Sustainable Tourism

Ecosystem services in a sharing economy

On 20 April 2012 the European Parliament adopted the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy, which states that by 2020, ecosystems and their services are maintained and enhanced by establishing Green Infrastructure and restoring at least 15% of degraded ecosystems.

What our team is currently working on how this target might be implemented in connection to the growing importance of sharing economy. Is there any way to link ecosystem services (benefits for human beings that arise from healthily functioning ecosystems) to applications and tools arising from ICT? The definition of sharing economy explains an economic model in which individuals are able to borrow or rent assets owned by someone else.

Our society believes this might be translated into land owners implementing a nature friendly agriculture or forestry technique and offered to people living in urban areas. I also imagine a platform where rural communities are able to share the ecosystem services, eg. flood prevention provided by their land to downstream communities.

I will be testing this thinking tomorrow during the Stakeholder conference on European funding opportunities for the water sector. I hope I will be able to generate the interest of the ICT sector and develop a new interdisciplinary concept that support the restoration of ecosystem services throughout Europe thereby leading to creating an effective green infrastructure across our continent. Therefore this new concept will help us to implement our Pan-European Green corridor network (PEGnet) initiative.

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