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Special Issue "Ecosystem Services, Green Infrastructure and Spatial Planning"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2019).
Interests: strategic, regional, spatial and urban planning; strategic environmental assessment; ecosystem services assessment and planning; green infrastructure; management plans of protected areas
As regards the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, ratified by Italy by Law no. 1994/124, an ecosystem is “a dynamic complex of plant, animal and micro-organism communities and their nonliving environment interacting as a functional unit”. Ecosystem goods and services, univocally defined as “ecosystem services”, represent the benefits human populations derive, directly or indirectly, from ecosystem functions (Costanza et al., 1997).
When trying to assess the ecosystem services of natural resources, the usual vision is always based on qualitative approaches. We all know how important the environmental services are and that they are worth protecting and restoring. But it is really difficult to compare the costs, which can be easily revealed in monetary terms, to the benefits, which are always in the abstract world of ideas. Actually, it is impossible to compare apples to oranges. It would be of huge utility for planning and managing to have tools that bridge this gap.
It has to be emphasized that the Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) of Management plans (MPs) for Natura 2000 sites has to be regarded as an assessment exercise concerning not merely a single node of the ecological network (that is, a single Natura 2000 site), but rather the network as a whole.
SEA is intrinsically connected to sustainability because it establishes environmental protection-related objectives, and therefore it acts as a sustainability-oriented plan which becomes part of the planning process itself. This is of particular importance with reference to the definition of conservation measures, including the preparation of MPs, as SEA can help integrate sustainability within MPs objectives and can be regarded as a real and effective learning path for administrations in charge of Natura 2000 sites. Within SEA, a fundamental issue is the assessment of the restoration of ecosystem services.
In the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, a working definition of Green Infrastructure (GI) (COM (2013) 249 final), the Commission puts in evidence how and how much the issue of GI relates to the Network of SCIs and SPAs: “The work done over the last 25 years to establish and consolidate the network means that the backbone of the EU’s GI is already in place. It is a reservoir of biodiversity that can be drawn upon to repopulate and revitalize degraded environments and catalyze the development of GI. This will also help reduce the fragmentation of the ecosystem, improving the connectivity between sites in the Natura 2000 network and thus achieving the objectives of Article 10 of the Habitats Directive”.
Hence, it is evident that the definition of GI is strictly connected to the category of ecosystem services. Moreover, it has to be a planned network. Spatial planning, at the regional and urban levels, is an important and effective perspective to address the complex issue of defining, implementing and managing networks of ecosystem services and GI.
As a consequence, GI has a decisive role in promoting restoration of biodiversity and in reducing the fragmentation of ecosystems, and, eventually, in their capability of delivery ecosystem services. So, a general goal of SEA of MPs of Sites of Natura 2000 Network can be defined in order to address the issue of the role of GI in promoting and enhancing habitats restoration and delivery of ecosystem services.
This Special Issue focuses on ecosystem services and green infrastructure as important points of reference for spatial planning, related to urban and rural contexts, with particular reference to the definition and implementation of planning policies aimed at protecting nature and natural resources.
Theoretical and methodological contributions as well as critical discussion on policy implementation are welcome, with reference to the following issues:
- use of ecosystem services as points of reference for the definition and implementation of spatial planning policies;
- definition and implementation of green infrastructure;
- ecological networks: sites and corridors;
- landscape connectivity and fragmentation;
- strategic environmental assessment as an important framework for the definition and implementation of spatial policies related to protection of nature and natural resources;
- integration of nature-based solutions into spatial planning policies;
- Natura 2000 Network: conservation measures and management plans.
Prof. Dr. Corrado Zoppi
Manuscript Submission Information
Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.
Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.
Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.
- Conservation measures
- Ecological corridors
- Ecosystem services
- Green infrastructure
- Landscape connectivity
- Landscape fragmentation
- Natura 2000 Network
- Nature-based solutions
- Protected areas’ spatial planning
- Strategic environmental assessment