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Green Infrastructure Studies

Science for Environment Policy – In-depth report on Green Infrastructure (2012)

One of the key attractions of Green Infrastructure is its multifunctionality, i.e. its ability to perform several functions on the same spatial area.

This report, focused on identifying applied research surrounding the multifunctionality of Green Infrastructure, considers the different types of function that Green Infrastructure seeks to fulfil and looks at the evidence behind its ability to perform these functions. Firstly it will explore some general issues surrounding the evaluation of GI in terms of defining GI features or elements, identifying comparable costs and benefits, and issues surrounding indicators and multi-level evaluation. Following this general section the report is divided into sections on four ‘types’ of GI functions or ‘roles’:

  • Protecting ecosystems state and biodiversity
  • Protecting ecosystem functioning and promoting ecosystem services
  • Promoting societal well-being and health
  • Supporting the development of a green economy and sustainable land and water management.

It will identify some of the GI features that carry out these functions and their costs and benefits, exemplified by case studies. It will also identify any indicators that could be used to monitor the performance of these roles and highlight areas where indicators need to be developed.

Green Infrastructure Implementation and Efficiency (2012)

Green Infrastructure (GI) is a valuable tool for addressing ecological preservation and environmental protection as well as societal needs in a complementary fashion.

This study assessed the effectiveness and efficiency of policy initiatives to support Green Infrastructure across Europe. It identified the main existing policy measures that can help to support Green Infrastructure initiatives and their implementation, and analysed seven in-depth case studies on thematic issues [ecological networks, multi-functional use of (1) farmlands and forests, and (2) coastal areas, freshwater and wetlands management and restoration, urban Green Infrastructure, grey infrastructure mitigation and Green Infrastructure mapping for spatial planning]. The study further reports on the contribution Green Infrastructure makes to the resilience of ecosystems, and on indicators to measure its impacts. It quantifies impacts on ecosystems and their services, and resulting socio-economic and health benefits. These benefits were compared with costs; and four different policy scenarios on the implementation of Green Infrastructure in Europe were assessed.

Integrating nature & biodiversity and land use data (2012)

Current assessments of the state of biodiversity in Europe only give limited value for policy making, due to data gaps, unavailability, data inconsistencies or improper use of existing data. The contract examined how to bring existing data collections (in particular CLC, Habitats Directive Art. 17 and LUCAS data) together, and produced a processed database with the results and chosen biodiversity indicators based on the exploration of land use data for biodiversity, ecosystem services and Green Infrastructure. Recommendations on biodiversity data policy have been formulated in support of a gap analysis relevant to the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy. The database has been handed over to EEA.

Design, Implementation and Cost Elements of Green Infrastructure Projects (2011)

Green Infrastructure (GI) is a valuable tool for addressing ecological preservation and environmental protection as well as societal needs in a complementary fashion. This study developed a definition of Green Infrastructure projects based on terminology and working definitions used in different EU member states and identified a set of European green infrastructure projects and initiatives with a view to operationalise the Green Infrastructure concept and create a typology of GI projects. Thereafter the study analyses green infrastructure projects carried out by EU funds or as national initiatives and provides elements of their design and process used to implement them on the ground, estimates of their cost and benefits, and of their potential to respond to multiple objectives (biodiversity management and enhancement, increasing resilience to climate change, protection against natural disasters, etc). Furthermore, the study reports on the potential of current EU policy(-ies) and available funding instruments to promote green infrastructure projects and provide for the capacities and planning needed to develop and implement them on the ground and provides recommendations for EU, national and regional/local policy makers to take them up when designing Green Infrastructures policies and projects.

The assessment of the potential of ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and mitigation in Europe (2011)

Addressing the effects of climate change via adaptation measures and the implementation of mitigation measures is central to ensuring continued ecosystem functioning, human health and socio-economic security. Ecosystem-based approaches have emerged as a key instrument to confront these concerns across sectors of business and society, offering multiple benefits in a potentially cost-effective manner. The present study aimed to address current knowledge gaps regarding the uptake and implementation of ecosystem-based approaches and thereby gain a better understanding of their role and potential in climate change adaptation and mitigation in Europe. A database of 161 applicable projects, five in-depth case studies, targeted interviews with European Commission officials and a literature review served as the basis for this assessment.

Towards a Green Infrastructure for Europe: Integration of Nature 2000 into the wider countryside (2010)

A core element of European Green Infrastructure is Natura 2000. In light of this, the Commission has commissioned a study on the integration of Natura 2000 into the wider countryside. The contractor has undertaken an assessment of the trends in land use changes, including a comparison of land use trends with trends in related socio-economic factors, which will allow forecasting of land use intensity in all regions of the EU. The study proposes how to integrate the Green Infrastructure concept into other policy sectors.