Introduction

Introduction

Robert E. Kenward (Anatrack Ltd, UK), Jason Papathanasiou (University of Macedonia, Greece), Basil Manos (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece) and Stratos Arampatzis (Tero Ltd, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2824-3.ch001
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Abstract

Change in land-use, and hence, biodiversity, result from decisions at local level, which are restrained only in part by formal environmental assessments. However, local knowledge and adaptive management for small de-intensification measures could be mediated by the internet to restore biodiversity and ecosystem services at low cost, by providing decision support to local managers of land and species while also collating their knowledge to guide policy-making. The authors of this chapter introduce four questions that challenge the development of suitable internet systems and which this project seeks to answer.
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Use Of Land, Ecosystem Services, And Biodiversity

Irrespective of the formal processes for planning strategic programmes (SEA) and large development projects (EIA), the myriad local “me-too” decisions tend to make use of land intensive and monotonous outside protected areas. This creates the risk that the 17% of land which is targeted for protection (CBD 2010) tends either to be remote or “small islands of biodiversity in a sea of agriculture” (Hutton & Leader-Williams 2003). However, recent thinking goes beyond a hands-off approach to conserving the riches of nature.

After the Ecosystem Approach of CBD (2002) stressed that humans too are a part of natural systems, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) recognised benefits for humans from ecosystem services, for regulating climate, floods and disease, for provisioning with food and materials, for cultural recreation and aesthetics and for supporting those three service categories with soil and clean air and water. Recent interest in valuing those services (e.g. in The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity 2010) has tended to focus on the importance of provisioning services, and the need for public spending to conserve regulating and supporting services from ecosystems as public or common goods. Unfortunately, provisioning services tend to become private crops grown intensively at the expense of biodiversity; moreover, high biodiversity is not always essential for supporting and regulating services, partly because humans can fill the consumptive role of other species (e.g. predators).

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