the implementation of measures to maintain ES provision (so-called “services on return”). It was concluded that greater benefits would be derived from integrating ES thinking into existing networks and projects than from setting up projects exclusively to enhance ES thinking. All TEEB steps were involved in this experiment.
Societal cost–benefit analyses
In the past decade, a number of societal cost–benefit analyses have been carried out in the Netherlands to investigate local, regional, and national development scenarios. The cases included analyses of the societal costs and benefits (Koetse and Rietveld 2010, and references therein):
The greening of a neighborhood
Creating green areas near a city
Extending green recreation areas
Better management of peat meadow areas
Green–blue landscape elements and
In general, the analyses show that much greater societal benefits are produced by investments in creating and maintaining landscape elements that provide ES than by the alternative scenario, autonomous development. The analytical methods used in SCBA are still under discussion, especially with regard to how one should value ES or “nature” (where the focus is on the use of monetary values) against the use of nature scores, such as the “ecological quality area” (Sijtsma et al. 2010; De Blaai and Verburg 2011).