BESAFE - Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Arguments for our future Environment

BESAFE wants to improve our understanding of the alternative ways in which concepts for the ‘value of biodiversity’ can be used to improve biodiversity policy making and governance at local, national and European to global scales.


In accordance with the call requirements, BESAFE will thereto investigate and analyse the use and effectiveness of various types of arguments for biodiversity protection under varying circumstances. The general objective of BESAFE is to help to innovate and improve biodiversity protection by providing a framework that summarises the observed and potential effectiveness of the alternative ways to argue the case for biodiversity protection, and to make this framework easily accessible and usable through a publicly accessible database and associated toolkit. This system can then be used to convincingly demonstrate the value of biodiversity to policy makers and will also provide them with guidance on the use and effectiveness of the various arguments in a range of situations.


This general aim and objective are translated into a number of practical objectives:
  • To compile currently used arguments in a framework according to type, ecological, geographical, socioeconomic and institutional context and other factors relevant to their effectiveness.
  • To investigate the potential and observed effectiveness of alternative ecological, economic and social arguments in a range of situations.
  • To analyse how policies, protection measures and value perceptions particular to one scale affect those on other scales and what this implies for the transferability and scalability of values between scales and situations.
  • To explore how awareness of the value of ecosystem services relates to people’s valuation of biodiversity.
  • To develop, with our stakeholders, a publically accessible database and associated toolkit to guide the use and effectiveness of the various arguments in specific situations and provide recommendations on their suitability for promoting biodiversity protection on different spatial and temporal scales.
  • To engage directly with stakeholders throughout the project through workshops, brochures, web based applications, public meetings, publications in popular and policy relevant media and scientific papers.

Expected results

  • BESAFE will undertake a number of case studies covering all three major governance scales (global to European, national to regional, and local, as well as their interactions) and sample the ecological, societal and economic differences, as well as different ecosystems, different issues, as possible within time and resource constraints. BESAFE will involve case studies looking for an appropriate coverage of member states and different geographical regions and ecosystems as well as, covering different time scales (months to years, and years to decades), a wide range of stakeholder groups, and different issues areas related to biodiversity protection.
  • BESAFE will increase comprehension on the dependency of the effectiveness of arguments on:
    • the perception of the policy makers and stakeholders addressed (who);
    • the policy implementation phase (when);
    • communication and participation (how). 
BESAFE will offer a generally available framework and a toolbox that can be used to guide the development of tailored policies that take multi-scale effects and integration into account, through the whole policy cycle. It will offer insight on the changing effectiveness of different types of arguments along the development trajectory and, therefore, increase the effectiveness of the use of arguments for protection. BESAFE will offer an overview of the potential effectiveness and possibilities of ecosystem services at different spatial and time scales.
  • The project will produce knowledge on the interactions of policies and measures across scales, the ‘translation’ and ‘filtering’ of arguments and values from one scale to the other and from one policy phase to the next one and the influence of ecological, societal and economic context on these mechanisms. In this sense BESAFE not only will integrate different science disciplines, but also will bridge science and policy from a transdisciplinary point of view, which represents the overall coordination of science, education and innovation. This will greatly improve the knowledge on transferability and scalability of the values attributed to different aspects and benefits of biodiversity which potentially has a huge impact on effective biodiversity policy making.

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