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From Case Studies to Anchor Projects Setting the ground to advance MAES in Europe´s overseas

European Commission – DG Environment Action (2020-2022)

MOVE-ON aims at establishing and strengthen a scientific and technical Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystem and their Services (MAES) community in the European Overseas in order to:

  • demonstrate the benefits of ecosystem condition and ecosystem services assessment to support decision making;

  • complement and expand the activities of the MOVE project to further test and implement MAES in four anchor projects: French Guiana, Macaronesia, Reunión Island and South Atlantic;

  • produce good practice guidance and policy recommendations tired to the specificities and needs of overseas regions while empowering local actors.

PLANES leads the task related to knowledge sharing and capacity building for ecosystem condition and ecosystem services methods as part of the activity of Method development and Implementation Support. 



promoting Research Excellence in NAture-based soluTions for innovation, sUstainable economic GRowth and human wEll-being in Malta

European Commission – Horizon 2020 Coordination and Support Action (2018-2021)

ReNature aims to establish and implement a strategy and research cluster to step-up and stimulate scientific excellence and innovation capacity in the area of nature-based solutions for sustainable development.

ReNature will develop solutions to pursue economic growth whilst improving human well-being and tackling environmental challenges. In particular, challenges that can be addressed through nature-based solutions are those associated with the attainment of sustainable urbanisation through the design of cities that support communities, promote public health, cultural identity and social cohesion.

PLANES is engaged in all project activities, and lead the Work Package on capacity building to promote research excellence.



Facilitating MAES to support regional policies in overseas Europe: Mobilizing stakeholders and pooling resources

European Commission – DG Environment Action (2018-2021)

The general objective of this action is the implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2020 in the Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories of the EU. In particular, this involves the Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES Initiative) and the establishment of a collaborative network of local agents and mainland Europe teams, in order to:

  • engaging stakeholders in identifying local priorities for Mapping and Assessing Ecosystem Services;

  • collaborating in the development of case studies addressing those priorities.


PLANES is involved in knowledge sharing through information repository and in outlining a MAES Strategic Plan for the EU Overseas.



Smart information, governance and business innovations for sustainable supply and payment mechanisms for forest ecosystem services

European Commission – Horizon 2020 Innovation Action (2017-2020)

InnoForESt formulates, assesses, tests, and demonstrates policy and business innovations for the sustainable supply and financing of forest ecosystem services. In six case study regions across Europe, networks with experience in successful ecosystem service governance innovations are initiated to:

  • establish and institutionalise sustainable long-term governance structures for these frontrunners;

  • facilitate mutual knowledge exchange among them;

  • partner these pioneer stakeholders with regions that have demand for innovation;

  • mainstream these innovations for an informed EU forest policy development.

Central to the formation and maintenance of these innovation networks is the establishment of supporting innovation platform, which function as digital information hubs and physical spaces for exchange and learning among core stakeholders (local, national and EU level decision makers, forest administrations, public and private landowner associations and business partners).

PLANES leads the Mapping and Assessment of forest ecosystem services at European scale, and contributes to a case study on mountain forest management in the Dolomites.

Visit the project's website.



Enhancing ecoSysteM sERvices mApping for poLicy and Decision-mAking 

European Commission – Horizon 2020 Coordination and Support Action (2015-2018)

ESMERALDA aims to deliver a flexible methodology to provide the building blocks for pan-European and regional assessments. This methodology will build on existing ES projects and databases (e.g. MAES, OpenNESS, OPERAs, national studies), the Millennium Assessment (MA) and TEEB. ESMERALDA will identify relevant stakeholders and take stock of their requirements at EU, national and regional levels. The mapping approach proposed will integrate biophysical, social and economic assessment techniques. Flexibility will be achieved by the creation of a tiered methodology that will encompass both simple (Tier 1) and more complex (Tier 3) approaches.

