Ecosystem services (ES) assessments offer a means of practicing integrated approaches to address the serious policy challenge of incorporating environmental issues into development decisions. However, there is a fundamental lack of science–policy frameworks, explaining methodological standards for application in policy.
Researchers from Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) and their collaborators create a science–policy framework that builds upon core elements of other ES frameworks but details both the specific institutional and ecological components (e.g. types of information, indicators, and methodological steps) for public policy.
They got their science–policy framework published in Nature Communications.
The researchers presented the transdisciplinary framework and methodology for China’s Ecological Redline Policy (ERP), one of the first national policies utilizing multiple ES. The framework details how to incorporate the needs of stakeholders in particular policymakers into the development of the ES science, and illustrate how policymakers can use the science in the policy process.
They proposed five indicators to standardize ecological redline areas (ERA) designation processes: ES hotspots; biodiversity hotspots; ecologically fragile hotspots (vulnerable to stressors); landscape structure (composition and configuration); stakeholder opinions.
They determined a current ecological redline target of 1098 km2 at the municipal scale. ERAs cover 16% of Shanghai’s total land area, representing a 174% increase in terrestrial protected area. ES criteria expand ecosystem protection by 142% (681 km2).
They also found that ERP significantly increases ES flows compared to other land use scenarios.
“If properly implemented, ERP could potentially reduce the tradeoff between urbanization and ecosystem protection in Shanghai”, said Dr. BAI Yang, the first author of the study.
“Our study supports the use of ES information in urban planning for developing more comprehensive plans on ecosystem protection”, added BAI Yang.
BAI Yang Ph.D
Center for Integrative Conservation, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla,Yunnan 666303, P. R. China