19-23 September 2016, Antwerp, Belgium
The 2016 ESP Ecosystem Services (ESs) European Union Conference (http://www.esconference2016.eu/) was held on the 19th-23rd of September in Antwerp Belgium. The conference featured presentations and discussions spanning a wide berth of Ecosystem Services applications, from conceptual frameworks to case study investigations. There were representatives from industry who exhibited their developments in building with nature and academics with carefully crafted schema for exploring ecosystem functioning.
Presentations and discussions pointed out that there is not yet a comprehensive methodology uniformly accepted by those working in the field. Some researchers oppose economic evaluations using such frameworks as The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), among others, due to what some claim to be a disproportionately high anthropocentric focus and bias towards provisioning services. This spurred discussion on the ability of a project such as ECOPOTENTIAL to engage with local stakeholders living in and around Protected Areas, as well as with PA managers.
The meeting saw several members of ECOPOTENTIAL presenting their work, and the group as a whole also had the pleasure of sharing an exhibition stand with the Satellite-based Wetland Observation Service H2020 project (SWOS; http://swos-service.eu/). Many of the attendees who visited the stand were interested in how ECOPOTENTIAL is planning on evaluating Ecosystem Services, whether it would be based on a financial assessment, evaluation of the total capacity of the system to deliver all services, or by a more holistic approach. In the spirit of connecting with stakeholders, an ECOPOTENTIAL member, Alberto Bassett from the University of Salento, launched a pilot game geared towards young students during the conference.