PLANES is responsible for WP5 "Testing the final methods in policy- and decision-making", which identifies case studies and demonstrates how the proposed methods for mapping and assessment of ecosystem services may be used to inform policy and decision-making processes.

Visit the project's website.



CLIMatic change impacts on future Availability of WAter REsources and hydro-geological risks

University of Trento - Internal Research Grant (2015-2016)

CLIMAWARE is an interdisciplinary research project, which combines insights from hard sciences with sociology, economics and law, towards bridging the gap between science and society, and raising awareness of the benefits of cooperation between disciplines. Ultimately, it aims to contribute to promoting the substantial changes in production and consumption patterns, as well as in individual behaviours that climate change mitigation and adaptation require.

CLIMAWARE studies the complex interplay between physical and human processes in controlling the distribution, in space and time, of water resources by considering both actual and possible future climatic and societal scenarios. The project is organized in five interconnected Tasks: Task 1 evaluates the drivers of water resource availability; Task 2 assesses climate change and human impacts on water resources and local hydro-geological extremes; Task 3 addresses the development of suitable tools for modelling granular flow extremes and sediment transport. Tasks 4 and 5 aim for better management of water resources, specifically, using the paradigm of virtual water to assess the regional impact of the food trade, while trying to envisage effective societal responses to climate change.


PLANES' Davide Geneletti is team leader of task 5, which develops a holistic assessment of key vulnerabilities and compare different scenarios to support decision-making

A video documentary of the project is available at this link.



Combining agent-based models and optimization to define strategies of sustainable access to protected mountain areas: the Dolomites UNESCO WHS between conservation needs and recreational use

Autonomous Province of Trento - Marie Curie Action, European Union’s FP7, COFUND-GA2008-226070 (2011-2014)

The project aims to identify approaches for the sustainable management of protected mountain areas, by

defining strategies of visitor access that preserve environmental quality while ensuring adequate recreational opportunities. The project focuses on the definition of tools that allow administrators and park managers to explore the likely environmental and recreational effects of different access policies before their actual implementation. The work relies on the combination of various modelling techniques, including stated preferences, agent-based models and optimization, to assess the preferences of visitors, explore the effect of different access policies and eventually define optimal management strategies. 

The project focuses on the Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage Site and has five specific objectives:

  1. map the wildness of natural areas;

  2. assess the current and expected behavior of visitors;

  3. simulate tourist movements by means of an agent-based model;

  4. assess the sustainability of management decisions by means of optimization techniques;

  5. develop decision support tools, guidelines and recommendations.

MAIN PROJECT OUTPUTS: doi:10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2014.06.015;  doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2013.07.01; doi:10.1016/j.jnc.2013.03.001.


Assessing ecosystem services to support the design of ecological networks

MUSE Science Museum of Trento (2011-2012)

The project aimed to examine the relationships between key ecosystem services, Nature 2000 sites and biodiversity in the Trentino region. Specifically, it answered the following questions:

  • What are the spatial relationships between the selected ecosystem services?

  • Where are the ecosystem services hotspots?

  • How well do current Nature 2000 network areas preserve the provision of ecosystem services?

  • Can we establish corridors to connect Nature 2000 sites that maximize win-win conditions for ecosystem services and biodiversity conservation?



REstoration of FORested LANdscapes for biodiversity conservation and rural development in the drylands of Latin America

European Commission - FP6 INCO-DEV (2007-2009)

The REFORLAN project aimed to identify and promote approaches for the sustainable management of arid and semi-arid forest ecosystems in Latin America, in order to protect biodiversity while supporting local populations' livelihood. The project examined ecosystem restoration techniques utilising native species of economic value, so as to mitigate the effects of the previously applied unsustainable practices and contribute to the conservation of biodiversity.

Options to promote the sustainable development of native forests by the local populations and stakeholders were developed as part of REFORLAN, including information systems, decision support tools, criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management and restoration. The ecosystem approach was implemented through management plans, practical guidelines and policy recommendations. The project was successful in achieving all its principal objectives.

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