Comprehensing impact of environmental information in local governance processes

To have a greater effect in society, science should be attentive to the values, norms and frames that drive or block social change. Research on ecosystem services abounds in policy oriented methods of mapping and valuation of current land use. However, such information does not inform local communities about where and how the landscape could best be adapted to gain benefits from enhanced ecosystem services.


This need for actionable environmental knowledge for local governance grows as the responsibility of the implementation of national environmental policy is being decentralized to local authorities (provinces) and the role of private actors is growing. Therefore the aim of this project is to increase the understanding of how knowledge on ecosystems and ecosystem services can be made actionable, to improve the capacity of local communities to adapt their environment. Although many examples exists of national and regional climate change adaptation plans, the actual implementation of these plans is often problematic. A possible cause is that adaptation plans tend to overlook the institutional challenges associated with implementation.  In this study it is assumed that there is a second cause, namely the lack of understanding of how the scientific information is understood by local actors as relevant and legitimate.

This project will result in a better understanding of which concepts, tools and modes are most effective in supporting local stakeholders with opposing views on the benefits of ecosystem services to commonly govern their physical environment.

An extension of the  landscape design instrument ‘Planning with Green Infrastructure’ will be developed, implementing this new knowledge. Alterra can directly apply the new knowledge and landscape design instrument in Dutch and international projects.